The beach at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront was closed today. But it was packed.
— The Virginian-Pilot (@virginianpilot) May 17, 2020
And yet, the Virginian-Pilot article accompanying this telephoto lens shot says the “sprawling beach nearby was not at all packed:”
While the sprawling beach nearby was not at all packed, and groups were keeping their distance, there was no lack of beach blankets, towels, tents and umbrellas set up near the water.
Here are some overhead shots (if broadcast live, at 1 hour and 42 minutes later in the afternoon):
Here is an overhead view. People are in small groups, spaced apart. And note the distance between the buildings. pic.twitter.com/9tmqkAybmD
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) May 17, 2020
I know everybody in America wants to fight over imposing two extreme policies of Shut All Beaches Down Forever or I Should Be Able to Drive My Mobile Tongue-Piercing Parlor Truck on the Beach with Government Endorsement, but why not devote a little thought to some constructive compromises?
For example, beaches naturally are divisible into two main sections: the dry sand, which is good for sunbathing and the like, and the wet sand, which is good for walking and playing in the waves. If you look at the photo in the tweet above carefully, you can see that the inland half or so of the dry sand isn’t being much used, which is common on broad beaches like this. Most people who want to sit on the dry sand set up their towels quite close to the wet sand.
But this means the densest crowding is found right at the edge of dry sand and wet sand. In normal times, that’s great. The ideal place to put your towel is where the dry sand is sloping down to the wet sand, so you can prop yourself up comfortably on your elbows and watch the waves and the parade of pedestrians go by below you.
But if you want to distance people out more during this epidemic, the beach officials could put stakes in the sand, say, 50 feet inland from the high water mark for the day or at the point where the dry sand begins to slope down to the wet sand and not allow people to sit close to the wet sand. Instead, they can use for sunbathing all the immense amount of flat dry sand further inland.
I realize of course that nobody is interested in reasonable constructive compromises. The really important thing is not to learn and come up with smarter ways to do things, but to prove the other guy was wrong.