Despite multiple warnings to the contrary, huge crowds have packed together at Clearwater Beach in Florida over spring break. The sheer number of people are concerning, given that officials have been advising people to engage in social distancing in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, as CBS News reports.
Tuesday morning, Florida Governor Ron Desantis ordered all bars and nightclubs to close for the next 30 days, which has already gone into effect. Additionally, restaurants are to reduce their capacity by 50 percent while people have been encouraged to order takeout instead. He also advised the state's 12 universities to offer distance learning until the end of the semester. However, he did not announce any official closures of the state's many beaches.
"What we're going to be doing is, simply, for the statewide floor for beaches, is applying the CDC guidance of no group on a beach more than 10 and you have to have distance apart if you're going to be out there," DeSantis said. "Different localities are going to make decisions about what makes sense."
The official City of Clearwater account tweeted on Tuesday that it was closing the beach's bait house and fishing pier, though there was no mention of closing the beach itself.
The concern comes as more and more reports of people affected by coronavirus have been reported in the U.S. There are currently 4,226 cases of COVID-19 in the United States and 75 recorded deaths, according to the CDC. 49 states, as well as Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands, have all reported cases.
As a result, people have been encouraged to go into self-quarantine wherever possible. If not, the ideal is to practice social distancing, which is effectively keeping a distance of at least six feet, all of which can help slow the spread. Like Florida, a number of state and local governments across the U.S. have also ordered bars and other crowd-friendly spots to close down for the coming weeks out of an abundance of caution.
For information on actions that can be taken to further help slow the spread of coronavirus, check out the World Health Organization's website here.