Families from all over the country packed Gulf Shores Beach this Memorial Day weekend and COVID-19 was the last thing on their minds.
Beachgoer Patricia Patton said she and her family really enjoyed being at the beach and spending time together.
“We just sit out here and burn, get burnt. and play in the water. And I like to collect seashells, I’ve been out there hunting seashells. And he likes riding the waves, my grandson does,” Patton said.
“Me and the little one, we built us a sandcastle hole, which today is our last day, and we always do something like that before we leave,” beachgoer Vincent Dupree said.
People said even though they were focused on fun in the sun, most beachgoers were considerate and followed social distancing guidelines.
“It was absolutely fabulous. It looks like America’s opening up. 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. We didn’t run into anyone that was trying to get up closer than six-to-seven feet,” beachgoer Steve Ricks said.
Patton said she felt very safe and saw police and other enforcement officials patrolling often.
“As you see, I don’t have a mask on and I feel very safe. There’s nobody that has been near me or in my space at all,” Patton said.
Besides the extra distance, people said it felt like any other holiday weekend down at the beach.
“We are shocked because I don’t even know if we’re going to be able to get a hotel room because we didn’t think everyone would come out because of the coronavirus,” beachgoer Rodney Schexnayder said.
Ricks said the traffic was exactly what they expected for a holiday weekend.
“We were coming in from Foley, and it was a 45-minute drive just to get here. Normally it’s 15 minutes, so lots of traffic on the road coming into the beach,” Ricks said.
If you do head out to the beach to enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend, officials want people to continue to social distance and not gather in large crowds.