Sweltering crowds throng to beaches for Labor Day weekend, despite pandemic worries

As Labor Day brings the close of an unusually quiet tourism season, beaches across the United States are drawing in major crowds, mostly unhindered by threats of the coronavirus pandemic and heat waves in some parts of the country. 

Many of the U.S.’s most popular beaches in Florida, California and on the Jersey Shore saw high traffic over the weekend and through Monday, while others, such as some in Hawaii, shut down to get ahead of visitors potentially spreading the virus. 

As of Monday, the U.S. continues to lead the world with the most coronavirus cases: more than 6.2 million total cases and nearly 189,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data. 

Daytona Beach, Florida

Labor Day weekend in Daytona Beach kicked off with sunny skies, not a cloud in sight, temperatures in the low 90s and lines of lifted trucks waiting to drive on what’s billed as the World’s Most Famous Beach. 

By 10 a.m. Saturday, the beaches were filled with locals and visitors, many arriving for the Daytona Truck Meet. Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue closed down several beach ramps because of the crowds. By noon, lifted trucks filled with people stuffed into the cabs and beds lined State Road A1A, waiting to get to the ramps that were still open.

“We have been extremely busy all morning with parking, making sure everyone only parks at a post due to social distancing,” said Capt. Tamra Malphurs of the beach patrol.

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