If you’ve seen the news or the feeds from social media you’ll know the impact that the increase in air temperature and clear blue skies has had on coastal communities. Crowds of people flocking together to sit under the sun or play in the cool waters, some locals some from further afield. The impact of this is hard to predict but any spikes in admissions or deaths are likely to be linked to the images of crowded sandy space scientifically proven or otherwise.
I’ve headed to the beach myself. There is something innately calming about it. But I made the conscious decision to avoid busy times and busy areas, to arrive and leave safely not just for the sake of my family but also for others.
This was my beach experience…with 200 metres between each groin there were maybe only 6 small families. No conversations could be over heard, no sandwich fillings or crisps could be smelt between groups. Definitely socially distanced.
And this was my experience of a usually busy Bournemouth dual carriageway the same day..empty, quiet roads.
I’ll often seek out quieter areas though I’ve not always felt like that, crowded pubs and clubs were a big draw for me in my 20’s. So now I’m older and my view of the world has changed I often clash with my wife when its time to go out. She loves socialising, the more people the better, the greater the social buzz about an event the happier she is. Her energy is gained from her interaction with others, a typical E where as mine is from solitude, a typical I.
So debating between each other what the reasons are behind people wanting to flock together has been interesting. I’d be happy in a 10 metre bubble. Kate is happiest sharing shadows with strangers as long as there is an interesting conversation to start or join in…
The majority of human population are social creatures. You only have to look at how we live outside of this pandemic – regularly visiting restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars to eat and drink with others. Our high streets are full of them. We thrive on being together. All those have been removed, and no matter how clever the topic of a group zoom/skype/whatsapp call, it all gets a but samey when we’ve not done anything different in the past 3 months to tell each other.
So, an opportunity to sit outside, have fun and feel something close to normal alongside other humans is an enormous drive for people I can understand to a small extent. To share an event. To experience being outside for more than an hour for many is a luxury. Especially if you don’t have a garden to enjoy or a nice park to explore.
But what makes a human not want to protect themselves whilst doing this? Maybe its a belief of immortality. We know smoking is damaging to health and that alcohol is likely to be found to cause more harm than benefit, yet we still see the impact of excesses and there are still industries making money out of us repeating the harmful behaviours. I can’t imagine all of those sitting on the beach were liberally covered in sunscreen with the UV figures recording very high either. So maybe se;lf belief or immortality is one part of the explanation.
Could an extreme of this view be a blatant disregard for their own health? Watching the video of a small group of people jumping 70 foot from Durdle Door into the sea you could certainly draw that conclusion for a minutely small percentage of the population on that beach this weekend. Personally I’m sure it was a mistake and I hope that all of those involved don’t have life limiting implications from a moment of not thinking…
Or is it just simply that this is a chance to rebel against the control we’ve all felt, to make a change in the mundaneness that lock down has created. Maybe sitting on the beach with a moderate sized crowd is as vocal and anti establishment as we get.
But is it a disregard for others? I don’t think so. We are for the majority of the time a polite caring nation and there have been far more stories of hope and help in communities than there are threat and harm. Working within the NHS we’ve been over run with gifts of kindness and offers of help from communities, local industry and schools. Its made me even more proud to do the job I do and of where I work.
So, a nation full of COVIDIOTS? Or a nation full of humans. To err is to be human after all.
There are likely to be many people who have not fully understood all the implications and all of the guidance. The advice was that you can travel to a destination, to exercise or to stop, picnic and sunbathe. This is what they did.
Staying 2 metres away from each other….well that is harder to explain except I guess as the crowds grew, the spaces shrank and no one decided to go back to their cars having walked all the way to the beach which would have meant even more social distancing failures as they walked alongside those still heading for the sand..
Maybe there needs to be more signs like this. To remind us to keep 5 duck spaces between groups. Keep it light, keep it simple, keep it memorable.
Maybe there needs to be better controlling of the parks and beaches. It would not be hard to calculate the area and the number of people granted access. Ticketed beach slots anyone?
Limit the numbers.
Reduce the risk.
Its been done in swimming pools for years, it’s being done in supermarkets now. Otherwise I fear when its time to holiday here people will avoid coming for their own safety. Visitors will be afraid to visit and seaside towns will suffer more long term harm on top of that which COVID19 brings.
So, don’t let us down.
- Keep with the 2, or make it 5 ducks, but don’t go less
- Remember to wash your hands well and frequently
- Remember that surfaces in commonly used areas which are not regularly cleaned are a good source of infection, always have been..always will be.
- Gloves don’t work if just put on and taken off, it’s the washing of hands afterwards. What you do with those gloved hands could protect you or put you at risk
- By all means wear a face covering if unable to socially distance in shops..but don’t touch it unless to put on or remove and wash your hands before and afterwards.
- Wash that mask as often as your Mum would want your pants washed…