A surge of coronavirus infections in Alabama didn’t deter people from descending on the state’s beaches over Memorial Day weekend, according to local media reports.
Footage that CNN aired on Monday’s broadcast of “Anderson Cooper 360” showed Gulf Shores beach busy with people. None wore masks, per CNN national correspondent Gary Tuchman, and those interviewed were defiant in the face of the virus that’s killed more than 550 people in the state. Alabama eased lockdown restrictions on Friday.
Almost 100,000 people have now died from the virus nationwide.
Restaurants, bars and stores in the city were also busy, with many visitors failing to observe social distancing measures. Some restaurant staff did also not wear masks, according to CNN.
“My family has the same mindset as me,” one man on the beach told Tuchman. “We kind of just agreed that if we get it, we get it, we’re going to handle it as a family and just get over it because that’s what family does.”
One woman said: “Everybody has got to go somehow. I don’t want to die but, I mean, if that’s what God has in store for my life, then that’s OK.”
Others falsely likened COVID-19 to seasonal influenza and suggested “there’s enough wind and air that’s going to clear it out of the way” on the beach ― claims that Tuchman debunked.
Another man cited President Donald Trump’s refusal to wear a mask, which commentators have noted has become a right-wing talking point in recent weeks. “If he’s not wearing a mask, I’m not going to wear a mask,” said the man. “If he’s not worried, I’m not worried.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House coronavirus task force, last week encouraged people to get outside over Memorial Day weekend, while adhering to social distancing measures.
“Go out, wear a mask, stay six feet away from anyone so you have the physical distancing, and go out,” Fauci told CNN’s town hall on the pandemic. “Go for a run. Go for a walk. Go fishing. As long as you’re not in a crowd and you’re not in a situation where you can physically transmit the virus, and that’s what a mask is for, and that’s with the physical distance.”
Check out the video here:
Earlier in the weekend, beachgoer Steve Ricks told NBC 15 News that the majority of the thousands of visitors to Gulf Shores had been following social distancing rules.
“It was absolutely fabulous. It looks like America’s opening up,” Ricks said. “There are literally thousands of people out here on the beach, and what I’m really pleased to see is that many of these folks, almost all of them, are doing a great job with social distancing.”
Check out the interview here:
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