Thousands storm Alabama beach, no masks in sight

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(CNN/WFLA) – Despite some measures put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, many Americans hit the beach over Memorial Day weekend to mark the unofficial beginning of summer.

The holiday weekend push for a return to normal life comes as health officials continue to warn that the US has not contained the virus.

So far, more than 1.6 million Americans have been infected and at least 98,223 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

In 10 states, the number of new cases is on the decline, while it seems to be steady in 22 states, according to the data.

But in 18 states, including Alabama, the number of cases in rising. However, that didn’t seem to be a concern for thousands of beachgoers who spent the weekend in Gulf Shores.

Social distancing is the state’s rule, but that effort has often been an exercise in futility at restaurants and bars in beach towns as people come back to party.

“I’m just here to have fun and meet everybody. And be cool, you know,” said one customer.

Across the street, the beach is jammed packed. Groups must be six feet apart, and police are working to enforce that. They must also consist of people who live in the same household, but there is no active effort to enforce that.

“I mean, everybody has to go somehow, you know what I mean?” beachgoer Baylee Carr, 21, said when speaking to CNN’s Gary Tuchman.

“You mean die?” Tuchman asked.

“Yeah. I mean in a way I don’t want to die. But if that’s what God has in store for my life, well that’s okay,” Carr continued.

“My family has the same mindset as me and we kind of just agreed that if we get it, we get it, and we’re going to handle it as a family and we’ll just get over it. Because that’s what a family does,” said another beachgoer.

“Just like the flu, right?” another woman asked Tuchman.

“No, its not like the flu. This is far more contagious, and far more deadly,” Tuchman responded.

“Well, people die from the flu also,” the woman said.

“They do die from the flu,” Tuchman replied.

“So to me, that’s just the way I look at it,” the woman added.

And then there is the issue of masks. Tuchman said he saw zero masks being worn on the beach, and that President Trump might have something to do with it.

“I mean, if he’s not wearing a mask, I’m not going to wear a mask! If he’s not worried, I’m not worried,” a beachgoer said, referring to Trump.

Alabama has mandated masks for restaurant and bar workers. Some have them, employees at others were not wearing masks.

One restaurant manager told CNN they will continue not wearing masks because she wants it that way, despite it violating the state order.

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