- As the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, affected countries and cities are imposing sweeping measures to limit public gatherings and encourage social distancing.
- Despite recommendations to shelter in place and limit nonessential travel, people are flocking to parks, beaches, and popular hiking trails, prompting stricter regulations.
- On March 16, President Trump said that Americans should avoid gathering in groups of 10 or more people to help curb the spread of the virus.
- Other countries, such as Italy, France, and Greece, have issued nationwide lockdowns.
- On March 19, California became the first state to issue a stay-at-home order, encouraging residents to avoid all nonessential travel and stay at least 6 feet away from others if out in public. Other states, including New York and Illinois, have followed suit.
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Locals and spring breakers flocked to Clearwater Beach in Florida on March 17. Five days later, the popular destination closed to visitors for two weeks. Florida has not yet issued a statewide stay-at-home order, leaving beach closures up to counties.
Partiers gathered for boat raft-ups in Boca Raton, Florida, this past weekend, prompting Palm Beach County to shut down boat ramps, marinas, and all recreational boating on March 22 until further notice.
While Lake Boca Raton has always served as a social gathering spot for many boaters, and will again, now is not the time for parties and tie ups on the water. Please be patient, and do your part, so we can all get through this together.
— City of Boca Raton (@CityBocaRaton) March 22, 2020
City of Boca Raton
Despite California’s stay-at-home order, residents flocked to Huntington Beach in Los Angeles to enjoy sunny weather on March 21.
Los Angeles Times
On March 22, Los Angeles closed city parks and parking at city beaches. “This weekend we saw too many people packing beaches, trails and parks,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted.
Mayor Eric Garcetti
New York City residents gathered in Central Park the day that New York’s stay-at-home order went into effect. On March 22, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the city a 24-hour deadline to figure out how to lessen crowding in parks.
New York Post
An influx of visitors to Marin, California, known for its early spring wildflowers, prompted the county to close down 18,000 acres of parks effective March 22.
We understand the communities’ frustration with the LARGE amount of people traveling to the Coast today and NOT adhering to the Shelter Order.
The influx of people is putting our vulnerable residents at risk.
— Marin County Fire (@marincountyfire) March 22, 2020
Phoenix residents headed outside in droves this past weekend, crowding trailheads. Arizona has not yet issued a stay-at-home order but has closed down bars and limited restaurants to takeout and delivery, among other measures.
Others like Papago Park are packed to the brim. I saw numerous people help others up the rock, hug, etc. pic.twitter.com/q2xYYtBqlH
— Patrick Breen ???? (@pjbreenphoto) March 22, 2020
Thousands of cherry-blossom sightseers walked around the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, on March 21. On March 22, DC closed down streets and traffic circles near the basin to limit the number of visitors.
Crowds enjoyed cherry blossoms in Tokyo on March 22, despite the government’s recommendation that residents avoid traditional picnic-style viewing parties this year.
Channel News Asia
Locals in Thessaloniki, Greece, flocked to a seaside promenade on March 16, ignoring social-distancing directives. On March 22, the country imposed a nationwide lockdown, restricting all nonessential travel and gatherings.
Hundreds of Australians gathered at popular Bondi Beach in Sydney on March 20 despite the country’s ban outdoor gatherings of 500 people or more. On March 21, police closed the beach after Australia’s health minister called the crowds “unacceptable.”