News & Politics

The Nannies in Naples Ignore Science and Close Beaches

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

Honestly, this is all getting quite maddening. Research has shown a few factoids in regards to COVID-19 that public officials blatantly ignore:

  • UV light and heat shorten the half-life of the virus to mere minutes on surfaces
  • Vitamin D levels may protect against severe cases of COVID-19
  • In hard-hit New York, 66% of hospitalized patients were sheltering at home
  • In New York, 26% of the remaining hospitalizations come from nursing homes, assisted and congregate living, jail or the homeless
  • Nearly three-quarters of hospitalized patients are over the age of 51 in New York
  • Only 4% regularly used public transportation

So where is a place that people under 50 can get sun, heat and be outside where their bodies can absorb UVB rays to produce Vitamin D? Why the beach, of course! But this common-sense thought has apparently not occurred to the powers that be in Naples, Florida. Beaches there were closed on Sunday, May 9, at 12:01 a.m., just a week after reopening:

A notice from the City of Naples on Saturday announced the closing and said it was in alignment with CDC guidance and Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-112.

Naples Councilman Gary Price said he received a text from a friend Saturday that the number of people on the beach looked like a problem.

“I went to the beach,” Price said. “It was packed. People were parking everywhere, blocks away.” The councilman said he took photos to show the crowds, mostly packed close together and not social distancing as required.

The picture here seems to tell a different story.

You can see people walking, but defined groups are clearly congregating a distance from each other. You can also see a wide lane between groups closer the water and further away. Lots of sand is visible for an overcrowded beach. Is the city really going to police who is gathering together under the umbrellas? Or do they expect members of the same household to distance from one another? I bet an aerial view would show a completely different perspective just as it did on beaches in California.

In any case, the idea that beaches are a place where the unmitigated spread of COVID-19 happens defies all logic. People are in the water, there are few hard surfaces, and people are perfectly capable of governing their own distance from those they don’t know. The complete lack of trust in Americans who have been inundated with the precautions they should be taking is insulting and infuriating.

The Naples City Council was supposed to hold an emergency meeting to determine how to babysit their residents. This seems to be their self-appointed role. Governors and city leaders across the nation seem to feel similarly. Perhaps they need to be reminded they actually serve with the consent of the governed.

The current guidelines from the City of Naples are rather strange. They appear to be directed more at decreasing visitors to the beach than anything directed at keeping the public safe. It is not apparent this is the update that follows yesterday’s meeting, but given that pictures from Saturday showed residents with the equipment prohibited here, it seems likely.

  • Monday – Friday, open sunrise to sunset, No coolers and tents (chairs and umbrellas allowed), Walking, running, swimming, fishing, and paddle boarding allowed
  • Weekends: 7am – 11a, Chairs, tents, umbrellas, or coolers prohibited, Walking, running, swimming, fishing, and paddle boarding allowed
  • Weekends: 5pm – sunset, ONLY chairs allowed. (Tents, umbrellas, or coolers prohibited)

None of the attempts by state and local officials to micromanage the behavior of citizens seem to be rooted in anything related to the science of the virus and how it spreads. Rather, they seem to be knee-jerk reactions to limited information and a picture or two. In some cases, they even seem politically motivated. This incessant nannying needs to end.