A Florida lawyer dressed as the Grim Reaper Friday to protest the reopening of Florida’s beaches during the coronavirus outbreak and went on live television to personally deliver his message from the sand.
Daniel Uhlfelder, 47, showed up to protest the opening of Walton County beaches amid the coronavirus pandemic while dressed in the hooded costume.
The Reaper was even able to take his message to the airwaves.
Faith Graham, a reporter for Panama City ABC affiliate WMBB handed the lawyer a microphone during an interview for Friday morning’s news broadcast
Daniel Uhlfelder, 47, showed up to protest the opening of Walton County beaches amid the coronavirus pandemic while dressed as the Grim Reaper Friday. He even went on live television while dressed in costume (pictured) to deliver his message for a news segment
‘I am here today to try to make a point that I think it’s premature to reopen our beaches,’ Uhlfelder said, his face under his Reaper’s hood.
‘I’m a huge proponent of public beaches, and I’ve been fighting for that for years, but I think that the danger of bringing all the people here to our area, and spreading the virus. I think it’s going to prolong the recovery we have,’ he added.
The lawyer also tweeted an image of himself as the Reaper on the sand, warning people to ‘stay at home.’
The lawyer also tweeted an image of himself as the Reaper on the sand, warning people to ‘stay at home’
Uhlfelder last week promised he would travel to reopened beaches dressed as the Reaper to stop people breaking social distancing rules.
The lawyer in March had sued Governor Ron DeSantis for failing to issue a statewide closure of beach and announced he would launch a so-called ‘Grim Reaper Tour’ starting May 1 in an April 21st Twitter post.
It came after the state relaxed its stay-at-home order, with beaches in Jacksonville reopening April 17 and in Brevard County April 21 – triggering a mass of sunbathers flocking to the sands.
Uhlfelder announced his o-called ‘Grim Reaper Tour’ starting May 1 in a Twitter post
On a ‘Make my day’ donation page set up for the ‘Florida grim Reaper Tour’, Uhlfelder writes that the campaign will also raise donations for Democrats running for office
‘Many of you have asked if I am willing to travel around Florida wearing Grim Reaper attire to the beaches and other areas of the state opening up prematurely. The answer is absolutely yes,’ Uhlfelder said in a tweet.
‘Beginning May 1 we will hit the road here in state. Please retweet and spread the word.’
He posted a photo of a Grim Reaper, complete with cloak and scythe, sitting on a lifeguard stand on a beach as people walk past.
Uhlfelder said in an April 21st tweet (pictured) that he was to travel to reopened Florida beaches dressed as the Grim Reaper to stop people breaking social distancing rules. The social media post included an image from ‘The Swim Reaper’ Instagram account
The image has been borrowed from the ‘The Swim Reaper’ Instagram account set up by the New Zealand government to warn people about the importance of water safety on the nation’s beaches.
Uhlfelder’s campaign has a similar message – to draw attention to the preventable loss of life during the coronavirus pandemic if people stay home and practice social distancing.
The trial lawyer has ordered a $24 Grim Reaper cloak from Walmart, and bought a scythe and gloves to go with it, which he said on social media will arrive next week.
On a ‘Make my day’ donation page set up for the ‘Florida grim Reaper Tour’, Uhlfelder writes that the campaign will also raise donations for Democrats running for office.
‘THE COVID GRIM REAPER IS COMING TO A FLORIDA BEACH NEAR YOU,’ it reads.
‘Join us to help raise funds to distribute equally to Democrats running for federal office. They include, but are not limited to: the opponent of Matt Gaetz, Phil Ehr; and Christy Smith, who’s running in the special election in CA on May 12 to fill the vacancy caused by Katie Hill.’
Uhlfelder told Business Insider that he loves the state beaches but fears that more lives will be lost by them reopening too soon.
‘Our beaches are a big draw. I love our beaches, and I wish could go to them,’ he said.
‘The progress we’re making, though, is going to be diminished with the quick reopening.’
The latest campaign from the trial lawyer comes after he filed a suit against DeSantis to pressure him to close the state’s beaches.
Uhlfelder donned a Hazmat suit to protest outside the governor’s mansion back in March against the beaches staying open.
When he was refused a meeting with DeSantis he filed the lawsuit.
Uhlfelder also began touring Florida beaches wearing a paintball costume to encourage people to social distance.
A family walks through an entrance to Cocoa Beach, Florida, Thursday, on the day it reopened
Sunbathers flocked to Cocoa Beach (pictured) and Satellite Beach in Brevard County Thursday after they reopened to Floridians. The reopened beaches are requiring that sun-seekers still practice social distancing and keep groups to a number smaller than five
In Jacksonville, beaches reopened Thursday. Photos showing scores of residents descending upon beaches sunbathing and ignoring social distancing guidelines have sparked outrage and prompted the hashtag #FloridaMorons to trend on social media
Though his suit was denied, DeSantis did eventually bow to pressure and close Florida’s beaches on April 2 – far later than most states.
Just over two weeks later, DeSantis began relaxing lockdown rules and gave the all- clear for some beaches and parks to reopen from April 17.
Sunbathers flocked to Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach in Brevard County Thursday after they reopened to Floridians.
Around 200 miles to the north of Cocoa Beach in Jacksonville, beaches reopened last Friday from 6 to 11 am and 5 to 8pm for residents to walk, swim and fish.
The reopened beaches are requiring that sun-seekers still practice social distancing and keep groups to a number smaller than five.
In Jacksonville, sunbathing is still prohibited.
However, photos showing scores of residents descending upon beaches sunbathing and ignoring social distancing guidelines have sparked outrage and prompted the hashtag #FloridaMorons to trend on social media.
Miami, which has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with nearly 15,000 confirmed cases, has kept its beaches closed indefinitely.
Fears are mounting that several states are relaxing lockdown rules too soon as guidelines suggest states should record two weeks of declining cases before reopening.
The trial lawyer last month sued Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (pictured) for failing to issue a statewide closure of beaches. DeSantis finally relented to pressure and shuttered them on April 2 – much later than most states
DeSantis revealed Tuesday that Florida has joined a coalition with Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi to ease lockdown measures across the southern states.
As the news broke, public health experts sounded a grave warning that together the six states – which are rife with chronic health conditions and are lagging behind on testing – could trigger a new spike in cases and deaths if they push to reopen too soon.
‘If you put these states together, there is a perfect storm for a massive epidemic peak later on,’ Jill Roberts of the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health told Politico.
There have been 34,720 confirmed cases in Florida of the coronavirus, which has been blamed for 1,314 deaths.
Across the US there have been 1,097,414 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, which has been blamed for 63,849 deaths.