As a resident of Sussex County, I would like to express my gratitude to Gov. Carney for closing our beaches. Last Thursday, when the temperature soared to 80 degrees, our beaches and boardwalks attracted thousands of people. It was clear that the constraints of social distancing and crowd limits were not working. Moreover, the out-town-plates from Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, New Jersey and New York were ubiquitous.
Here in Sussex County, our medical resources (i.e., doctors, hospitals, etc.) are barely sufficient to meet local residential needs. In response to the coronavirus, we have closed schools and restaurants, canceled events that would otherwise draw large crowds; however, until last Thursday, our area still had not addressed the “gorilla in the room” and that was our beaches. Our beaches are the major draw for people to come into our area.
In addition to the minimum amount of medical resources, our local population is composed of a large percentage of elderly who are at extreme risk to major complications from this virus. I am reminded of this every time my wife and I make our Meals on Wheels deliveries.
While I know the idea of closing beaches was not welcomed by some, it was necessary to slow the outbreak of this pandemic in our area. Right now, the strategy of slowing down the transmission of this virus is our primary weapon against it.
Our country, and in particular our area, lacks needed testing, lacks needed personal protection equipment for our healthcare workers, lacks needed medical equipment, lacks needed triage space, etc. Closing our beaches to visitors who are still tempted to visit our beautiful beaches was critical to those of us who depend on our local doctors and medical facilities, our local supply chains and our local first-responders.
Our medical personnel and responders protect us every day, I am glad the governor’s action, in part, returned the favor. I hope our neighboring states with beaches follow suit. Painfully, this all maybe necessary until we have an effective treatment.