With the relaxing of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, visitors crowd the boardwalk on Memorial Day weekend in Ocean City, Maryland. REUTERS Photo by Kevin Lamarque pic.twitter.com/jTLCizWwr4
— Jim Bourg (@jimbourg) May 23, 2020
Happy belated Memorial Day. Memorial Day in the US, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a nationally observed holiday to honor those who have died while serving this country in the military. Many of those we honor died on the battlefield defending the rights and beliefs laid out in the Constitution of the United States of America. To honor those brave men and women this year, in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed the lives of almost 100,000 Americans, many flooded beaches, water parks and regular parks, without masks, not adhering to social distancing, and endangering everyone around them. The photos of the mass gatherings were met with disgust by many of us, including those currently risking their lives while serving their country: the frontline workers.
As states across the country begin reopening during the Memorial Day weekend, many are flocking to beaches, restaurants and bars in large numbers, despite pandemic warnings.
Beaches have seen an influx of visitors, as many people pack the beaches in Texas, Florida and more coasts while observing the summer holiday.
“I have never seen this many umbrellas,” Tiffany Mathers, 44, told the Tampa Bay Times after stopping by the Madeira Beach, which is located across the street from her home. “This is not social-distancing at all. There are way too many people.”
Mathers added that she felt awkward asking people to move further away from her to maintain social distancing when setting up towels and chairs nearby.
“I don’t want to be ugly to visitors,” she said, as many of the people she met on the beach appeared to have come in from out of town. “But I feel like we’ve been educated for too long about social-distancing for it to be this way.”
Similarly, a video shared by Scott Pasmore, an anchor for CNN affiliate KTVK, showed hundreds of people packing bars and pools while partying together at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.
“No covid concerns at the lake of the ozarks #loto,” Pasmore captioned the video, which was filmed at Backwater Jacks Bar & Grill in Osage Beach on Saturday.
The bar announced the launch of their summer party called “Zero Ducks Given Pool Party” on Facebook, sharing that they had “worked with and taken the advice of government officials and management teams and will be following social distancing guidelines.”
Dr. Stephen M. Hahn issued the warning on Twitter, writing that the deadly virus “is not yet contained.”
“With the country starting to open up this holiday weekend, I again remind everyone that the coronavirus is not yet contained,” he shared. “It is up to every individual to protect themselves and their community. Social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks protect us all.”
I know how hard it is to figure all of this out. It would be terribly frustrating to head to a beach only to have to leave because there was no safe spot six feet from others in every direction. Nobody said reopening would be easy. But it will take cooperation and sacrifice from all of us. But, as witnessed in this article and by examples like this public ousting of a women in a Target who refused to wear a mask, people are starting to come together against those who think their indignation is enough to protect them against a virus that has killed close to 350,000 people worldwide.
Before my husband’s university locked down, his boss told the department to start preparing for COVID to get personal, meaning that eventually, we would all likely have a name we can put to a COVID death. Last week I was accused of Isolation Shaming because I didn’t think Amanda Stanton was setting the right example by bragging about driving from So Cal to Arizona for a haircut. Tomorrow, they will take a very dear friend off her ventilator to see if there is any hope of her breathing on her own, something she is not currently responding to. There is a Do Not Resuscitate order in place. She is unconscious and alone, unaware of the devoted hospital staff that surrounds her. So yeah, I might Isolation Shame on occasion. But I will also do my part of sticking to pandemic precautions so that I don’t ever again have to pray to a God I stopped believing in to save a good person from such a lonely death.
— WDRB News (@WDRBNews) May 25, 2020
— Scott Pasmore (@scottpasmoretv) May 24, 2020
Photo credit: Twitter and Getty Images