Labor Day weekend ends with packed beaches despite COVID-19 concerns

Pandemic doesn't spoil the summer for visitors to the beach

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - New Hanover County beaches were packed over Labor Day weekend as many tried to enjoy these last few days of summer.

Many visitors and locals say they’re still be cautious when it comes to the coronavirus, but still want to enjoy their time at the beach.

“We’re all social distanced,” said Ellie Barewolf, visiting from Raleigh. “But it’s still a good time. Making friends, having fun.”

Those sentiments shared by many including Michael and Rebecca Beard. The couple visits Carolina Beach often from their full-time home in Richmond, Virginia.

“I would say this is the only place I can come that feels normal to me still,” said Michael. “I’ve been able to come out here all summer, come out on the beach, and still feel like when I’m here, I’m not in the middle of a pandemic. That’s what I love about this area.”

Freeman Park hit capacity both Saturday and Sunday due to crowds, but remained open all day Monday.

“It was more crowded yesterday,” said Joseph Hutcherson, a Freeman Park pass holder and Wilmington resident. “Being Sunday, I think a lot of people on Monday are leaving.”

Those who decided to visit the beach on Labor Day, say they’re keeping their distance from others.

“We keep our distance from everybody,” said Will Dawkins who just moved to Raleigh from Florida. “I don’t want to be up in everybody’s faces.”

The holiday weekend causing concerns for another spike in COVID-19 cases like we saw after Memorial Day weekend. Health experts urged everyone to celebrate the holiday weekend safely without gathering in large groups.

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