COVID-19 doesn’t have to stop Labor Day celebrations, health experts said this week. But with more than 6.2 million Americans infected with the virus and a death toll of 188,538 from the disease, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, the festivities should look a lot different this year. To avoid outbreaks, experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said people should continue to keep distance, wear masks and avoid groups as they enjoy the weekend.
“We don’t want to see a repeat of the surges that we have seen following other holiday weekends,” Fauci said, referring to the outbreaks that followed Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. “We don’t want to see a surge under any circumstances, but particularly as we go on the other side of Labor Day and enter into the fall.”
Still, many gathered in large groups on Saturday. In San Francisco, city officials announced on Sunday morning they would be closing the parking lot at Ocean Beach after a gathering celebrating Burning Man culture attracted a big crowd. More than 1,000 people flocked to the event at the beach, according to San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who called the gathering “reckless and selfish.”
Throngs of people are expected at Tybee Island beaches in Georgia over the weekend, CNN affiliate WTOC reported. And images from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, show umbrellas lined up side by side down the beach.
In Pennsylvania, the amusement park Kennywood was expected to have its busiest weekend of the season, CNN affiliate KDKA reported.
And in Atlanta, many weekend Labor Day parties were on the schedule, including “The Biggest Labor Day Weekend Party in the City” hosted by rapper Gucci Mane and a “Sunday Funday” rooftop party advertised with an image of people standing close together, some without masks.
Fauci pleaded with Americans before the weekend to keep gatherings small and outside, and he said he would be spending the weekend on a hike with his spouse.