Beach lovers and stakeholders are pleading with citizens to be responsible as restrictions on the popular recreation activity are lifted today.
The announcement came on Saturday by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley who also warned that if there are large gatherings and cases spike it, use of this country’s beaches would be restricted once again.
The beaches have been one of the most missed activity by many during the course of both closures- once in phase one and recently during the second phase.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 locally, the country has experienced a rollercoaster ride of restrictions to prevent its spread. And out of it- a pearl of wisdom has emerged among many on social media whenever restrictions are loosened- “doh *expletive* the scene”.
It’s an appeal for citizens to behave responsibly to prevent further outbreak of infections resulting in the reimplementation of restrictions on an already exhausted society.
“I hope people would be cautious and not flock to the beaches tomorrow (today),” Adana Bradshaw told Guardian Media who spotted her visiting Uncle Sam’s.
Bradshaw and her friends visited to purchase the area’s most popular dish- Bake and Shark.
“I don’t think anyone wants to go back to being at home with no access to beaches so I hope people really take the time to be cautious this time around,” she said.
She anticipates that there would be crowds of people within the first few days of the reopening of the beaches so she would make her visit after two weeks.
Another patron who wished to remain unidentified told Guardian Media she was also visiting with some friends for Bake and Shark to celebrate one of her friends’ recent birthday.
However, while she wants to visit the beach at the first opportunity present to her, she noted that she “probably won’t go to one of the more populated beaches.”
“I still have that fear of…the community spread. I don’t want to expose myself unnecessarily,” she said.
Owner of Uncle Sam’s and Son’s along the bay, Michael Pierre told Guardian Media he anticipates today’s reopening would bring some crowds at a time which is usually slow.
But he too asked citizens to “let good sense prevail” and be responsible to avoid a reclosure of the beaches.
When the Prime Minister announced the reopening of the beaches, he urged citizens to be responsible and to adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols such as mask-wearing.
However, president of the Lifeguard branch of the National Union of Government and Federated Workers (NUGFW) Augustus Sylvester said lifeguards won’t be able to enforce social distancing at the beach or ensure masks are worn.
He recommended that police officers be stationed alongside the lifeguards.
Sylvester also said several issues are facing them which the Ministry of National Security needs to meet with them on.