SIESTA KEY, Fla. - The beach forecast is perfect, but lifeguards are being reminded to wash their hands -- a reminder the forecast for COVID-19 is concerning.
"I just stay farther away from people whenever I find my spot," said tourist Austin Pierce.
He and his friend, Justin Jones are visiting from Tennessee. They're glad to have a sense that life remains mostly normal, with a few changes.
"I see people digging circles around them, not trying to be rude to anybody, but we have to do this to protect ourselves. We are trying to do everything we can," said Jones and Pierce.
In South Florida, beaches have closed in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. So far, they're the hardest-hit locations in the Sunshine State.
On Siesta Key and Clearwater beaches, spring break isn't slowing down for the novel coronavirus.
A reminder to Siesta Key lifeguards to wash their hands
"Different localities are going to make decisions about what makes sense, having talked to mayors, it’s not uniform throughout the state," said Gov. Ron DeSantis.
He wants to see those crowds cut down.
Social distancing appears to be the key to stopping the spread of the virus but how do you keep groups down to 10 people or less if everyone is at the beach?
That's a question local officials will have to answer.
"What we are going to be doing is...applying the CDC guidelines of no group on a beach of more than 10 and you have to have distance apart if you are out there," the governor said.
Paula Banks, from Canada, came up with a unique use for pool noodles. She built a barrier to keep others away.
"We are just trying to keep our little area 10 feet away from everybody like they’re recommending," she said.
Until stricter guidelines are issued, the beach continues to draw those looking for a sense of normalcy and peace from the pandemic.
"The kids have been stuck in the house for a while so they’re bored. We thought a beach is probably one of the safest places we could go to keep our differences," said Banks.
IF YOU FEEL SICK:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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