A Florida lawyer plans to tour the state's beaches while wearing a full Grim Reaper costume to protest many of the beaches opening while the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to climb. Daniel Uhlfelder of Santa Rosa Beach announced his intentions to wear the costume to beaches back on April 21 and followed through. A video of him on the first day of the tour went viral, with many on Twitter feeling he summed up 2020 perfectly.
"Many of you have asked if I am willing to travel around Florida wearing Grim Reaper attire to the beaches and other areas of the state opening up prematurely," Uhlfelder, who has been critical of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the Sunshine State, wrote on April 21. "The answer is absolutely yes. Beginning May 1 we will hit the road here in state. Please retweet and spread the word." Uhlfelde will also use the tour to help raise awareness for ActBlue to support Democrats running for federal office in Florida and founded the Make My Day PAC.
In March, the trial lawyer visited DeSantis' mansion, wearing a Hazmat suit and asking him to close the beaches during the pandemic. Uhlfelder was not allowed into the building, but DeSantis did eventually issue a statewide stay-at-home order. However, a month after that order, counties have started easing social distancing restrictions, notes NBC Miami. During a press conference with President Donald Trump on Tuesday, DeSantis said Florida was "flattening the curve." The state has over 33,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 1,200 confirmed deaths. Critics fear opening the beaches now could reverse the progress made.
holy shit pic.twitter.com/rVw24plXTp— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) May 1, 2020
"Our beaches are a big draw. I love our beaches, and I wish could go to them," Uhlfelder told Business Insider. "The progress we're making, though, is going to be diminished with the quick reopening." While Ulhelder understands why some want the beaches open now, he added, "But we need to get back to normal quickly, and I think reopening prematurely is going to prolong this."
And now here’s the Grim Reaper reporting from Florida’s panhandle. pic.twitter.com/bSKIfxjG1L— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) May 1, 2020
"That's why I'm doing things that are kind of unorthodox," Uhlfelder said. "You now have a trial lawyer wearing a Grim Reaper costume on the beach. That's not normal, but these are not normal times."
You know it’s 2020 when you turn the TV on and the Grim Reaper is reporting live from a beach in Florida. pic.twitter.com/1MdXy2AtBF— Santiago Mayer (@santiagomayer_) May 1, 2020
Uhlfelder has been at the center of political controversy before. Last year, he advocated for keeping beaches public, and joked that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's secret service codename should be "beach thief" because Huckabee supports privatizing beaches. Huckabee filed a formal bar complaint against him. Uhleflder said the case led his Twitter following to balloon from 400 to 100,000 followers.
The year is 2020 and beaches are reopening amidst a pandemic.
Here’s a word from the Grim Reaper. pic.twitter.com/qOV4y1rt1t— Chris Dixon (@cdixon25) May 1, 2020
"Just a quick note of appreciation: At the end of last year Mike Huckabee filed a false bar complaint against me," Uhlfelder tweeted on Wednesday. "I had 400 followers. You responded and told him to go to hell with his false bar complaint. Today I have over 123,000 followers. I'm grateful for each of you."
A grim reaper on TV is peak 2020 https://t.co/NH2LqSTn4p— Mary Latibashvili (she/her) (@mlatibash) May 1, 2020