SEASIDE PARK - When you've gone to the beach and boardwalk so this summer how many people have been wearing a face covering/mask? How many people are being socially distant and considerate of other people?

It's a rhetorical question for the sake of the article but they are important self-reflective questions just as much as sociological questions.

The health and safety guidelines are in place for a number of reasons and it's to protect you, your family, your friends and everyone one else you see wherever you go.

The current state of the Covid-19 pandemic as it relates to Ocean County is in a positive trend of late with a consistent amount of less and less cases being reported on a daily and weekly basis by the Ocean County Health Department.

That's no reason to be complacent for residents in Ocean County or anyone visiting the area.

"We're encouraging residents and visitors to come out and enjoy the outdoors because it's good for their physical, mental and social well-being but if they're going to be coming out, do it responsibly," Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Dan Regenye tells Townsquare Media News. "If you're in an outdoor environment like the beach, be able to have your socially distancing and be at least 6-feet apart. If you're then going to be coming up onto the boardwalk and using some of the restroom facilities or even some of the food establishments, make sure that you're bringing a mask and covering up."

When you're at the beach and boardwalk, wearing a mask could not only help you but help others around you at that time and when you go home.

"It's good for the individual whether they're a positive case or not," Regenye said. "It (wearing a mask) would help them either way, from spreading it or contracting it. Everybody needs to do their part and take those precautions to protect themselves, their families and more importantly everybody knows somebody who meets the high risk definition whether by age or bay some kind of an underlying health condition. Those are the individuals that we really need to protect and not be so selfish is saying 'Oh, I'm not going to wear this because I'm fine'. It's not about you as a person, it's about the community that we reside in and the people around us that may look perfectly healthy but they may have some kind of underlying health condition."

If that means sacrificing your face tan on the beach and boardwalk, then you'll have to take one for the team and put on a face mask.

However, there are limited circumstances where you can lay out in the sun without a mask but that's where social distancing will loom large.

"If you're outdoors and apart from other people, and apart meaning away from family members and within their household contacts, they should not need to wear a mask," Regenye said. "If you see a large group of people coming towards you and it's unavoidable to come in close contact, it may not hurt to put that mask on. If you're in an outdoor setting like the beach there would not be a requirement as look as your practicing social distancing."

Your normal trip to the beach in summers past would include sunscreen, sunglasses, a blanket/towel maybe a sand bucket for the kids and a beach umbrella but in a Covid world, your beach bag should include a couple other important items.

"When you're packing the suntan lotion, pack a bottle of hand sanitizer. If you can't get to a bathroom to wash your hands properly, hand sanitizer is the next best thing and apply it frequently and don't just do it one time for the day and that's it," Regenye said. "You should have extra masks for when you're out on a windy day and your mask bows away and goes into the water at the beach."

You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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