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Here's 'Social Distancing' on Memorial Day

The AP looks at how crowds are gathering around the US this weekend
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 24, 2020 2:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Memorial Day weekend marking the unofficial start of summer in the US 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, the AP reports. 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. Among the Memorial Day scenes and warnings:

  • 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. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said about 300 deputies were patrolling the beaches to ensure people didn't get too close.

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  • In Missouri, people packed bars and restaurants at the Lake of the Ozarks, a vacation hot 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.
  • In West Virginia, ATV riders jammed the vast, 700-mile Hatfield-McCoy network of all-terrain vehicle trails on the first weekend it was allowed to reopen since the outbreak took hold. Campgrounds and cabins were opened as well.
  • 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 in which temperatures struggled to reach 60 degrees. Many wore masks and sat apart from others.
  • Meanwhile, President Trump went golfing for the second day in a row at his private club in Virginia. Trump had not played for weeks before this weekend.
  • 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," she said on ABC's This Week. "And if you can't social distance and you're outside, you must wear a mask."
  • Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, who has been targeted by protesters opposed to masks and social distancing, insisted the precautions should not be a partisan issue. "This is not about politics," the Republican said on NBC's Meet the Press. "It's been very clear what the studies have shown, you wear the mask not to protect yourself so much as to protect others."
(Read more Memorial Day stories.)

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