Sun worshippers jammed newly-opened beaches in Florida Saturday at the same time demonstrators crowded the Texas Capitol building demanding an end to coronavirus restrictions.
Beaches in some Florida towns were filled with those trying to cure their cabin fever by walking on the sand, swimming or fishing — but stationary sunbathing in a chair or hanging out with a cooler was still prohibited.
In Jacksonville, crowds flocked to the beach as soon they were opened Friday night. Hundreds were seen swimming and strolling on the sand, many not wearing masks. Images of people flocking to Florida beaches Friday had the hashtag #floridamorons trending on Twitter Saturday.
The state’s death toll from the coronavirus climbed past 700.
The easing of some restrictions in Texas was not enough to hold off protesters who converged on Austin. Some chanted “Let us work!” at the rally organized by “Infowars” host Owen Shroyer.
Texas residents will be allowed to return to state parks Monday and retailers can reopen but only for pick up or delivery. Hospitals will be able to resume non-essential surgeries.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the state’s opening had to occur in stages and named a panel of medical and economic experts to help plan it.
The state has seen more than 18,200 cases of COVID-19 and at least 453 deaths.
In Minnesota, golfers rushed to the links after Gov. Tim Walz re-opened some parks and shooting ranges.
“We went from shelter-in-place to full-go mode in about 10 minutes,” golf pro Don Berry told the StarTribune newspaper. “The phone has just been ringing off the hook.”
Minnesota has had 121 deaths from the virus.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers said golf courses would be open. More than 200 people there have died from the bug.
Mississippi, which has seen 140 deaths, is relaxing some rules beginning Monday, allowing some retailers like clothing stores and florists to open for delivery or curbside pickup.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US stood at 694,296 Friday with 31,456 deaths.