Monday, March 30, 2020

You Say "Epidemic"; He Says "Great Time to Go Surfing!"; …

By Eugene Volokh - March 30, 2020 at 12:05PM

Or so says an article in Stab Magazine (apparently a publication about surfing). An excerpt with some policy analysis (the article also has more on the facts):

Kelly makes some great points about how arresting officers grabbing surfers could exacerbate the spread of covid-19 (certainly more so than the physical act of surfing). And, also to his point, it makes no sense for the ocean to be closed before retail spaces. But on the point that people should be allowed to surf throughout this crisis (especially if they keep their distance), Kelly is wrong….

If people are allowed to surf (even at a safe distance from one another), it will lead to a mass migration of surfers from all surrounding areas to the beach. This is especially true since everyone is out of work and wants something to keep their minds and bodies occupied. Also, we're coming into a holiday week/end around the world, which will only add to the chaos.

Now, even if we were to assume that not a single person around the world could or would contract covid-19 while in the water (which is a very weak assumption), what about all the hotels, gas stations, coffee shops, public bathrooms, and other disease-incubating amenities that will inevitably be flooded by these migratory surfers?

If you could somehow enforce a law that only people who lived within walking distance of the beach were allowed to surf, it would probably be fine for them to do so. But of course that's not logistically feasible, so closing all beaches (and their adjacent waves) is the only logical step our government can take if they're serious about stopping the spread.

Thanks to Jenny Wilson for the pointer.

from Reason Magazine Articles