- Umberto Menasci designed a concept for plexiglass boxes that enable social distancing at beaches.
- Some states have reopened public beaches as they ease coronavirus lockdowns, while others are under stricter stay-at-home orders.
- Resort towns in particular have been eager to reopen, and some viral photos appear to show large crowds gathered.
Going to the beach is one of the highlights of summer, but coronavirus lockdowns have put that in jeopardy. Italian designer Umberto Menasci proposed a solution: “Safebeach,” a set of plexiglass boxes that divide the beach up and force social distancing.
US beaches have been a source of contention between people who support strict lockdown measures and protestors. Despite encouragement from local government to maintain social distance at the beach, viral photos appeared to show large crowds flouting guidelines in Florida. Resort towns, which rely on visiting beachgoers to support their local economies, have slowly been starting to reopen.
“Safebeach” is a hotel and beach concept that could make these reopenings safer, or possible at all in harder-hit areas. Here’s how it works
The concept is for a kind of open-air hotel at the beach, with a reception area that handles reservations.
An app could be developed to make reservations, avoiding lines, Menasci told Business Insider.
Each group’s area is surrounded by plexiglass to potential infection between beachgoers.
The top of plexiglass box is open for ventilation, and it can also be cooled manually with water. On the side, there is a table where servers can leave food or drinks ordered through the app to prevent more cross contamination.
Menasci says that this design is effective because of the spacing, so everyone inside their rooms and on paths is forced to maintain a safe social distance.
The same principle applies in the water, too, with buoys marking how far apart people should be.
Experts also generally agree that risk of coronavirus transmission outdoors is much less likely than indoors, especially in a poorly ventilated room.
Menasci said that the idea was to recreate the familiar experience of going to the beach in a safe way, and let people still vacation and have fun outside.
While the design is new for the beach, Menasci emphasized the he didn’t want to it to look sterile or medical, like a hospital.