Ns News Online Desk:Thousands of stir-crazy Americans have flocked to beaches and tourist spots over the Memorial Day weekend, and while many tried to stay safe, many others seemed to ignore social-distancing rules despite the lingering coronavirus pandemic.
It came as most U.S. states cautiously started to lift restrictions that have been in place for months to curb the spread of the virus – which so far killed nearly 100,000 Americans, according to the latest figures. All along the eastern coast, beaches were packed with large crowds as sheriff’s deputies and beach patrols tried to enforce social distancing. Along Florida’s Gulf Coast in the Tampa area, crowds became so large that officials closed parking lots because they were full. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said about 300 deputies were patrolling the beaches to ensure people stayed at least six feet apart.
In Galveston, Texas, access points to the island were jam-packed with traffic, the Galveston Daily News reported. Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis told the paper Saturday that few people were seen wearing masks but appeared to be social distancing.
“Considering how many people have been here, it’s gone pretty well so far,” he said. At the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, people packed bars and restaurants. One video showed a crammed pool where vacationers were not wearing masks and lounging close together, St. Louis’ KMOV-TV reported.