The beach is open. The weather this weekend looks terrific. You can even play some boardwalk games or squeeze in a round of mini-golf. But is it really safe to head down the Shore this weekend?
On my mind is a story written by my colleagues earlier this week that revealed just one person at a Cape May County house party on Memorial Day weekend may have been the source of at least a dozen new coronavirus cases in Bucks County.
On the positive side, it’s an example that contact tracing does work. And like Pennsylvania, positive cases and hospitalizations have been steadily declining in the Garden State, which was among the hardest hit in the country. Health experts also seem pretty unified in saying it’s good to be outdoors and okay to head to the beach, provided you avoid crowds, wear a mask, and make it a quick trip.
“This isn’t going to be the normal beach weekend, where you’re setting up those big popup tents and camping out for a whole day with multiple families,” Eric Sachinwalla, medical director of infection prevention and control for Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, told The Inquirer.
While a slice of Sam’s Pizza or a Nicoboli (as a Delawarean, I’m partial to Rehoboth Beach), seems like heaven at the moment, is it really worth donning a mask and navigating all the social distancing protocols to enjoy it? Will I even be able to stay six feet away from people if the boardwalk becomes filled by desperate shelter-at-homers dying for a bit of normalcy on a warm day? And how do I juggle all that with two kids whose default mode is to touch everything and never wash their hands?
I’ve always been a fan of roller coasters, but I’ve stubbornly held onto to one rule: Give new rides a season to work out the kinks. I think I’ll apply that thinking to the beach and wait a week or two to see how things shake out. DiGiorno’s pizza isn’t great, but I don’t need a mask to enjoy it.