After months of quarantine, Americans are finally breaking free from their homes this Memorial Day weekend, despite the potential consequences of sparking a second coronavirus wave. The battle between staying sane while cooped up in a home for months versus the ongoing pandemic is a challenging situation to balance. While some are venturing outside in absolute horror, others are putting their party face on and disregarding local public health orders.
Thousands of vacationers, few with masks and ignoring social distancing rules, flocked to Ocean City, Maryland for Memorial Day weekend. This comes as COVID-19 cases in the state topped 45,000, with the number of people hospitalized leveling off in the past several weeks.
On Saturday, WJZ-TV’s Mike Hellgren documented dense crowds wandering the boardwalk, many of whom were wearing no masks nor had any intention of staying six feet apart from one another.
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) May 23, 2020
Reuters snapped a picture, also showing large crowds packed on the lower end of the boardwalk — very few people were wearing masks.
Like we noted in “Hawaii Arrests ‘Rogue Tourists’ In COVID Contagion Crackdown,” some Ocean City residents have become upset that vacationers are invading their town this holiday season with a complete disregard to local public health orders.
Here’s what one local tweeted: Jennifer Parker: “I live in Ocean City, MD. I haven’t left my home in nine weeks other than grocery shopping, and these people flock down here without a care in the world. Shocking!”
Last week, we showed how one bar in the beach town was gearing up for when restaurants and bars reopen. They ordered a bunch of social distancing bumper tables for patrons.
And according to some on Twitter, Ocean City, Maryland wasn’t the only vacation area packed with people ignoring social distancing. Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri was very crowded as well.
No mask, no problem, party time in the Ozarks
This is why my pantry is stocked, the mask and gloves are stocked, the purelll and wipes are stocked. Because too many of my fellow Americans are selfish and stupid and living in childish denial… #COVID19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/X3BhQX0N9Z
— Andy Ostroy (@AndyOstroy) May 24, 2020
This video is on Snapchat in the Lake of the Ozarks? Unreal. What are we doing? pic.twitter.com/m0qsEQ4KLp
— Max Baker (@maxbaker_15) May 24, 2020
Officials in Daytona Beach, Florida, fully reopened the town for Memorial Day weekend and it was a complete madhouse on Saturday. Police released helicopter footage of the party scene.
VIDEO: Some of today’s events (Saturday, 5/23) in Daytona Beach:https://t.co/GimwPWmE1n
— Volusia Sheriff (@VolusiaSheriff) May 24, 2020
Another video showed hundreds of people in the street, while a man on top of a car throws money into the crowd.
NEW: Crowd tries to get money being thrown from car in Daytona Beach, FL on Saturday.
— Andy Slater (@AndySlater) May 24, 2020
Fights broke out on the actual beach.
Folks aired it out right in front of us at Daytona Beach today💀😭 pic.twitter.com/23aMdMnsDn
— Heartbreak Tay💔 (@talenroberts) May 24, 2020
As for other crowded beaches, here’s a live shot of Carolina Beach, North Carolina.
Live shot of no social distancing at Myrtle Beach, North Carolina.
— Peter Morley (@morethanmySLE) May 24, 2020
Over the weekend, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke at Jones Beach on Long Island, a popular beach for people in the Tri-state area, opened about 50% capacity for Memorial Day weekend, to emphasize the progress New York has made since flattening the pandemic curve as it inches towards reopening. Though as America tip-toes towards a return to normal, it’s becoming even clearer that a V-shaped recovery will not be seen, after one of the worst economic slumps since the 1930s could leave the economy permanently damaged.
Reuters notes as America reopens, eleven states in the last week have reported a “record number of new coronavirus cases.”
Americans sunbathed on beaches and strolled on boardwalks over Memorial Day weekend even as the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic neared 100,000 https://t.co/NdLxAjIwAs pic.twitter.com/qbF5P3j564
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 24, 2020
The US economy is showing some signs of life but nothing suggests a V-shaped recovery in the back half of the year.
While Americans flock to beach towns this weekend, with many ignoring social distancing rules as they attempt to relive a pre-corona world, the ongoing pandemic continues to claims lives, now tallying nearly 100,000 US deaths, with the bulk of new case growth now emerging outside of the top 15 metro areas.
And as so much of the work by first responders and hospital workers to mitigate the spread of the virus in wave one is tossed out, the risk of a second pandemic wave grows by the day.