Walton County, Florida – Most Floridians hitting the newly reopened beaches are trading stay-at-home sweatpants for shorts and swimsuits.
But when Daniel Uhlfelder heads out, he dons a raggedy black robe, conceals his face with a black cloth and wields his scythe.
Uhlfelder, an attorney, is haunting Florida beaches dressed as the Grim Reaper to protest their reopening, which he believes is premature.
It's a macabre plea to beachgoers to stay home.
Uhlfelder is a staunch advocate for public beach access in the state, even butting heads with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, whose Florida Panhandle home is parked on a private beach. But allowing anyone on the beach during the pandemic is a mistake, he said -- one that could endanger the community.
“I know how beautiful and attractive our beaches are. But if we don’t take measures to control things, this virus is going to get really, really out of control,” he warned.
It’s also an effort to donate to the campaigns of Democratic candidates: Phil Ehr, running against incumbent Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who wore a gas mask on the House floor during the vote on the coronavirus stimulus package; and Christy Smith, who’s running for former Rep. Katie Hill’s seat in California.
Scythe in hand, he traveled to beaches around Walton County, Florida, that have reopened ahead of the state’s planned May 4 reopening. Phase One of the reopening allows restaurants and retailers to open at 25% capacity. Bars, salons and gyms stay closed for now.