Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Ocean City, Maryland has lifted its beach and boardwalk restrictions on May 9 and expired its lodging curtailment on May 14. On May 15, the state of Maryland officially switched from a stay-at-home order to a safe-at-home order, which meant the popular eastern coastal town would be able to partially be open for business for Memorial Day Weekend.
While Maryland continues to limit gatherings to a maximum of 10 people, based on the photos and videos shared on social from the Ocean City boardwalk this weekend, this preventative guideline was disregarded by beachgoers. With the sun out and weather in the high 60s, huge crowds descended upon Ocean City for the holiday weekend.
TODAY: Ocean City, Maryland. A packed boardwalk and NOT one person wearing a mask. TRAGIC.
— Peter Morley (@morethanmySLE) May 24, 2020
Ocean City Police’s Ashley Miller told CBS Baltimore, “We have officers on horseback, foot patrol and vehicle patrol. If we do see groups of ten or more, we remind them that it is a violation of the governor’s order. Depending on the situation, we would determine what kind of action would be taken.”
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) May 23, 2020
Preparing for an influx of visitors, Ocean City lifeguards returned to work on Saturday, May 23, and beachgoers were encouraged to “keep your feet in the sand until the lifeguard’s in the stand,” according to Delmarva Now.
Even though Ocean City posted yellow signs along the boardwalk with a message to stay 6 feet apart per the CDC’s guidelines, visitors seemed unbothered by the warning.
Coronavirus Numbers Spiked In Maryland Over Memorial Day Weekend
NEW 5/24: @MDHealthDept is reporting 46,313 confirmed cases of #COVIDー19 in #Maryland.
+818 cases since yesterday
+32 deaths; 115 probable deaths; 2,162 total deaths
-30 change in hospitalizations
-21 change in ICU beds in use @wmar2news #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/fcpCwozEpa
— Mallory Sofastaii WMAR (@mal_sofastaii) May 24, 2020
While the excitement of returning to a semblance of normalcy seems to outweigh the risks of not social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak, the numbers of those infected with COVID-19 continued to rise throughout the holiday weekend.
According to the Baltimore Sun, as of Saturday, May 23, Maryland saw 1,071 new cases of coronavirus since Friday. While the number of hospitalizations required saw a continued decline, state officials announced 38 more people died due to coronavirus complications.
In total, COVID-19 in Maryland has taken the lives os 2,130 people, a number officials expect will become higher once hundreds of more posthumous laboratory results come in.
Focusing on the number of Maryland citizens needing to be hospitalized from COVID-19 going down, Governor Larry Hogan was encouraged to start Phase 1 of reopening the state. He said, “Some people think we’re moving too fast and some people think we’re moving too slow, so it’s probably the right move,” Hogan said.
A new, interactive map of #COVID19 testing sites is now available from the @MDHealthDept. Users can find nearby testing locations and learn more about their hours and appointment policies. More sites will be added in the weeks to come.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) May 23, 2020
In an effort to making COVID-19 testing more readily available, Hogan announced the launch of an interactive map to help Maryland residents find testing sites and make appointments online.
According to CBS Baltimore, the number of people who’ve tested positive coronavirus in Maryland has topped 45,000. While residents are encouraged to wear face masks, they are not required, which is why so many beachgoers over the weekend were not seen wearing protective gear on their faces.