Reports have been circulating that most Floridians are hitting the newly reopened beaches and trading their stay-at-home sweatpants for shorts and swimsuits.
But Daniel Uhlfelder is not one of them.
Instead, this lawyer from Florida heads out with a raggedy black robe, conceals his face with a black cloth, and wields his scythe.
Uhlfelder, an attorney, is haunting Florida beaches dressed as the Grim Reaper as a protest to their reopening, which he believes is premature and needs to be evaluated.
It’s a macabre plea to Floridian beachgoers to stay home.
Uhlfelder is known to be a huge advocate for public beach access in the state, even butting heads with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, whose Florida Panhandle home is situated on a private beach. But according to him, allowing anyone on the beach at the light of this pandemic is a grave mistake, one that could endanger the community.
In an interview, he told reporters:
“We aren’t at the point now where we have enough testing, enough data, enough preparation for what’s going to be coming to our state from all over the world from this pandemic.”
With a scythe in his hand, he went to beaches around Walton County, Florida, that have reopened ahead of the state’s planned May 4 reopening. “Phase One” of the reopening will allow restaurants and retailers to open at 25% capacity while bars, salons, and gyms will stay closed for now.
According to him, the beaches he visited Friday were very crowded.
“I know how beautiful and attractive our beaches are. But if we don’t take measures to control things, this virus is going to get really, really out of control.”
He also stated the act was an effort to donate to the campaigns of Democratic candidates: Phil Ehr, who’s running against incumbent Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who wore a gas mask on the House floor during the vote on the coronavirus stimulus package; and Christy Smith, who’s running for former Rep. Katie Hill’s seat in California.
Reports said Uhlfelder, after Huckabee filed a bar complaint against him, recently built the Make My Day PAC, established to support the opposing candidates of conservative political leaders.
According to Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 34,728 cases in the state of Florida, with 1,314 recorded deaths.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has sided with the opening of beaches in the state and made an announcement on Friday that state parks would open next week.
DeSantis mentioned a Department of Homeland Security study that, according to him, shows sunlight, heat, and humidity kills Covid-19.
He said in a statement:
“The DHS study said that sunlight rapidly killed the virus in aerosols, and it said that outdoor daytime environments are lower risk for transmission of the virus than indoor environments,”
“In terms of surfaces, when a virus may be left on a surface DHS study concluded that sunlight kills the virus quickly and that the virus is less stable overall at higher temperatures and higher humidity.”
The study mentioned came under increased scrutiny after President Donald Trump said last week that the virus could be treated with sunlight, as well as whether disinfectants could be used to treat the virus in humans.
A DHS spokesperson told reporters that there is no written report as yet, although the results are being submitted for peer review and publication in scientific journals.