Is it okay to go to SA's beaches right now?

2020-03-19 14:45 - Gabi Zietsman
Post a comment 0
clifton beach

While South Africans are practising social distancing to help curb the spread of Covid-19, many will turn to the outdoors to remedy cabin fever - but should you be heading to the beach?

While Cape Town and Durban beaches remain open for now, people are discouraged to hit the coast as it may generate large crowds - but people are still going.

Public facilities that have been closed however with close proximity to beaches include braai and picnic spots, swimming pools and nature reserves that aren't national parks.

READ: Bo-Kaap goes into lock-down 

In the US - where Spring Break is in full swing - Florida has closed a few of its big party beaches, yet big crowds still pose a concern.

The state's governor also refuses to shut the beaches down, a big tourist draw for the area.

ALSO SEE: Virus sets inadvertent world aviation record with longest passenger flight ever 

But what is the real danger of going to the beach? 

Besides the obvious risk of crowds, you also increase your risk with the use of public bathrooms and showers.

In terms of whether the virus can be spread through swimming, the US's Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised that the Covid-19 virus can't spread in swimming pools due to chlorination.

However, according to a webinar on the coronavirus and water, it can remain infectious in natural water systems like lakes and rivers, however diluted, according to the Water Research Foundation. 

But not enough studies have been done to ascertain if it can survive saltwater. Other types of coronaviruses are susceptible to UV radiation and might not survive in waterways.

They do however believe there's a small possibility for the disease to spread through sewage, and a spill on the beach can be likely.

If you are really craving the beach life during this period, your best bet is to avoid city beaches and rather opt for ones in smaller towns and are isolated, where crowds are minimal even during the good times. 

SEE: SA Express has suspended all operations