One Florida man stuck out from the bathing suit-wearing beach crowd today in an effort to literally scare beachgoers into staying home during the coronavirus pandemic. In an interview on WMBB News 13 that’s been making the rounds on Twitter today, reporter Faith Graham speaks with a figure fully clothed in a Grim Reaper costume in broad daylight on Miramar Beach.
Today marks the first day in Florida when beaches have been fully reopened in over a month, Graham explains in the video — but not everyone is ready to get their tan on with the rest of the sunbathers. Florida Lawyer Daniel Uhlfelder, the man behind the Grim Reaper costume, explains in the interview why he’s chosen to dress in his creepy attire. Graham had to step aside and hand over her microphone to Uhlfelder so that he could fit into the frame, plastic scythe and all.
“I’m here today to try to make a point that we need to, I think it’s premature that we open our beaches,” he says while clutching the mic between his black gloves. “I’m a huge proponent of public beaches… but I think that the danger of bringing all the people here to our area and spreading the virus, I think it’s gonna prolong the recovery we have, and I think we should take better measures.”
“It’s too soon and it’s not appropriate,” he added, then handed the mic back to Graham while juggling his scythe in the other hand, and kept standing behind the reporter while she finished up her segment.
Uhlfelder’s eye-catching stunt isn’t a one-time appearance. It’s actually part of his Florida Grim Reaper Tour, a campaign he created last month to help raise awareness for social distancing while also supporting Democrats up for election in Florida. “Many have asked if I would travel the coastal towns of Florida to warn our fellow Floridians about the dangers of not social distancing in the attire of the Grim Reaper, and the answer is a resounding yes!” Uhlfelder posted on the Make My Day PAC website.
The reception to his tour has been largely positive so far, with Twitter users praising the lawyer for his bold statement against reopening beaches. “That’s incredible! Amazing that there are that many clueless or willfully ignorant people,” one person tweeted. CNN anchor Jake Tapper took notice, tweeting, “Makes an impression.” Indeed.
Watch Uhlfelder’s full interview in the video above, and check out some photos of him in full costume below.