After almost six months without being able to leave, we finally began to see efforts to reactivate tourism and the economy. However, the media and authorities seem to disagree on the safety of reopen tourism and the beaches for COVID-19.
In many places with beautiful beaches, they continue to be closed to the public, despite the reopening of businesses such as restaurants, bars and shopping centers, whose closed spaces have proven to be much more susceptible to contagion than open and ventilated spaces.
Despite everything, there is a lot of misinformation and you may be wondering if it is safe to go to the beaches during the COVID pandemic, even if all the security measures are taken.
The situation of the beaches in Mexico
The coronavirus pandemic has had a great impact on tourism, since it affected important seasons such as Easter and summer holidays for the entire sector. As a result, many companies closed partially or totally and jobs were lost or the base salary of many employees was drastically reduced.
For this reason, when some states began to reopen their beaches, it felt like a respite both for businessmen in the areas, and for tourists eager to go out and clear the months of confinement.
For example, in Tamaulipas, Governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca said on July 17 that was analyzing the reopening of resorts and beaches, all under sanitary protocols, but the decision was rejected by the State Health Safety Committee.
In addition to this, there is the concern generated by the media that report news about the increases in infections both in the United States and in some European countries. It is very common to observe in the information media images of the repertoire of tourist destinations that have little relationship or affinity with the content of the articles and with the current reality of those locations.
Beware of misinformation
Due to all the information we now have about the virus and the ways it is contagious, we know that the beaches are one of the places with less risk, due to factors such as sunlight, humidity, wind and the wide space that allow us to enjoy, without being in close contact with others. The opposite of what happens in closed environments with little ventilation, such as shopping malls and cinemas.
Despite this, it has become very common to see news about COVID in major media that use images of beaches, parks or open spaces, when these places involve less risk of contagion.
This leads many people to indirectly associate that going to the beach, even with the appropriate measures, is directly related to the fact that infections are spreading, which is not necessarily true.
Is it safe or not to go to the beaches after COVID?
In a recent study It has been proven that sharing an indoor space such as a house, restaurant, business or transport carries a great risk of infection by SARS-CoV-2, since about 90% of the cases of contagion studied occurred in a closed space with little circulation of air and where the exposure time with the virus is much longer.
Conversely, open spaces such as parks, drive-ins and beaches, in the first instance, are safe forms of recreation and fun, very important factors for the mental health of families during this COVID pandemic.
According to Julia Marcus, a Harvard epidemiologist, "When people find lower-risk ways to enjoy their lives, that's actually a public health victory."
Although, in Mexico, the recommendation of the Ministry of Health continues to be to avoid contact with crowds, we are also already beginning to glimpse the new normal, since after so much time of inactivity, the economy and tourism need reactivate.
In conclusion, going to the beaches is a safe way to enjoy and rest from the days at home, as long as we respect social distancing, the use of face masks, wash our hands, etc.
Simply we have to be vigilant about possible misinformation in the media and avoid being alarmists, concentrate on scientific evidence and stick to what is necessary to continue taking care of ourselves and being able to promote tourism safely.