Large crowds flock to Alabama beaches again as state eases virus restrictions

Published 7:24 am Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Large crowds have returned to Alabama beaches as the state loosened restrictions on restaurants and social gatherings.

WKRG-TV reports that beaches are seeing large crowds. Alabama beaches opened this month after being closed for six weeks. The state last week allowed restaurants to reopen dining rooms if social distancing measures were being followed.

“Each weekend has gotten bigger than the one before,” said Herb Malone with Gulf Shores/Orange Beach Tourism.

Malone said hotel and condo rentals are seeing big numbers for this time of year.

“Some businesses reporting in that they were right at a 100 percent for their occupancy,” Malone said.

He said the tourism industry is looking forward to a good Memorial Day weekend.

“People have been cooped up inside for two months so getting a little stir crazy,” said Louisiana resident Sandy Wiggins as she sat out on the Alabama beach.

Alabama last week allowed on-site restaurant dining to resume, another boost for tourism.

Lulu’s restaurant, the massive beach restaurant owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister, seated more than 100 guests in the first 30 minutes, WKRG reported.

“The tables are stretched out a little bit. All of our servers are in masks and anybody bring food to you — they are going to try to keep a little distance. We’re adhering to the governor’s recommendations and we are taking temperatures of our servers before they come in,” Lucy Buffett told the station.

As of Monday, more than 12,000 people in the state had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and about 480 people statewide had died.