Holiday weekend draws crowds, triggers warnings

  • Darien Foxx, of Virginia, sun bathes on the back of his car while he waits on the rest of his party to check into a hotel amid the coronavirus pandemic, Saturday, May 23, 2020, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP) Jason Lee

  • Chairs stand with the prescribed safety distance on a beach of G'hren on the island of R'gen, Mecklenburg-Western, Germany, Friday, May 22, 2020. After the shutdown as a coronavirus protection measure in mid-March, the tourism industry in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is starting again step by step. From May 25, 2020 guests from other federal states will again be allowed to travel to the north-east. (Jens B'ttner/dpa via AP) Jens B¸ttner

  • Sunbathers catch the last rays of evening light, amid the coronavirus pandemic, Saturday, May 23, 2020, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP) Jason Lee

  • Sunbathers lie in an area marked by cordons of ropes and wooden stakes to enforce social distancing measures in La Grande Motte, southern France, Sunday, May 24, 2020. Grateful French families flocked to the beach at La Grande Motte on the Mediterranean shore Sunday, swimming and sunbathing in areas carefully marked to keep them a safe distance from others. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole) Daniel Cole

  • Cocoa Beach, Fla., is packed with Memorial Day beachgoers on Saturday, May 23, 202 The beaches are open for business again during the coronavirus epidemic. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel via AP) Stephen M. Dowell

  • People utilize the Echo Park Lake recreation area Saturday, May 23, 2020, in Los Angeles during the coronavirus pandemic. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has approved 45 of California's 58 counties to reopen some businesses since May 8 when he loosened his original mid-March stay-at-home order. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Mark J. Terrill

  • People gather at Echo Park Lake, Saturday, May 23, 2020, in Los Angeles during the coronavirus pandemic. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has approved 45 of California's 58 counties to reopen some businesses since May 8 when he loosened his original mid-March stay-at-home order. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Mark J. Terrill

  • People visit Pensacola Beach in Pensacola, Fla., Saturday, May 23, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. (David Grunfeld/The Advocate via AP) STAFF PHOTO BY DAVID GRUNFELD

  • People practice physical distancing as they enjoy the warm weather at Mooney's Bay Beach in Ottawa, Ontario, Saturday, May 23, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP) Justin Tang

  • Muslim women perform during an Eid al Fitr prayer despite concerns of the new coronavirus outbreak, at a mosque in Lhokseumawe in the deeply conservative Aceh province, Indonesia, Sunday, May 24, 2020. Millions of people in the world's largest Muslim nation are marking a muted and gloomy religious festival of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the fasting month of Ramadan - a usually joyous three-day celebration that has been significantly toned down as coronavirus cases soar. (AP Photo/Zik Maulana) Zik Maulana

  • This photo taken with drone shows Kashmiri Muslims offer Eid prayers in the premises of a residential building in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sunday, May 24, 2020. The holiday of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, a usually joyous three-day celebration has been significantly toned down as coronavirus cases soar. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin) Dar Yasin

  • Pope Francis delivers his blessing from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, May 24, 2020. For the first time in months, well-spaced faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the traditional Sunday papal blessing, casting their gaze at the window where the pope normally addresses the faithful, since the square had been closed due to anti-coronavirus lockdown measures. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) Andrew Medichini

  • This aerial photo shows Muslims performing during an Eid al-Fitr prayer despite concerns of the new coronavirus outbreak, at Baiturrahman Grand Mosque in Banda Aceh in the deeply conservative Aceh province, Indonesia, Sunday, May 24, 2020. Millions of people in the world's largest Muslim nation are marking a muted and gloomy religious festival of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the fasting month of Ramadan - a usually joyous three-day celebration that has been significantly toned down as... Heri Juanda

  • Kevin Heine relaxes on a mostly empty beach Saturday, May 23, 2020, in Belmar, N.J., during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) John Minchillo

  • Lifeguards keep watch at a mostly empty beach Saturday, May 23, 2020, in Belmar, N.J., during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) John Minchillo

  • A runner passes along a mostly empty beach, Saturday, May 23, 2020, in Belmar, N.J. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) John Minchillo

  • People gather on the beach for the Memorial Day weekend in Port Aransas, Texas, Saturday, May 23, 2020. Beachgoers are being urged to practice social distancing to guard against COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) Eric Gay

  • People enjoy Pensacola Beach in Pensacola, Fla., Saturday, May 23, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. (David Grunfeld/The Advocate via AP) STAFF PHOTO BY DAVID GRUNFELD

  • Muslims offer the Eid al Fitr prayer despite concerns of the coronavirus outbreak at Al Mashun Grand Mosque in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Sunday, May 24, 2020. Millions of people in the world's largest Muslim nation are marking a muted and gloomy religious festival of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the fasting month of Ramadan _ a usually joyous three-day celebration that has been significantly toned down as coronavirus cases soar. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) Binsar Bakkara

  • Muslims wearing face masks attend the Eid al-Fitr prayers outside a mosque in Gaza City, Sunday, May. 24, 2020. Millions of people in the world's largest Muslim nation are marking a muted and gloomy religious festival of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the fasting month of Ramadan _ a usually joyous three-day celebration that has been significantly toned down as coronavirus cases soar. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) Khalil Hamra

  • People relax at the Naviglio Grande canal, in Milan, Italy, Sunday, May 24, 2020. Europeans and Americans soaked up the sun where they could, taking advantage of the first holiday weekend since coronavirus restrictions were eased, while European governments grappled with how and when to safely let in foreign travelers to salvage the vital summer tourist season. Italy, which plans to open regional and international borders on June 3 in a bid to boost tourism, is only now allowing locals... Luca Bruno

  • People enjoy the warm weather as they gather at Ostia beach, near Rome, Sunday, May 24, 2020. Europeans and Americans soaked up the sun where they could, taking advantage of the first holiday weekend since coronavirus restrictions were eased, while European governments grappled with how and when to safely let in foreign travelers to salvage the vital summer tourist season. Italy, which plans to open regional and international borders on June 3 in a bid to boost tourism, is only now... Andrew Medichini

  • People take a walk and relax at the Naviglio Grande canal, in Milan, Italy, Sunday, May 24, 2020. Europeans and Americans soaked up the sun where they could, taking advantage of the first holiday weekend since coronavirus restrictions were eased, while European governments grappled with how and when to safely let in foreign travelers to salvage the vital summer tourist season. Italy, which plans to open regional and international borders on June 3 in a bid to boost tourism, is only now... Luca Bruno

  • Pro golfer Billy Hurley III, left, and others stand after returning to the White House from his Trump National Golf Club with President Donald Trump, Sunday, May 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Alex Brandon

Published: 5/24/2020 6:42:01 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Memorial Day weekend marking the unofficial start of summer in the U.S. meant big crowds at beaches and warnings from authorities Sunday about people disregarding the coronavirus social-distancing rules and risking a resurgence of the scourge that has killed nearly 100,000 Americans.

Meanwhile, the White House announced a ban on travel to the U.S. from Brazil, which has been hard hit by the pandemic.

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.

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.

On the Sunday talk shows, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said she was “very concerned” about scenes of people crowding together over the weekend.

“We really want to be clear all the time that social distancing is absolutely critical. And if you can’t social distance and you’re outside, you must wear a mask,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.”

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, St. Louis station KMOV-TV reported.

In Daytona Beach, Florida, gunfire erupted Saturday night 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.

“We got slammed. Disney is closed, Universal is closed. Everything is closed so where did everybody come with the first warm day with 50% opening? Everybody came to the beach,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said at a Sunday news conference, referring to crowds in the Daytona Beach area.

But 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. Sunbathing and group activities such as volleyball were prohibited.

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,” said Danovan Clacken, whose face was covered.

The U.S. 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. Worldwide, more than 5.3 million people have been infected and 342,000 have died.

The New York Times marked the horror by devoting Sunday’s entire front page to a long list of names of those who have died in the United States. The headline: “An Incalculable Loss.”

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump, who went golfing for the second day in a row after not playing for weeks, said on the syndicated Sunday program “Full Measure With Sharyl Attkisson” that he is feeling fine after taking a two-week course of the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine and a zinc supplement.

The president has spent weeks pushing the drug against the advice of many of his administration’s top medical professionals. Hydroxychloroquine can have deadly side effects.

The issue of wearing masks in public and staying several feet apart has become fraught politically, with some Americans taking to the streets to protest such rules as a violation of their rights.

Repubican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, who has been targeted by such demonstrations, insisted the precautions should not be a partisan issue.

“This is not about whether you are liberal or conservative, left or right, Republican or Democrat,” DeWine said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Its been very clear what the studies have shown, you wear the mask not to protect yourself so much as to protect others.”

Meanwhile, in Maryland, several state lawmakers, religious leaders and others are appealing a federal judge’s refusal to strike down a stay-at-home order and other restrictions that Republican Gov. Larry Hogan imposed.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opened a docket for the case on Friday after a federal judge denied an attempt to block Hogan’s order. The governor lifted the stay-at-home order effective May 15, but many hard-hit counties extended their own orders.

On Sunday, the Trump administration announced it was adding Brazil to the list of countries from which travel is banned. The ban applies to foreign nationals who have been in Brazil in the 14 days before seeking travel to the United States.

Trump has already banned travel from the United Kingdom, Europe and China.

Across Europe, meanwhile, a mishmash of travel restrictions appears to be on the horizon, often depending on what passports visitors carry.

Beginning Monday, France is relaxing its border restrictions, allowing in migrant workers and family visitors from other European countries. Italy, which plans to open regional and international borders on June 3 in a bid to boost tourism, is only now allowing locals back to beaches in their own regions with restrictions.

For the first time in months, the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the traditional Sunday papal blessing, but they kept their distance from one another. Some 2,000 Muslims gathered for Eid al-Fitr prayers at a sports complex in a Paris suburb, spaced 1 meter (3 feet) apart and wearing masks.

Beachside communities in England urged Londoners and others to stay away after rules were eased to allow people to drive any distance for exercise or recreation. The southern coastal city of Brighton said: “Wish you were here — but not just yet.” Wales kept up its “Later” tourism campaign, reminding people that its hotels, restaurants and tourist sites are still closed.

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Mahoney reported from New York. Associated Press writers around the world contributed to this report.

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Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.




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