/Beaches packed on Memorial Day weekend, crowds flout social distancing – Business Insider

Beaches packed on Memorial Day weekend, crowds flout social distancing – Business Insider


  • Massive crowds gathered at beaches over Memorial Day weekend, drawing warnings from authorities on Sunday about people disregarding the coronavirus social-distancing rules and risking a resurgence of the virus.
  • In the Tampa area along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the crowds were so big that authorities took the extraordinary step of closing parking lots because they were full.
  • In Daytona Beach, Florida, gunfire erupted Saturday night along a beachside road where more than 200 people had gathered and were seen partying and dancing despite the restrictions.
  • Many Southern California beaches were open only for swimming, running and other activities.
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Memorial Day weekend marking the unofficial start of summer in the U.S. meant big crowds at beaches and warnings from authorities Sunday about people disregarding the coronavirus social-distancing rules and risking a resurgence of the scourge that has killed nearly 100,000 Americans.

Meanwhile, the White House broadened its travel ban against countries hard hit by the virus by saying it would deny admission to foreigners who have recently been in Brazil.

Sheriff’s deputies and beach patrols tried to make sure people kept their distance from others as they soaked up the rays on the sand and at parks and other recreation sites around the country.

In the Tampa area along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the crowds were so big that authorities took the extraordinary step of closing parking lots because they were full.

On the Sunday talk shows, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said she was “very concerned” about scenes of people crowding together over the weekend.

“We really want to be clear all the time that social distancing is absolutely critical. And if you can’t social distance and you’re outside, you must wear a mask,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.”

In Missouri, people packed bars and restaurants at the Lake of the Ozarks, a vacation spot popular with Chicagoans, over the weekend. One video showed a crammed pool where vacationers lounged close together without masks, St. Louis station KMOV-TV reported.

california beach memorial day coronavirus

Holiday beachgoers are reminded to stay six feet apart at Venice Beach on May 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

David McNew/Getty Images


In Daytona Beach, Florida, gunfire erupted Saturday night along a beachside road where more than 200 people had gathered and were seen partying and dancing despite the restrictions. Several people were wounded and taken to the hospital, authorities said.

“Disney is closed, Universal is closed. Everything is closed so where did everybody come with the first warm day with 50% opening? Everybody came to the beach,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said at a Sunday news conference, referring to crowds in the Daytona Beach area.

On Georgia’s Tybee Island, the beach was filled with families, bicyclists, beach chairs, games, swimmers and more. On a main drag, people lined the sidewalk at Wet Willie’s, a chain bar that sells frozen cocktails. Most stood close together — not nearly 6 feet (2 meters) apart — and none wore masks.

california coronavirus memorial day beach

Surfers at Venice Beach on May 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

David McNew/Getty Images


But at a nearby grocery store, staff members handed customers gloves and a number to keep track of how many people were inside at a time. Shoppers had their own masks.

Officials in California said most people were covering their faces and keep their distance even as they ventured to beaches and parks. Many Southern California beaches were open only for swimming, running and other activities.

At New York’s Orchard Beach in the Bronx, kids played with toys, and people sat in folding chairs. Some wore winter coats on a cool and breezy day, and many wore masks and sat apart from others.

“Good to be outside. Fresh air. Just good to enjoy the outdoors,” said Danovan Clacken, whose face was covered.

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