Northwest Florida lawyer strolls beaches in ‘Grim Reaper’ costume to protest beach openings

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MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — As the beaches reopen in Northwest Florida, a Florida lawyer is making it known he is not enthused.

Daniel W. Uhlfelder, a lawyer and resident in Walton County, launched his “Grim Reaper Beach Tour” on Friday.

The tour’s purpose is to protest the decision by local and state governments to reopen the beaches to locals and tourists. Dressed as the grim reaper, walking up and down the beaches, Uhlfelder hopes he gets his message across to those visiting the beach.

“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 media release. “But we must act in a thoughtful and sensible manner.”

Uhlfelder believes the current COVID-19 data is unreliable and there’s not enough testing or health professionals in Walton County to deal the the pandemic.

While Uhlfelder says he had good intentions informing beachgoers of the dangers of COVID-19, his warnings were met with hostility at Miramar Beach Friday.

Several beach goers told him to go home and that he scared children.

“I think he should go somewhere else and protest because he don’t belong here,” said Walton County resident Al DeAngelis.

Gary Winthrop, 18, told News 5 his spring break was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he’s been been excited for the beach to reopen and Uhlfelder spoiled his mood.

“I don’t think it’s cool,” he said.

Uhlfelder said he hopes his appearance on Northwest Florida beaches on Friday will scare people off the beaches for now.

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

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