Were the Photos of Jacksonville Beaches Fake?

Source: Getty Images

Snopes, an online fact-checking resource, examined a claim that many Floridians, and others made, that the photos used to show crowded Jacksonville beaches were in fact fake. They argued that photos from the past, before the pandemic were used to paint a false picture of the beaches, and illustrate what would happen to many public areas when reopened after the pandemic.

There is an extreme divide within the U.S. in beliefs of how to begin to reopen the country. One side urges the government to hold off on opening public areas, such as beaches, and allow social distancing to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. The other side of the argument is that individuals have a right to use outdoor space, for mental health as well as exercise. They argue that individuals are in more close contact in the grocery store, than on a beach, and therefore they should be allowed to use this public land.

Snopes concluded that while old photographs of Jacksonville beaches may have been used in the context of unrelated stories, the photos used to show the crowding of the beaches after reopening this month, are very real. Snopes also conceded to some arguments that the angles and photo choice make the beaches appear far more condensed than they actually are. However, the photos are real and current, and accurately portray the state of the beaches.

As systems like parks and beaches begin to open in the future, there will be inevitable disparity in opinions. In an unprecedented crisis, there is no way to know how the public, or the virus, will react, and therefore it is unfortunately nearly a guessing game at this time.


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