With coronavirus quarantine and social distancing in full swing, spring breakers have still been flocking to the beaches of Florida. That is until Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) closed them Thursday.
While the beaches were still open, memes about beachgoers have circulated.
“Well, if they won’t Close the Beaches in Florida, time for the Bugs Bunny method of #SocialDistancing,” Twitter user JeanDunn52 wrote, accompanied by a gif of Bugs Bunny sawing the entire state of Florida off of the contiguous United States.
— Jean Dunn (@jeandunn52) March 19, 2020
Native residents of Florida were also surprised to see that the beaches were still open, posing further threat to a population battling coronavirus.
“Me, a born floridian, looking at these overcrowded beaches while we’re out here trying to battle the coronavirus,” @jerricaofficial wrote in a tweet. “Just close the beaches already.”
me, a born floridian, looking at these overcrowded beaches while we're out here trying to battle the coronavirus. JUST CLOSE THE BEACHES ALREADY pic.twitter.com/k6HdXdvG3z
— jerrica (@jerricaofficial) March 19, 2020
A Florida lawyer went as far as making a video showing his attempts to meet with Governor DeSantis in a sanitary suit and mask.
“We are not gonna stop until the beaches are closed because it’s a danger to our community,” Daniel Uhlfelder said in the PSA. “We urge Governor DeSantis to close the beaches because the executive order he has in place is not enough.”
RETWEET TO HELP CLOSE THE FLORIDA BEACHES. CALL THE GOVERNOR AT 850-717-9337 pic.twitter.com/5sasI8vtuV
— Daniel Uhlfelder (@DWUhlfelderLaw) March 18, 2020
The memes began in earnest after a CBS News interview that went instantly viral showed students in Florida who pledged to keep partying despite the outbreak.
“If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I'm not gonna let it stop me from partying”: Spring breakers are still flocking to Miami, despite coronavirus warnings. https://t.co/KoYKI8zNDH pic.twitter.com/rfPfea1LrC
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 18, 2020
That sparked tremendous outrage online, helping push the discussion to close the beaches forward.
wait, ok, the names of some of the kids saying they won't let COVID-19 endanger getting drunk at spring break in this video:- brady sluder- brianna leeder- atlantis walker- shelby cordell- bryson taylor – swear to god. https://t.co/JPqWa1TUpa
— isi breen (its pronounced ‘izzy’) (@isaiah_kb) March 18, 2020
I'm sorry… But these are the faces of stupidity. https://t.co/2ASUgbKzsY
— Alejandro Saab of the #AshenWolves (@KaggyFilms) March 18, 2020
This is the opposite of science. https://t.co/b9CnJW03Ou
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) March 19, 2020
“Every college kid on spring break when they actually close the beaches and bars #StayTheFHome,” @juliocandoo wrote in a tweet.
— Julia (@juliacandoo) March 19, 2020
Outrage online over the college kids helped spark the #CloseTheBeaches movement, which led to DeSantis closing down the beaches today.
But people weren’t done mocking those who were still going out despite warnings to stay home.
Some compared the situation to the 1975 cult classic Jaws. Specifically, they referenced the fictional mayor of Amity Island, who refused to cancel their Annual Regatta after claims of the eponymous shark’s presence at the beach were brought to his attention.
“I never actually finished Jaws but the mayor refusing to close the beaches was the right call, correct?” @iamchrisscott wrote in a tweet.
I never actually finished Jaws but the mayor refusing to close the beaches was the right call, correct?
— Chris Scott (@iamchrisscott) March 12, 2020
Lol Close the Beaches is trending. Didn’t anyone learn from Jaws
— Ducktales Season 3 Premieres April 4!!! (@izzylikessharks) March 19, 2020
The entire country is literally Roy Scheider in “Jaws” yelling “close the beaches and DeSantis is the Mayor like “Nah we good” pic.twitter.com/uI27qb5t68
— Portia Wash Your Hands McGonagal (@PortiaMcGonagal) March 19, 2020
Still, as the public calls on government officials to take preventative measures in containing coronavirus, government officials are calling on celebrities to handle their work.
The U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams called on cultural influencers Kylie Jenner, Donovan Mitchell, and Kevin Durant Thursday to tell their fans to stay home, in an appearance on Good Morning America.
“What we really need to do is get our influencers—Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, Kylie Jenner—we need to get our social media influencers out there and help folks understand that this is serious,” Dr. Adams said. “People are dying. We are seeing new data emerging from Italy that young people may be at higher risk in different situations than what we previously thought. Think about your grandmother, think about your grandfather, think about the fact that your’e spreading disease that could ultimately kill them.”
Adams warning about young people comes as new CDC data was released, which found that young and middle-aged adults are just as susceptible to the symptoms of COVID-19, as they make up a large number of coronavirus hospitalizations, according to the Washington Post.
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