Social Distancing Summer – What Does It Look Like?

Image: Bay News 9, Clearwater Beach, Florida

It’s the unofficial first day of summer and we are all either beginning to get out or looking forward to the day very soon when we emerge from our homes and start to venture beyond the confines of our neighborhoods or support jobs.  That is good.  But doing it safely is going to be a challenge.  Communities all over the country have posted signs about social distancing in parks and other public spaces like beaches. Many of these public spaces are limiting groups to 10 people or less and will turn away people when things get too crowded. People have created their own ways of keeping others at bay — including making seaweed borders and painting circles on the grass, as one park in New York City did.

Photo: Aaron Asis, Untapped New York

SAN DIEGO, CA-MAY 20:  Passengers board an American Airlines flight to Charlotte, North Carolina at San Diego International Airport on May 20, 2020 in San Diego, California. Air travel is down as estimated 94 percent due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, causing U.S. airlines to take a major financial hit with losses of $350 million to $400 million a day as nearly half of major carriers' planes sit idle. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

Photo: CNN

But lots of people are ignoring the rules — there are many videos on social media and the news showing people refusing to keep their distance.  And wearing masks is optional in most “open spaces,” for example, in the National Parks they are “encouraged” but not required.  Many people from all over the country are descending on beaches and national parks and very few are wearing masks.  And airlines are requiring masks, they are also packing passengers onto the few flights they are running and not spacing them 6 feet apart, leading to lots of criticism.

Why This Matters:  We need a serious national conversation about what will keep us safe as we ease back to some semblance of normal activity and interaction.  Re-opening is in many ways harder than closing.  But each one of us can protect the others around us.  Social distancing rules are hard for governments to enforce.  We all can encourage everyone to abide by the rules and heed the warnings of law enforcement and doctors.  Let’s take care of each other as if our lives depend on it — because they do.

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