Beach trip and barbecue? This Memorial Day, think again.
State and local officials are urging Massachusetts residents to play it safe over the holiday weekend as the coronavirus rages on, pleading for people to stay off seashores and eschew large gatherings where the highly contagious disease can easily spread.
“I have major concerns with that, because we’re still in the very early stages of this pandemic,” Mayor Martin Walsh said. “I’m personally asking people: Don’t be hanging out on the beach. If you go for walks, practice social distancing, physical distancing, and don’t be playing volleyball on the beach, things like that.”
Officials hope the revelry that typically accompanies the unofficial start to summer will be muted this year, with the state’s “safer at home” advisory limiting gatherings to fewer than 10 people.
But they’re still weighing enforcement.
“Honestly, our police department … their job shouldn’t have to be going around explaining to people something they already know,” Walsh said.
Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo is casting a worried eye at the 3-mile stretch of sandy shore in his city where hundreds of thousands of people could potentially gather. When beaches officially reopen Monday, people will need to wear masks and groups will need to stay at least 12 feet apart. Organized games like volleyball are not allowed.
The city has been trying to curb potential gatherings by reminding residents of the true purpose of the holiday — to honor those who served.
“If you want to do something to remember veterans, stay home and enjoy yourself and you don’t have to have a big party,” Arrigo said.
Memorial Day also marks the start of the Cape Cod tourism season. State Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, is imploring visitors to follow the rules on what he expects will be a quieter holiday weekend than normal.
“This isn’t some sort of Big Brother edict here. We’re just asking you to follow commonsense guidelines,” Cyr said. “That’s going to allow us to keep our communities safe and allow us to reopen sooner.”
State Police will also “have a strong presence” on the roads, spokesman David Procopio said.
“Honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation by being mindful of the safety of others,” he said. “Practice social distancing, follow the mask order, don’t drive impaired, and obey speed limits and other traffic laws.”