A Memorial Day with no sunbathing, no gathering for Peninsula beachgoers

Virginia Politics

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — No sun and very little traditional fun.

That’s the way Memorial Day got started for people on Buckroe Beach in Hampton.

Because of the pandemic, the beach remains closed to all the activities we normally associate with a summer holiday by the water.

Instead of saving lives, for lifeguard Andy McCarthy, it’s running people off who wanted to plop down and enjoy a Memorial Day on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

He lets them know the protocol for Memorial Day 2020: No gathering. No pets. Walking and jogging only.

Virginia Beach was allowed to reopen its beaches starting last Friday if it followed a reopening plan it submitted to Gov. Ralph Northam, but all other beaches in the state remain closed to anything except exercise and fishing.

“Some people like to argue that there’s really no reason to have a beach closed. Other people like to get pretty upset and say some not-so-nice things,” McCarthy said. “For the most part, they disagree with what the governor has to say.”

But Mitch Walls sees the need for restrictions.

“People need to be careful. From my perspective, I don’t think people are taking this very seriously,” he said.

Current affairs don’t seem to bother Jan Fletcher. He’s taking advantage of a blustery weekend regardless of the political winds, pulling on two controlling lines that enable his kite to dip and dart in the breeze.

“Yesterday was actually superb for flying, a little cold but the wind was consistent,” he said.

And Tia Sheppard says on a typical Memorial Day, she’d be out there soaking up the sun and socializing on the sand. But on this day when the mercury struggled to hit 70, she’s cool with the restrictions.

“It’s an adjustment, it’s always an adjustment since the beginning of COVID,” she said. “So I just deal with it.”

State officials say they will take a look at what Virginia Beach is doing with its modified re-opening and if that turns out to be successful, Hampton could be doing the same thing at Buckroe in the near future.

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