Local News

Memorial Day draws crowds to beaches, heats up debates about social distancing

Posted May 25, 2020 5:52 a.m. EDT
Updated May 25, 2020 3:47 p.m. EDT

After North Carolinians being cooped up with stay-at-home orders for months, Phase 2 of reopening lined up closely with Memorial Day weekend--a time when people traditionally travel and congregate at crowded pools and beaches.

Concerns about COVID-19 didn't stop big crowds from gathering at Carolina Beach on Sunday afternoon, enjoying the warm sun and May weather.

On cam: Carolina Beach packed with visitors on Memorial Day weekend

Photos of crowded beaches and lakes heated up debates on whether or not visiting the beach was safe during this time.

Some viewers shared concerns that with large gatherings like that, true social distancing wouldn't be possible. They expressed concern that the Memorial Day gatherings would lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the coming days.

Other viewers stated that they were at the beach, and although cameras showed packed shorelines from above, the story from the ground was different.

Some attendees said although many people were present, the crowds were maintaining responsible distance from each other.

Boardwalk comes back to life

The boardwalk at Carolina Beach came to life Friday when restaurants reopened.

"If we were indoors, it might be different as far as masks go, but I think if you're out in the open air, I don't see a problem with that," said one man who was outside near the restaurants.

The beaches are expected to be busy once again today, as North Carolinians celebrate Memorial Day weekend and look forward to the rest of Phase 2--and eventually Phase 3.

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