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Beach goers pack Virginia Beach on Memorial Day weekend

Posted at 10:27 PM, May 23, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The sun, sand and surf remain the same, but this Memorial Day weekend is unlike any other.

“I think people should have sunscreen and hand sanitizer,” said Rasheed Bennett of Richmond.

Virginia Beach was packed with people Saturday who were itching to get out of their homes and into the sun. Virginia Beach's beaches reopened to the public Friday with new guidelines, including no big coolers, no speakers and enforced social distancing.

“It feels great,” said Lesa Arthur of Manassas. “The weather’s good especially out here by the water.”

Lesa Arthur and her husband Thierry drove to the beach from northern Virginia where they haven’t even started Phase One of reopening.

“COVID, it’s real but you cannot be scared for your life,” Thierry Arthur said.

Larger than life signs in the sand near the entrance of the beach are meant to remind everyone to social distance, limit large groups and wear a mask on the boardwalk.

"I noticed a lot of people aren’t wearing masks I’m also not which is pretty bad but I’m also pretty far apart from everybody," said Miranda Russell of Hampton.

Masks are not required on the beach, but they’re recommended if you can’t stay at least 6 feet apart. Many of the beach goers at the beach were not wearing masks.

“People are not really trying to care about themselves, or their safety or other people’s safety because nobody’s really been six feet out here as you can see,” said Bennett. “No one is really six feet apart.”

Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Virginia) stopped by the beach Saturday afternoon. He was also seen not wearing a mask.

Northam said social distancing is going well and said, for the most part, people are respecting the guidelines.

“We’re not out here with a stick, we’re really out here with a carrot. We want people to enjoy our beaches, but we want them to do it safely,” he said. “It’s all about flattening that curve.”

As far as reopening the rest of the region’s beaches, the governor did not have an exact timeline on that, but added it’ll happen if it’s done safely.