A Florida man is not happy with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to reopen beaches during the coronavirus pandemic.
He’s hit the sand to protest, but he isn’t wearing a bathing suit. His outfit is a lot darker, with a serious message.
Residents and tourists across Walton County beaches were in for quite a scare Friday afternoon.
The grim reaper, or Florida lawyer Daniel Uhlfelder, was out protesting Walton County’s beaches with a film crew along for the ride.
He’s the same Florida lawyer who filed a suit against DeSantis in March.
"You know when we first saw him it was a little bit scary and didn't know exactly what was going on," Joe Villarreal said to WMBB.
The man behind the costume says he feels compelled to urge beachgoers to think twice.
“The grim reaper represents death. This is a deadly virus. It’s a global pandemic,” said Uhlfelder, a Walton County resident. “People are gonna’ get hurt. And that’s what I’m here for. I wish I didn’t have to do this, but nobody else is doing it.”
His remarks were not welcome by everyone.
“I was just driving by, I saw the beach, and I wanted to look out and I saw the news so I came, walked up because I wanted to look at it and I saw this guy standing here so I got out,” Jay Fields. “And I didn’t want to say anything, but it’s just very frustrating.”
Fields believes opening the beaches is good for local businesses and those who have been left unemployed.
Uhlfelder says he actually loves the beaches but thinks they should be empty for the foreseeable future.
“There is no person that is more, I mean, I’ve sacrificed so much of my time,” Uhlfelder said. “I’ve got Mike Huckabee filing a bar complaint against me for speaking out, but there’s a time for this.”
Uhlfelder is also currently leading efforts to make all Florida beaches public and do away with privately-owned beaches.