Is the Beach Safe

31 July 2020

Life is better at the beach. - Anonymous

Your willpower is non-existent. You’ve lost your patience by being hyper-vigilant and monitoring the government guidelines especially with them changing and applying to tourists and locals. You’ve had enough of WhatsApp videos, FaceTime and Zoom and just need to cool off from the summer heat. Time to head to the beach. But is it safe?

The Water Is Fine #

The good news, according to The Cleveland Clinic in the US, is that scientists have seen no evidence of the virus transmitting in saltwater or chlorinated water of a pool. The virus simply has no viability to spread even if you get splashed by an infected person who is asymptomatic because the virus breaks down in a chlorinated and high-saline environment.

This does not mean that lying on the beach and taking a dip makes you immune. Far from it. Congregating with anyone for any period of time increases your risk of transmission – even when taking precautions including mask-wearing and using a sanitizer. Social distancing is A MUST.

Sant elm beach tourism summer beach

Being With People Is the Real Danger #

Transmission of coronaviruses is more likely with friends and family, according to WHO and other government agencies. We let our guards down because we “think” we know where we’ve all been. People who live in group settings – think vacationers, large families who summer together and friends who are like family – are the ones who inadvertently spread the virus, unintentionally.

I’m not talking about the crazy young people who are having COVID parties to see who acquires the virus first. I’m talking about people who let their guards down due to familiarity. Or making exceptions for that special occasion, long-planned vacation or wedding when we all think we’ve been good citizens. This is a good reminder that the virus is spread by respiratory droplets that can live in the air and move with the wind. What is a person to do?

People partying jens johnsson

Jens Johnsson

Does the Sun Kill the Virus? #

The half-life of the virus is 18 hours, according to EU and US government agencies. The viability is halved when exposed to direct sunlight and high humidity. However, the virus lives on surfaces and is not 100% killed by intense heat. If you pick up a bottle of sunscreen, move an umbrella or share a bottle of water or bowl of food and that surface is contaminated, you are exposing yourself and everyone you come in contact with. Our advice is: Don’t.

Sun Rise Hand Hello Sun

Thoughts on Distancing #

Best is to keep a safe distance from anyone who has not been living with you for two weeks or longer, even if you think you know where they have been. When someone sneezes hard, those particles can blow further than six feet/1.80 metres and anyone around them is breathing them in.

An epidemiologist at Temple University in the US explains, “I have seen estimates for social distancing of up to 10 feet [approx. 3 metres] if someone sneezes quite hard, [or] does not cover their sneeze [or] cough. This allows those particles a little more distance to settle so that you are not breathing them in. As long as someone's not outwardly ill, though, you should be safe maintaining a 6-foot [approx. 1.80 metres] distance."

Proper social distancing, Johnson said, means not just keeping the minimum distance but thinking about how the need to maintain that distance affects others around you.”

Beach Mallorca

Wear A Mask #

Since the Balearic Government mandated masks indoors and outdoors in all public spaces, people have become irate. Exceptions to the law will not keep you safe. But here they are:

  • Beach and beach promenades
  • Pool
  • Sports
  • Eating and Drinking
  • Playing a wind instrument

…or Pay a €100 fine for first offense. After all, we are talking about containing the spread so everyone stays healthy and the economy recovers with tourists.

Woman and Dog with surgical masks copy

Wash Your Hands #

Yes, every post, every billboard, every notice says: Wash Your Hands. We’re noticing many who are no longer following the guidelines – wash thoroughly and often. This can be hard to do on vacation or at the beach. Carry that hand sanitizer that is made with over 70% alcohol, especially when around shared surfaces.

How to Keep Your Distance #

As funny as you may feel, keep the Styrofoam noodles with you is helpful to see how close you are from your friends and family. If you have children under 6, make a game of having them wear a homemade hat like the ones used in Japan for school age children. This makes being safe a lot more fun and can be used in the playground and at the outdoor municipal pools.

Baby pool noodles

Mallorca’s 35 Blue Flag Beaches #

If you are still with me, yes, the beaches are relatively safe. Mallorca was awarded 35 Blue Flags by the European Environmental Agency. While not as many as last year, Mallorca snagged 25 for beaches and 10 for marinas. Annually awarded, the flags reward good stewardship of natural resources rated by water quality, cleanliness, educating visitors of environmental concerns and sanitary facilities. This encourages good practices and lets the rest of us know the state of the water/beaches.

In the last few years, Mallorca’s plastic waste in the water has been a constant part of the conversation. Combined with increased jellyfish activity for longer period of duration, we have seen a deterioration which is shown by three flags being revoked. But this metric goes back and forth so, next year, each year, offers new opportunities for improvement.

Spain has the highest number of Blue Flag Beaches. One out of every six blue flags is in Spain.

Alcucia Beach Sunset

Food & Drink at the Beach #

Dehydration while exposed to the sun can be quite debilitating. Take care to drink plenty of liquids. Just make sure that either it’s from your own bottle or one you have carefully cleaned and sanitized before and after you touch it.

Picnic Beach Mallorca

Conclusion #

All said, there is nothing better than a day at the beach or in one of the beautiful coves. Feeling the sand between your toes, paddle boarding, having a sea breeze to cool off under an umbrella between swims, hearing the waves lap against the shore are all the best parts of summer on Mallorca.

When we see photos of people gathering in hordes at the beach, we just wish people would consider the health and safety of everyone.

Sources

  • Personal
  • European Environmental Agency
  • World Health Organization
  • LA Times
  • WaPo
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Live Science
  • Baby Care Magazine

31 July, 2020

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