'Grim reaper' stalks Florida beaches to remind locals of the coronavirus threat

A Florida lawyer is trying to put the fear of death into “covidiots” in his state, by dressing up as the grim reaper and hanging around the beach to remind them of the coronavirus threat.

Lawyer Daniel Uhlfelder kicked off his “Grim Reaper Death Tour” at Miramar Beach in Walton County, Fla., on Friday, after teasing the stunt on Twitter last month.

The soft-spoken lawyer showed up in a full grim reaper outfit, complete with gloves, an all-black mask and a plastic scythe.

“I’m here today to try to make a point that we need to — I think it’s premature that we open our beaches,” Uhlfelder said, in an interview with ABC 13 at the beach on Friday.

“It’s too soon and it’s not appropriate,” he said.

Uhlfelder gave the interview while dressed as the grim reaper, then stood menacingly behind the reporter after handing back the microphone.

Uhlfelder is using his May beach tour to raise money for any Democrats who run against sitting Republicans in Florida. He also hopes that his stunt will raise awareness about the importance of social distancing.

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“Nobody is a bigger advocate of public access to state beaches than me — I love our beaches — it’s one of the reasons I choose to live here,” Uhlfelder said in a news release. “But we must act in a thoughtful and sensible manner.”

Many beach-goers were not happy to see a spectre of death marching along the shore on Friday, and several of them told him to get lost.

“I think he should go somewhere else because he don’t belong here,” local resident Al DeAngelis told WKRG.

Gary Winthrop, 18, said the grim reaper was ruining his first visit to the beach since COVID-19 cut his spring break short.

“I don’t think it’s cool,” he said.

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The man dressed as Death said he’s more concerned with saving lives than being popular.

“If this can get one person to take this more seriously, then I feel I’ve done what I can,” he said.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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