Beaches, Restaurants, Bars and More Venues Packed with Visitors as States Begin Reopening
"I have never seen this many umbrellas. This is not social-distancing at all," one beachgoer described a Florida beach
As states across the country begin reopening during the Memorial Day weekend, many are flocking to beaches, restaurants and bars in large numbers, despite pandemic warnings.
Beaches have seen an influx of visitors, as many people pack the beaches in Texas, Florida and more coasts while observing the summer holiday.
“I have never seen this many umbrellas,” Tiffany Mathers, 44, told the Tampa Bay Times after stopping by the Madeira Beach, which is located across the street from her home. “This is not social-distancing at all. There are way too many people.”
Mathers added that she felt awkward asking people to move further away from her to maintain social distancing when setting up towels and chairs nearby.
“I don’t want to be ugly to visitors,” she said, as many of the people she met on the beach appeared to have come in from out of town. “But I feel like we’ve been educated for too long about social-distancing for it to be this way.”
Similarly, a video shared by Scott Pasmore, an anchor for CNN affiliate KTVK, showed hundreds of people packing bars and pools while partying together at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.
"No covid concerns at the lake of the ozarks #loto," Pasmore captioned the video, which was filmed at Backwater Jacks Bar & Grill in Osage Beach on Saturday.
The bar announced the launch of their summer party called "Zero Ducks Given Pool Party" on Facebook, sharing that they had "worked with and taken the advice of government officials and management teams and will be following social distancing guidelines."
However, Pasmore's video shows otherwise.
"When we walked up my first words were 'oh my gosh' it was intense for sure!! Social distancing was nonexistent. However everyone was enjoying themselves. It was a very carefree environment but security was heavy!!" Jodi Akins, a partygoer, wrote to CNN. "They checked all of our temps and had thousands of little bottles of hand sanitizer!! They did a good job with what they had to work with!!"
Another viral post, shared by Reuter's Pictures Editor Jim Bourg, showed visitors similarly crowding the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland.
On Sunday, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration urged Americans to adhere to federal guidelines regarding the coronavirus while celebrating Memorial Day weekend.
Dr. Stephen M. Hahn issued the warning on Twitter, writing that the deadly virus "is not yet contained."
"With the country starting to open up this holiday weekend, I again remind everyone that the coronavirus is not yet contained," he shared. "It is up to every individual to protect themselves and their community. Social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks protect us all."
On Sunday, White House advisor Dr. Deborah Birx warned Americans not to let up in social distancing practices. “During this reopening, social gatherings should not be more than 10 people—even if they’re outside,” Birx said on ABC News.
As of May 24, there were more than 5.3 million coronavirus cases worldwide and 342,695 confirmed deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. alone accounts for over 1.6 million of those cases and 97,150 deaths.
On Thursday, Trump announced that the federal government would fly flags at half-mast over Memorial Day weekend in tribute to the people who have died in the U.S. from the virus.
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