comScore Crowds Make 'Mad Dash' to Reopened Jacksonville, Florida Beach

WATCH Crowds Make ‘Mad Dash’ Onto Reopened Florida Beach, Flout Social Distancing Rules

A CNN report from Jacksonville, Florida captured a “mad dash” of crowds that accompanied the reopening of that city’s beach — offering a part-hopeful and part-ominous preview of what could happen when more of country emerges from its self-imposed coronavirus lockdown.

Speaking with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper on Friday night, reporter Randi Kaye showed footage of locals literally lined up at the edge of the sand, and then rushing toward the water when officially allowed back onto the beach.

“It was a mad dash here for the ocean. Once police gave the all-clear, all the people who had been lined up in the streets waiting to get to the beach when it opened today at 5:00 p.m., flooded the area,” Kaye explained. “Biking, running, swimming, surfing. Fishing some of them. Lot of people brought their dogs. As if they had been cooped up for years. That’s how they were behaving when it had only been about a month, because they first closed this beach March 20th.”

The beach, Kaye added, is not open completely. The mayor of Jacksonville has limited its use to 6:00 to 11:00 in the morning and 5:00 to 8:00 in the evening.

“I asked people what it was like to be back on the beach today,” Kaye noted. “We also asked them if they saw any social distancing, because from what we could see, there wasn’t a lot of that going on.”

One man answered “No, sadly” when Kaye asked if he thought people were still adhering to coronavirus mitigation efforts on the beach. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t last very long,” he added. “But I’m just hoping people are smart about it and just try to stay as far apart as they can, not ruin it for the rest of us.”

“It’s great. We live just over there, waiting for this day to happen,” another local man told Kaye. “Now I just hope that it’ll stay open. There’s so many people just standing around, so close together. I don’t know whether it’s good thing or bad thing, but can’t be worse than golf course or grocery store.”

Kaye went on to note very few people were wearing masks and that she only saw one instance of social distancing rules being enforced, when a police officer shooed off a couple that had been laying next to each other on the beach with a cooler.

“It didn’t feel like there was any hint that we were in the middle of a pandemic,” Kaye summed up.

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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