JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Beachgoers this Fourth of July weekend were haunted by the morbid specter of death on Jacksonville Beach.
They were greeted by an attorney dressed as none other than the Grim Reaper.
Daniel Uhlfelder, an attorney based in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, dressed as the symbol of death as a way to spread awareness that Florida is still battling the deadly coronavirus, despite the state’s phased reopening.
“I talked to some millennials in their 20s who wanted to talk about why I was doing this, why they may disagree with certain parts of it,” he told First Coast News.
Friday’s stop was part of his “Florida Grim Reaper Tour,” which he launched back in May around Phase 1 of reopening. He started in the Florida Panhandle to beaches all over South Florida.
According to his Twitter page, Uhlfelder’s scythe-wielding persona is his way speaking out against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ handling of the global pandemic, as well as his attempt at fighting “misinformation and warn people about the dangers of COVID-19 as Florida becomes [an] epicenter.”
“I tried a social media campaign, I tried suing the governor to close the beaches and do a stay at home order,” he said.
Thank you to everyone supporting our Florida Grim Reaper Tour. Our visit today to Jacksonville Beach was eventful and we met a lot of nice folks. Others had trouble controlling themselves based on misinformation. They will never stop or deter me. I promise. pic.twitter.com/ZCJ9hRzezi
— Daniel Uhlfelder (@DWUhlfelderLaw) July 3, 2020
“We have to take this into our own hands, unfortunately, because our leaders aren’t doing the right thing,” Uhlfelder told USA Today back in May.
At Jacksonville Beach some were not happy to see Uhlfelder dressed in black robes mingling among the bathing suit clad beachgoers. In fact the police had to intervene in a dispute between him and another man per his request.
“I had a very good open discussion with a lot of people, but then there are some detractors that are just trolls,” he said. “But they don’t bother me, so.”
Florida has seen a growing trend of positive COVID-19 cases with numbers surpassing the state’s initial peak back in April. Over the past two weeks alone, July 2 marked the 10th straight day where the number of newly reported coronavirus cases was more than 5,000.