OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Thousands of people traveled to Ocean City, Maryland, for a Memorial Day weekend vacation, and despite some concerns over social distancing, many visitors said they are glad they made the trip.
“People need to be careful, but at the same time, it’s nice to be outside and enjoy the summer. You can’t be cooped up in your house all the time,” said Shawn Gregory, who traveled from southern Maryland to spend time at his Ocean City condo. “People are socially distancing, wearing masks inside of stores.”READ MORE: Two Days After Mandate Went Into Effect, The Vaccination Status Of Thousands Of City Employees Remains Unknown
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Nice weather led numerous visitors to hit the boardwalk on Saturday. Temperatures around 20 degrees cooler kept crowds at bay on Sunday.
On Memorial Day, there were still plenty of visitors in town, including veteran Lou Everett, who spent the day enjoying some beach staples.
“Ice cream, soda pop and French fries — you can’t beat that,” Everett said while enjoying some Thrasher’s fries on a boardwalk bench. ” think it will be back to normal pretty soon.”
While some wore masks and kept their distance, others crowded around bus stops this weekend. And with bars closed, some late-night partying moved to hotel rooms where people watched friends do burnouts on Baltimore Avenue.
Carry-out alcohol sales are legal, but police remind people that drinking on public streets is not.
For many business owners, it’s been rough compared to holiday weekends before the pandemic.READ MORE: Jonathan & Diana Toebbe Plead Not Guilty To Espionage Charges
“It’s really crippling Ocean City. A lot of my friends are going to lose their businesses,” Shawn Harman, the owner of Fish Tales, said as he walked through what would normally be a full restaurant and bar.
“There’s not as many people here… We have a lot more people working for a lot less money coming in,” he added.
Harman is keeping the business afloat with dockside carry-out at his marina, and he is looking at innovative ideas like inflatable tube socially-distanced tables on wheels developed by the Baltimore company Revolution Events and Planning.
“They were throwing ideas around to try to salvage something out of the lockdown, and that’s what they came up with,” he said.
Video of the tube tables went viral online — seen by millions — giving Fish Tales worldwide publicity.
“Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought that,” Harman said. “The whole idea was to just have some fun. It put a whole lot of smiles on a whole lot of faces, and it certainly got us more publicity than we could ever imagine.”
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Ocean City’s mayor has asked Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to allow outdoor dining at restaurants, which is currently prohibited.
If you head to Ocean City, remember masks are encouraged but not mandatory on the beach and boardwalk and crowds of ten or more are banned.MORE NEWS: State Agencies Say Labor Shortages Are Impacting Processing Times For Unemployment Claims