Memorial Day weekend draws crowds and triggers warnings

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DPA

Chairs stand with the prescribed safety distance on a beach of G'hren on the island of R'gen, Mecklenburg-Western, Germany, Friday, May 22, 2020. After the shutdown as a coronavirus protection measure in mid-March, the tourism industry in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is starting again step by step. From May 25, 2020 guests from other federal states will again be allowed to travel to the north-east. (Jens B'ttner/dpa via AP)

NEW YORK – The Memorial Day weekend marking the unofficial start of summer in the U.S. meant big crowds at beaches and warnings from authorities Sunday about people disregarding the coronavirus social-distancing rules and risking a resurgence of the scourge that has killed nearly 100,000 Americans.

Meanwhile, the White House broadened its travel ban against countries hard hit by the virus by saying it would deny admission to foreigners who have recently been in Brazil.

Sheriff's deputies and beach patrols tried to make sure people kept their distance from others as they soaked up the rays on the sand and at parks and other recreation sites around the country.

In the Tampa area along Florida's Gulf Coast, the crowds were so big that authorities took the extraordinary step of closing parking lots because they were full.

On the Sunday talk shows, Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said she was “very concerned” about scenes of people crowding together over the weekend.

“We really want to be clear all the time that social distancing is absolutely critical. And if you can’t social distance and you’re outside, you must wear a mask,” she said on ABC's “This Week.”

In Missouri, people packed bars and restaurants at the Lake of the Ozarks, a vacation spot popular with Chicagoans, over the weekend. One video showed a crammed pool where vacationers lounged close together without masks, St. Louis station KMOV-TV reported.

In Daytona Beach, Florida, gunfire erupted Saturday night along a beachside road where more than 200 people had gathered and were seen partying and dancing despite the restrictions. Several people were wounded and taken to the hospital, authorities said.