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Journal Times editorial: Keep the outdoors open
Our Perspective

Journal Times editorial: Keep the outdoors open

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Coming off stay-at-home orders that kept people inside and businesses closed, the last thing governments should be doing is blocking off the outdoors.

It’s the Fourth of July weekend, and we’re called outdoors this summer more than others because so much remains closed or limited because of coronavirus concerns.

And in the summer of protests, the outdoors is where it’s at, right?

Well, not quite, and surprisingly not quite in states that led the way in reopening. All of a sudden there are spikes in California, Florida and other states.

Young people have flocked to bars and are getting sick. What should we do?

In California and Florida, they’ve closed the beaches this holiday weekend. Why shut out everybody because others can’t social distance?

“Due to rising #COVID19 cases all @CountyofLA beaches will be closing again temporarily this weekend, July 3rd through 6th,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn tweeted. “We had almost 3,000 reported cases just today. We cannot risk having crowds at the beach this holiday weekend.”

Beaches in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale among others are blocked off too, in an effort to gain control over Florida’s spiking COVID-19 infection rate.

“Caution thrown to the wind and so we are where we are,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who led the push to open his state in the first place.

In closing the beach from July 3 to 5, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said, “We feel we will not be able to provide the necessary safe environment everyone is entitled to enjoy when they come to our beaches.”

Memo to Florida and California officials: If you can’t figure out a social distancing plan on your beaches, you should refund tourists’ money. Because people planning vacations are not going to sit in hotel rooms.

And local people who want to go out should be able to enjoy the outdoors there and here and everywhere in this country.

On the Fourth of July weekend this message has to go out to government officials who may react to localized spikes — keep the outdoors open.

Individuals and families should be able to go on vacation in the summer of 2020 and have beaches and parks open. And so should local residents.

Yes, it’s a summer of uncertainty, but it should be a summer or personal choice. After stay-at-home months, we deserve to have time outside.

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