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Memorial Day weekend draws crowds and triggers warnings

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Large crowds of Americans who flocked to beaches and lakes to celebrate Memorial Day weekend have sparked fears of a coronavirus resurgence.

Large crowds of Americans who flocked to beaches and lakes to celebrate Memorial Day weekend have sparked fears of a coronavirus resurgence.

The Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer in the US, where the COVID-19 pandemic has killed almost 100,000 people.

Sheriff's deputies and beach patrols tried to make sure people kept their distance from others as they soaked up the rays on the sand and at parks and other recreation sites around the country.

With the relaxing of coronavirus restrictions, visitors crowd the boardwalk on Memorial Day weekend in Ocean City, Maryland.Boaters crowd an area known as "Crab Island" in the shallow waters near Destin,  Florida

In the Tampa area along Florida's Gulf Coast, the crowds were so big that authorities took the extraordinary step of closing parking lots because they were full.

In Missouri, people packed bars and restaurants at the Lake of the Ozarks, a vacation spot popular with Chicagoans, over the weekend. One video showed a crammed pool where vacationers lounged close together without masks.

In Daytona Beach, Florida, gunfire erupted along a beachside road where more than 200 people had gathered and were seen partying and dancing despite the restrictions. Several people were wounded and taken to the hospital, authorities said.

"Disney is closed, Universal is closed. Everything is closed so where did everybody come with the first warm day with 50 per cent opening? Everybody came to the beach," Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said, referring to crowds in the Daytona Beach area.

Beachgoers swarmed Indiana Dunes National Park in Porter.Aerial footage from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office shows large crowds blocking the streets in Daytona BeachPeople gather on the beach for the Memorial Day weekend in Port Aransas, Texas.

On Georgia's Tybee Island, the beach was filled with families, bicyclists, beach chairs, games, swimmers and more.

On a main drag, people lined the sidewalk at Wet Willie's, a chain bar that sells frozen cocktails. Most stood close together — not nearly two metres apart — and none wore masks.

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But at a nearby grocery store, staff members handed customers gloves and a number to keep track of how many people were inside at a time. Shoppers had their own masks.

Officials in California said most people were covering their faces and keep their distance even as they ventured to beaches and parks. Many Southern California beaches were open only for swimming, running and other activities.

At New York's Orchard Beach in the Bronx, kids played with toys, and people sat in folding chairs. Some wore winter coats on a cool and breezy day, and many wore masks and sat apart from others.

"Good to be outside. Fresh air. Just good to enjoy the outdoors," Danovan Clacken, whose face was covered, said.

Heidi Hannah holds her head in her hands, as she is joined by her sons Tomas, 10, left, and Lucas, 8, right, at a Memorial Day visit to the grave of her oldest son, Army Specialist Taylor Hannah, at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon, CaliforniaJ.D. Madrid pauses to pay tribute at the grave of his father-in-law, Michael McBrien, at Fort Logan National Cemetery on Memorial DayVietnam Veteran Kitch Kichula, wearing a protective face mask as a precaution against the coronavirus, pays his respects at the at the Vietnam War Memorial, in Philadelphia, on Memorial Day

The US is on track to surpass 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the next few days, while Europe has seen over 169,000 dead, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University that almost certainly understates the toll.

Coronavirus cases are trending upward in 18 US states.

Worldwide, more than 5.4 million people have been infected and nearly 345,000 have died.

The White House has broadened its travel ban against countries hard hit by the virus by saying it would deny admission to foreigners who have recently been in Brazil.

With AP / CNN

Source: 9News

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