COVID-19 changes how International Coastal Cleanup will be conducted along Treasure Coast
By Tyler Treadway, Treasure Coast Newspapers
While you're out cleaning up a beach, the one thing you really don't want to pick up is COVID-19.
So organizers of the annual 35th annual International Coastal Cleanup along the Treasure Coast are taking special precautions to make sure volunteers stay safe.
"Everything now is different because of the pandemic, including how you pick up trash on the beach," said Tiffany Smith, outreach director at Keep Martin Beautiful, sponsor of the event in Martin County.
The differences start with when the cleanup will be held.
Spearheaded globally by the Ocean Conservancy, the cleanup usually is held on the third Saturday of September. This year Treasure Coast groups are spreading the event over several days.
In Martin County, the cleanup will run from Saturday, Sept. 19 to Friday, Sept. 25.
"Rather than have 1,000 people go to the beaches for a one-day cleanup, we're extending the event to an entire week to help people spread out more and maintain social distancing," Smith said.
The Indian River County cleanup is focusing on Saturday, Oct. 17, but volunteers can scour beaches anytime from Monday, Oct. 12, to Saturday, Oct.31.
"That gives us basically three weekends for cleanups," said Daisy Packer, executive director of Keep Indian River Beautiful, "which will help keep us from having too many people on a beach at once."