With the July 4 weekend approaching, county officials are well aware that Matagorda County beaches are expected to be full of visitors and locals and are urging all that visit the beaches to practice social distancing as much as possible during this pandemic.
“Even with spike in positive virus cases, we are still expecting large crowds at our beaches. The beaches will remain open,” said Matagorda County Commissioner Kent Pollard. “We are hopeful that people take care and follow the suggestive rules and regulations to social distance. We want everybody to enjoy themselves and stay safe. The Matagorda County Sheriff’s office will be out in full force over the weekend and we hope we don’t have any nonsense that we have to put up with at our beaches. We expect everyone to behave as well.”
Matagorda County currently has 109 active cases of COVID-19.
The Centers of Disease Control offers the following considerations for steps beach managers can take to help protect their staff and beach visitors, both in the water and on land, and slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Public beaches (such as swim areas at oceans, lakes, and other natural bodies of water) may be managed by local, state, territorial, federal, or tribal agencies or private entities. Beach managers can determine, in collaboration with local health officials, whether and how to implement these considerations, making adjustments to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.
Implementation should be guided by what is feasible, practical, and acceptable, and be tailored to the needs of each community. These considerations are meant to supplement — not replace — any local, state, territorial, federal, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, or regulations with which beaches managers must comply.
Closer and longer interaction with people who don’t live together raises their risk
The more an individual interacts with people he or she doesn’t live with and the closer and longer each interaction is, the higher the risk is of getting infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. These three scenarios show how the risk of spreading the virus at the beach can go from low to high.
Lowest risk: Staff and beach visitors stay at least 6 feet away from people they don’t live with. Staff and beach visitors do not share food, equipment, toys, or supplies with people they don’t live with.
More risk: Staff and beach visitors get closer — less than 6 feet away from people they don’t live with but who live in the same local area*. Staff and beach visitors limit their sharing of food, equipment, toys, or supplies with others — for example, they share only with a next-door neighbor.
Highest risk: Staff and beach visitors get closer — less than 6 feet away from people who live in a different area where the spread of the virus might be greater. Staff and beach visitors freely share their food, equipment, toys, or supplies with others, even people they don’t know.
Know how the virus spreads and how to protect yourself
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mostly person to person, by respiratory droplets released when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. Another person can become infected if the droplets land in his or her mouth or nose and possibly if the droplets are inhaled into the lungs. The virus might also spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose, mouth, or possibly eyes. Infected people can spread the virus whether or not they have symptoms.
Fortunately, there are several actions beach managers can take to help lower the risk of transmission of the virus among persons going to public beaches.
There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads through water according to CDC officials.
The potential for COVID-19 to spread at pools, lakes and beaches relates to crowds attracted to these places. The virus can spread from person to person on the deck of the pool or as children and adults play and relax at beaches and lakes.