People Flock to Lakes and Beaches During Memorial Day Weekend

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Shirley Huang, Staff Writer

People in the U.S. were eager to celebrate the holiday weekend, rushing outdoors to lakes and beaches, but many entirely ignored social distancing guidelines and other precautionary measures, including wearing face masks. 

Authorities now warn that with so many people outside again, the U.S. may see a resurgence of the coronavirus, which has already killed almost 100,000 people across the country.

In the Sunshine State of Florida, an event called Orlando Invades Daytona had been heavily promoted on social media, though, was canceled shortly after the request of the police department. This, however, did not stop massive crowds of people from descending upon the beaches and boardwalks. Officials in the Gulf Coast were forced to close beaches after reaching full capacity, resulting in an “unprecedented level of closures” over the weekend. 

Late Saturday night, a shooting occurred near Daytona Beach after some 200 people gathered in the streets, resulting in six injured victims. 

Meanwhile, in Missouri, swarms of people headed out to the Lake of the Ozarks after a set of images spread like wildfire on social media, depicting a group of partiers crowding together at the lake. Locals say it caused a notably large crowd of people to do the same. “It seems like everyone is having the same idea, to come to the lake to enjoy summer, because you can social distance at the same time,” said a local, who was shooting a time-lapse drone video of the boat traffic on the lake.

As people rush to lakes and beaches to enjoy the start of summer, President Donald Trump celebrated that “cases, numbers and deaths are going down.” Other White House officials, however, had a different response to the countless reports of people flocking outdoors in large gatherings. 

Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, the Food and Drug Administration commissioner, emphasized that though restrictions are beginning to loosen, people still need to be careful. “With the country starting to open up this holiday weekend, I again remind everyone that the coronavirus is not yet contained,” he said. “It is up to every individual to protect themselves and their community. Social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks protect us all.”

Similarly, Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, made a statement on ABC’s This Week addressing her concerns: “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.”

 

Image Courtesy of APNEWS.COM