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With summer around the corner, outside is looking pretty, hot, and tempting. The Daily Mail reports, beaches across the nation were packed as people ignored social distancing to sunbathe and relax on the sand.
Despite state governors’ pleas for citizens to stay at home, beaches from California to New York saw large numbers over the weekend as California experienced a heatwave, and the rain went away in New York.
Southern California’s temperatures reached into the 80s and 90s, allowing beachgoers to surf and sunbathe. “It’s crowded out,” said Brian O’Rourke, a lifeguard battalion chief in Newport Beach. “We haven’t had too many issues with [social distancing] as lifeguards. Our primary mission is watching the water. We’ve had dozens of ocean rescues and hundreds of preventative actions.” O’Rourke also said they’ve had “very good compliance and people are spreading out.”
An estimated 40,000 packed onto Newport Beach on Friday and similar crowds were expected Saturday, The Associated Press reported. However, Huntington Beach was a different story, people were crowded on the sand, and although some wore facemasks, the social distance was less apparent.
California Governor Gavin Newsom encouraged residents to obey his March 19 stay-at-home order that hasn’t lifted. Before the weekend, he tweeted: ‘It’s going to be nice outside this weekend. You might be feeling cooped up. Ready for life to go back to ‘normal.’ But can’t stress this enough: CA can only keep flattening the curve if we stay home and practice physical distancing. You have the power to literally save lives.’
Miles away on the east coast, after a week of rain New Yorkers, ventured out to Coney Island and Long Beach to walk, fish and surf, despite Governor Andrew Cuomo’s stay-at-home order and closed beaches. Many were seen with face masks and practicing social distancing. New York City is still considered the epicenter for COVID-19 but has since reported a decrease in hospital visits and COVID-19 related deaths.
Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp has been under criticism after overriding the city council of Tybee Island’s vote to close the beach. On Saturday, people were lounging beachside and ordering food from dine-out windows. Kemp has also been criticized for reopening the state’s beauty salons and spas on Friday. As of Monday, restaurants will be able to take dine-in customers. Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms voiced her disapproval of Kemp’s COVID-19 handlings.
Florida’s notorious South Beach has been closed until further notice after 15,000 confirmed cases were reported. Two hundred miles north, Cocoa Beach and Satellite beach lifted restrictions that were implemented on April 2, and since beachgoers have swarmed to the beach under the circumstances that they practice social distancing and maintain groups of no more than five. Jacksonville has also reopened its beaches as of Friday.
Only time will tell if the opening of beaches was too soon.