Americans eager to spend a day outdoors are flocking to beaches for Memorial Day Weekend after enduring lengthy coronavirus lockdowns.
Beach-goers showed up in throngs to popular summer destinations throughout the US — forcing some areas to start turning people away.
Beaches in Pinellas County, Fla., reached an “unprecedented level of closures” over the weekend — with more than 60 access points shuttered by 1 p.m. Sunday to help control crowds, the sheriff’s office said.
“I have never seen this many umbrellas,” one beachgoer, Tiffany Mathers, told the Tampa Bay Times. “This is not social-distancing at all. There’s way too many people.”
Others said they just needed to get some fresh air, and were still trying to maintain distance from other people on the beach.
“I’ve been in the house for months and had to get out for some fresh air … But I’m not socializing or sitting close to people,” said Michael Montoya, who was sitting in a beach chair on Sunset Beach, according to the outlet.
Meanwhile, beaches in Galveston, Texas, drew large crowds, snarling traffic for miles, according to the Galveston Daily News.
“When I say it was busy today, it’s really busy, because we’re talking about the first day of the holiday weekend, which is usually the lighter day,” Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis said of Saturday’s turnout, according to the report.
In Missouri, partiers packed restaurants and bars at the Lake of the Ozarks, a popular summer destination for Chicagoans.
Footage posted to Twitter showed dozens of revelers drinking in an unidentified poolside bar in the area.
“No covid concerns at the lake of the ozarks,” wrote KTVK anchor Scott Pasmore on Twitter.
Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said she was “very concerned” about the report of people crowding together to mark the start of summer.
“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,” Birx said on ABC’s “This Week.”
The US is expected to surpass 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the next few days, with more than 1.6 million cases already recorded as of Sunday afternoon, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.
With Post wires
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