PHOTOGRAPHS of Memorial Day crowds from years past show just how much life in the US has changed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Traditionally, Americans flock to beaches, gather at backyard barbecues and unfurl picnic blankets in parks.
But this year, celebrations have been marred by COVID-19.
Cases in the US continue to rise and the death toll is expected to pass 100,000 in the coming days.
It’s forced many Americans to spend Memorial Day 2020 indoors, a starkly different way to celebrate the unofficial start of summer than most are used to.
Coney Island, Brooklyn, normally packed with crowds on Memorial Day Weekend, has been an eerie site this year, with swimming, gatherings and sport not allowed on the beach, and social distancing being enforced by the NYPD.
But photos from throughout the decades show barely an inch of spare space on the sand, with groups squashed close together in and out of the water, with no need to social distance.
Seaside Heights, New Jersey, has long been a favored Memorial Day destination. Photos taken on May 26, 2019, show the boardwalk packed with revelers who didn’t have to worry about wearing a mask.
An image taken of the U.S. Naval Academy graduating class of 2001 on Memorial Day of that year shows men and women throwing up their hats at the end of the commencement exercise in Annapolis, Maryland.
Even the worst thing about Memorial Day – crowded airports and train stations as people get away for the weekend – seems novel post-coronavirus.
Images of busy Penn Station and Grand Central in New York in years past show just how different life is in the US in 2020.
But not everyone is staying inside and reminiscing about years past.
Across the US, there have been reports of overcrowded beaches, lakes and parks, as scores of Americans headed outdoors after weeks of stay at home orders.
Restaurants in Florida were full, popular hiking spots in California were shut down due to thousands of walkers hitting the trails, and influxes of beachgoers prompted officials to close a whole island in Michigan.
In Arizona, holiday travelers flooded Interstate-17, causing a 15-mile backup on the roadway used for access to some of the desert’s most beautiful canyons, the Arizona Department of Transportation said.
The department announced five new recreation area closures, thanks to the crowd.
In Detroit, Belle Isle was shut to avoid overcrowding after hordes of Americans packed parking lots.
Violence erupted on Daytona Beach in Florida, with at least six shots fired on Saturday.
More than 1.6 million people in the US have tested have tested positive for coronavirus, which has killed more than 96,000 nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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