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.