Memorial Day Weekend 2020 is different than any other Memorial Day Americans have known, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions placed on businesses and large gatherings of people. While the number of guests at backyard barbecues might be smaller across the country as compared to years past, plenty of crowded scenes have made headlines and raised eyebrows amid the effort to quell the spread of COVID-19.
In Maryland, the Ocean City boardwalk saw packed crowds after the beach reopened last weekend. CBS Baltimore reports that by mid-afternoon Saturday, the boardwalk was packed. Groups of 10 or more are prohibited by law, and masks are recommended but not required. Ashley Miller with the Ocean City police told CBS Baltimore that the police force employed officers on horseback, foot patrol and vehicle patrol for the holiday weekend. "If we do see groups of ten or more, we remind them that it is a violation of the governor's order. Depending on the situation, we would determine what kind of action would be taken," Miller said, adding that police have been seeing "a lot of voluntary compliance."
Police also reminded people that it is illegal to consume alcohol in public in Ocean City, Maryland. But despite some crowds, regulars said the scene wasn't as busy as a typical Memorial Day weekend, and that the ten miles of beach in Ocean City allows for a lot of room to spread out. "As long as you keep your distance, we feel good," tourist Kelly Wallace told CBS Baltimore.
Meanwhile, a video of partygoers in a pool at the Lake of the Ozarks went viral on Twitter Saturday. Scott Pasmore, an anchor for KTVK, shot a video at Backwater Jacks Bar & Grill in Osage Beach on Saturday. The gathering violates social distancing measures; as part of Missouri's reopening plan announced earlier this month, state officials said restaurants may offer dining-in services but must adhere to social distancing and other precautionary public health measures.
The bar posted on Facebook that the gathering was the launch of a summer party called "Zero Ducks Given Pool Party." The bar said that the venue "has worked with and taken the advice of government officials and management teams and will be following social distancing guidelines." The bar also added that it was taking extra precautions and safety measures to "provide a safe environment for you to enjoy the event." Those precautions included reduced capacity, continuous cleaning and sanitizing of bathrooms, and a paramedic on staff for the duration of the event.
Coronavirus is not likely to spread in water, according to the CDC, but it does spread through people in close proximity. Staying 6 feet from others at pools or beaches is particularly important because masks are impractical in water.
Jodi Akins told CNN that she visited the bar with four friends during the pool party. "When we walked up my first words were 'oh my gosh' it was intense for sure!!" she wrote. "Social distancing was nonexistent. However everyone was enjoying themselves. It was a very carefree environment but security was heavy!!" She said the bar took precautions, like taking everyone's temperatures and offering thousands of small bottles of hand sanitizer. "They did a good job with what they had to work with!!" she wrote.
Lake of the Ozarks
Here’s a look at the Lake of the Ozarks Saturday pic.twitter.com/RVEqfMvzXW— Jesse Inman (@jesseinmanTV) May 24, 2020
Got these pictures sent from Lake of the Ozarks today. The business has a sign that calls for six feet of social distancing. It does not appear that request is being honored by patrons, or enforced by the business. The person who took the pictures noticed crowd while walking by. pic.twitter.com/7SDJi3eKnW— Colin Jeffery (@colinjef) May 23, 2020
Ocean City, Maryland
The photographer, Kevin Lamarque, says about ten percent of the people in the crowds were wearing masks.— Jim Bourg (@jimbourg) May 24, 2020