Socially distant Memorial Day Weekend kicks off in Rehoboth Beach
REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – Memorial Day Weekend is officially here in Rehoboth Beach, but this isn’t an ordinary memorial day weekend, with hundreds of people wearing masks and social distancing while sunbathing in the sand.
“It’s just enough people to give people space and a lot of people are doing that, they’re being proactive, and the beach is not very crowded,” Kent Buckson, Captain of the Rehoboth Beach Patrol, said.
Captain Buckson says part of his team’s job this weekend is enforcing the mandatory mask rule on the boardwalk. But he says the crowd has made that relatively easy.
“People are obviously doing the right thing on the boardwalk, it’s required to have your mask while you’re on the boardwalk, the beach is optional,” Captain Buckson said.
Mayor Paul Kuhns says he’s impressed by the cooperation of beach-goers, but that it wouldn’t be possible without the educational resources provided by the state.
“The state was generous with municipalities across the state with signs, they gave us a number of signs, stickers for windows in the shops, to point out what needs to be done to use the beach responsibly,” Mayor Kuhns said.
As for local businesses, they’re happy to have their doors open and welcome customers with restrictions in place.
“Usually on Memorial Day Weekend we have a whole line of people here, and it’s less but we are having some people coming in, so that’s something positive that is happening,” Mel Damascena, owner of The Coffee Mill, said.
And while it’s not the Memorial Day Weekend many of us are used to, Rehoboth Beach officials say it’s the start to a summer we can all still enjoy.
“There was a lot of nervousness about what was going to happen, how people were going to react, so it’s a good step forward, it’s a baby step, but it’s a good step forward,” Captain Buckson said.
The short term rental ban and the mandatory 14-day quarantine for out of state travelers is still in effect in Delaware. That, of course, brought a smaller crowd than normal, but officials say they’re happy to welcome beach-goers back to the place they’ve all missed so much.