Beachgoers celebrate Independence Day despite coronavirus

Andrew Hyman
Updated: July 04, 2020 08:12 PM
Created: July 04, 2020 07:05 PM

ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) – The coronavirus is not keeping the Fourth of July beach crowds from enjoying the sun and the fun in the sand.

Oliver Brown was sitting in a lawn chair in the grass at Ontario Beach Park in Charlotte. 


“I’m just relaxing, you get a day off, it's July 4th," said Brown.

It was the same scene a few miles away at Durand Eastman Beach. Even as swimming technically remained off-limits there, people still turned out to spend time on the water or at picnics in the grass.

"We’re enjoying it, this all my family here," said Maria Nela.

No matter which beach people spent the day at, there were other restrictions in place. For starters, beaches can't let in more than 50 percent capacity in order to promote proper physical distance. This includes keeping people spaced out in the sand.

At Hamlin Beach State Park, for example, officials closed the park after it reached its capacity

In addition, New York State is currently asking travelers from certain states to quarantine for 14 days before showing up to the beaches.

At Durand, though, not everyone was pleased with what they saw.

"I probably was here for maybe like 10 minutes tops,” said Chavonne Kouassi. ”There's no space on the beach to lay any kind of towel down or stay socially distant."

Back over at Ontario Beach, people we talked to told us they felt okay being out around the crowds.

"It feels like a safer place than if we were to go inside, or a place where we are corralled and we're all really close together," said Daniele Brown.

"It could be crowded all at once, if I’m going to be distant then I can distance myself regardless of how many people are here,” said Oliver Brown. “It's a big beach, if it gets too crowded, I can move somewhere that I can be six feet away from you."

Nearby, Rochester police were keeping a close watch, aiming both to prevent possible violence but also keep crowds in control.

City leaders told us Friday they're not out to give tickets for violations. Instead, they say the goal is to educate.

"It is what it is, this is the new normal," Kouassi said.

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