Consumer Reports: Having fun, staying safe at the shore amid COVID-19

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With recent spikes in coronavirus cases, especially in some popular vacation spots, it is critical you take the proper precautions even when you're having fun in the sun.

Consumer Reports has some important tips on how to stay safe from COVID-19.

A trip to the beach may not be as carefree as before but it can still be fun and memorable.

Consumer Reports says "know before you go."

Beach rules vary among states and even neighboring towns. Some allow most or all activities while others have limitations, including how many people are allowed on the beach. And plan ahead for food and bathrooms since concession stands, along with public toilets and showers, might be off-limits.

"If the parking lot or the beach look too crowded and you don't think you'll be able to stay at least six feet from other people, it's probably a good idea to turn around and go home," said Trisha Calvo, Consumer Reports' Health Editor.

Experts agree the risk of waterborne transmission of COVID-19 is low. The biggest threat is coming into close contact with other swimmers, who may be contagious.

The CDC recommends wearing face coverings in public where social distancing may be difficult. You should, however, remove your mask before you swim and stay six feet away from other people in the water.

If you're able to set up your beach towel at least six feet away from anyone not in your household, you may be able to safely remove your mask.

"If you decide to go for a walk or anywhere where you might come into close proximity to other people, always put your mask back on," said Calvo.

And coronavirus worries are no excuse to ignore sun protection. Make sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed skin.

Two top performers in Consumer Reports tests are also best buys at under ten dollars: Trader Joe's Spray SPF 50+ and Coppertone UltraGuard Lotion SPF 70.

Reapply every two hours or after swimming and wear protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.

Consumer Reports said it's important to apply sunscreen to your entire face even if you're wearing a mask. If you take off your mask at any point when you're not around other people, you don't want to leave the lower part of the face unprotected from UV rays.
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