Pool parties, wave surfing, golfing, picnics – Americans break free over Memorial Day weekend as health concerns rise
Outdoor partying is on in full swing in many parts of the United States, as people continue to take total advantage of the new found freedom. After several weeks of lockdown, citizens seem to have broken free causing a great deal of concern for health authorities.
Despite several weeks of warnings from health officials to follow “social distancing” measures and wear face masks in public, Americans across the country crowded the beaches and partied in large numbers over the Memorial Day weekend.
A video from a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office helicopter captured dozens of people blocking traffic near Daytona Beach, Florida, where officials required visitors to wear masks but have resigned that the mandate is “not realistic” or enforceable among larger crowds.
In Missouri, tourists headed to Lake of the Ozarks, where dozens of people densely packed pool parties and watering holes without masks or other preventive measures in place, despite signs reminding visitors to keep at least six feet apart.
The boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland, where masks are not required, was filled with tourists and visitors in a state that has seen more than 2,100 Covid-related deaths, according to the state’s health department.
Beaches in Pinellas County, Florida, were near capacity by mid-afternoon on Saturday, and the county’s sheriff’s office warned it was seeing an “unprecedented level of closures” to halt new visitors.
On Friday, White House health official Deborah Birx had urged Americans to go outside during the holiday weekend but stressed the importance of wearing face coverings if people can’t effectively keep six feet apart in large groups.
“As you go out this weekend, understand you can go out,” she said during a White House press briefing. “You can be outside. You can play golf. You can play tennis with marked balls. You can go to the beaches if you stay six feet apart.”
But reports of abandoned social distancing measures suggest that those guidelines have largely fallen by the wayside, without any federal mandates or enforceable or consistent measures across much of the US to keep them in place, as the nation’s death toll approaches 100,000 lives lost during the pandemic.