About a thousand people — most young people — gathered on the beach in Long Beach on July 18, in clear violation of the state’s current ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, which is intended to help stem the tide of the coronavirus pandemic.
Forgive us for saying this so bluntly, but that was just plain foolish. As Forrest Gump would say, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
Covid-19 loves big, dense groups, where it can easily spread. Most of the young people gathering on the beach after dark did not wear masks. It was, potentially, a perfect flashpoint for further spread of the disease.
Now the city has imposed an 8 p.m. curfew, after which people will not be permitted on the beach, and 9 p.m. for the boardwalk, and only Long Beach residents will be allowed on the beach over the weekend.
It’s a sad but necessary step to ensure public health.
There will be those who will point to the recent Black Lives Matter — and, on a smaller scale, Blue Lives Matter — protests and wonder why they are not receiving the same criticism and crackdown. Fair point, except during the protests, most people wore masks, and social distancing was at least attempted to one degree or another.
It’s only natural that young people would want to get out and congregate after four months of confinement. We get it. Everyone is itching to leave their homes and return to normal life, and for many young people, that means big parties.
This isn’t the time, however. We remain solidly in the middle of a pandemic not seen in this nation since 1918. If we are to defeat the coronavirus, we must remain strong — we must keep up our resolve.
Parents, you play a key part here. Many of the revelers in Long Beach were teenagers or in their early 20s, by all appearances. Teens often don’t listen, we know. But in times of trouble, they will defer to their parents. You’re still their guide.
So talk to them about staying safe. Discourage them from congregating in large groups, and encourage them to wear masks, stay six feet apart and wash their hands often. They’ll probably grumble, or even talk back to make a show of it, but most will listen.