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'Don't go to the beach': Philly health official warns not to travel to Jersey shore for Memorial Day weekend due to COVID-19

'You may have gone to the beach every Memorial Day weekend for years, but this is not the time to do that'

Image source: KYW-TV video screenshot

If you're from Philadelphia, you don't go "to the beach" — you go "down the shore."

And one of the time-honored traditions in the City of Brotherly Love is the annual trek over Memorial Day weekend to popular New Jersey coastal destinations such as Ocean City, Wildwood, Cape May, and Stone Harbor.

Image source: KYW-TV video screenshot

But due to the coronavirus, the city's health commissioner is warning Philly residents not to make the trip this year.

What are the details?

"Don't go to the beach," Dr. Thomas Farley said, according to KYW-TV. "We're not recommending people go to the beach this weekend. It is true that being outdoors is probably less risk than being close to people indoors, but if you go into crowds anywhere, there's risks."

Farley added, "We understand the draw, it's very tempting. You may have gone to the beach every Memorial Day weekend for years, but this is not the time to do that. Let's wait until the case counts are lower for it to be safer," the station reported.

What are other officials saying?

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney told KYW he's concerned residents who venture to the boardwalks and sand and surf this weekend could bring the virus back to the city.

"South Jersey does what South Jersey does," Kenney, a Democrat, told the station. "It's going to affect us because people are going to go to the beach this weekend, they're going to congregate with people in too close proximity, then they're going to drive back home to Philadelphia and perhaps give the virus to somebody in their family."

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, also a Democrat, said he's "not sure why the governors of Maryland and New Jersey have opened their beaches, but they have," KYW reported. Wolf added, "I wouldn't go to the beach," the station said.

Image source: KYW-TV video screenshot

In a recent media briefing, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy — another Democrat who's been prominently aggressive against those who violate his social distancing executive orders — seemed sympathetic to those who want to head to the beach.

"The weather gets better, and your cabin fever is up, who can blame anybody for wanting to break free ... and we all want to do that, too, but please, please, please do it responsibly, stay away from each other, and wear something on your face to protect not just you but to protect the folks around you," Murphy said.

Murphy's office told KYW there are no restrictions for out-of-state visitors at New Jersey's beaches, boardwalks, or lakes.

Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron told the station he's not actively encouraging out-of-staters to come down the shore this weekend but understands many plan to just that.

"The forecast isn't so great, and frankly, even if it was, there isn't as many activities for the people to take advantage of as a typical Memorial Day weekend," Byron added to KYW. "Really, if you are going to come to the shore this weekend, you've got the beach if the weather is nice, and the boardwalk is nothing more than a place to walk or grab a slice of pizza."

One last thing…
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