Crowds flocked to some beaches, boardwalks and other attractions as Americans looked to open the summer season outside.
“Without a doubt, this is one of the busiest weekends I’ve seen in many years,” a county beach safety official, Andrew Ethridge, told the Dayton Beach News-Journal Online in Florida. “We have 47 miles of beach in Volusia County and every bit of it has crowds.”
People around the country got varying messages from leaders about how to proceed amid the pandemic. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) urged people to spend the weekend at home and avoid gatherings, while others called for social distancing outside. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised those who venture out to wear masks and keep apart.
Not everyone heeded the guidance.
Video posted by a CBS Baltimore reporter captured an Ocean City, Md., boardwalk thick with visitors in close proximity, most not wearing masks.
A beach on the reopened Jersey Shore was packed with people sunbathing and frolicking in the water in video showed by MSNBC, with varying levels of social distancing.
People were eager to get out, officials said. Cleveland Metroparks, a system of nature preserves, announced that water rentals were completely booked for Saturday and Sunday, reminding visitors to say six feet apart and emphasizing that groups larger than 10 are prohibited.
And traffic was backed up for miles in Corpus Christi, Tex., as people traveled to Padre Island’s beaches. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) moved the state into Phase 2 of reopening Monday, which among other changes allows restaurants to increase their occupancy to 50 percent. Bars were allowed to open Friday.
Big Rivers Waterpark in New Caney, Tex., opened Saturday with long lines despite orders that water parks remain closed, according to local news reports. Social distancing appeared minimal in the lines shown in a Facebook post by ABC13 Houston. Big Rivers said it planned to allow 2,020 people inside, well below its 12,000-person capacity.
But with many communities still under stay-at-home orders, some normally busy locales were a stark contrast to previous years.
Hampton Beach in New Hampshire, for example, remains closed, and typically bustling beaches were barren in photos shared by WMUR TV.