MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – After a long holiday weekend, there’s a question looming in the Tampa Bay area after crowds packed local beaches. Will the crowds contribute to the community spread of COVID-19?
One of the areas of Tampa Bay that saw big crowds is John’s Pass in Madeira Beach where local businesses were grateful to see their stores and restaurants packed.
Both locals and tourists alike were pleased to see the extra steps taken to keep people safe.
“There’s hand sanitizer everywhere, I see the girls in the jewelry shop washing the counter as soon as someone steps away. They’re protecting their business by protecting us,” said Jessica Lenore from Lakeland.
Packed during a pandemic, the Labor Day crowds were certainly on full display during the holiday. Locals tell us with Florida ranked as a major hot spot, they think about safety quite often.
The best way to be safe, they say? Be smart.
“If you just practice common sense, stay in open areas as much as you can, you should be safe,” Lenore added.
Just before a massive rainstorm came late Monday, beaches were especially packed with many hoping it would be safe when it comes to the spread of coronavirus.
“We’re a big supporter of everybody. We’re still going out to eat. We’re going to all our places. We’re just taking care of people. That’s what we do,” said local, Jim McCullagh.
Prior to the final holiday of the summer, doctors admit they were already worried about a post-holiday spike.
Some who were visiting the beach for the holiday say they won’t stop living their lives.
“If I get it, I get it, move on,” said Jim McCullagh. “I’m tired of it.”
The tourist from Bangor, Maine told 8 On Your Side he was prepared to take his chances – pandemic or not.
“If I was worried about it, I wouldn’t have come from Maine to come here. We’ve got to get back to normal,” McCullagh said.
Doctors say they remain worried about a spike in cases over the next few weeks, although they have pointed out they don’t expect it to be as nearly bad as Memorial Day weekend at the beginning of the pandemic.
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