Beachgoers defend heading to Alabama beach over holiday weekend


Beachgoers in Gulf Shores, Ala., defended their decision to take to the beach over Memorial Day weekend in a now-viral clip.

CNN’s Gary Tuchman interviewed beachgoers in the Alabama city as area police sought to enforce social distancing between groups on the crowded shore. 

One woman told the outlet: “I mean everybody’s got to go somehow, you know what I mean?

“In a way, I don’t want to die, but I mean, if that’s what God has in store for my life, then that’s okay,” she continued.

There were no beachgoers wearing masks, CNN reported. Tuchman said in the Monday report that the Gulf Shores Police Department said it had issued no arrests over individuals violating coronavirus precautions, although it had issued “several warnings.”  

One man told Tuchman, “My family has the same mindset as me, and we kind of just agreed that if we get it, we get it. We’re going to handle it as a family and just get over it because that’s what a family does.”

One woman on the beach said that “there’s enough wind and air that’s going to clear it all out of here.” Tuchman told the woman that the virus could still pose a risk. 

Another man on the beach who was not wearing a mask noted to the outlet that President Trump has regularly not worn a mask during the pandemic.

“I mean, if he’s not wearing a mask, I’m not going to wear a mask. If he’s not worried, I’m not worried,” the man said. 

Trump has often declined to wear a mask amid the ongoing pandemic despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations encouraging the use of face coverings to prevent asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus from spreading it. The White House has argued that Trump is tested regularly and has not reported a positive test. 

Trump was photographed last week wearing a face mask while touring a Ford facility in Michigan. The picture appeared to be the first photo shared of the president wearing a face covering. 

During the Monday report, Montgomery, Ala., Mayor Steven Reed (D) told CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “It gives me pause to think about what we may see in the next week or two when people get back to their communities from their vacations down on the Gulf Coast.

“It’s problematic for me that people are cavalier about their behavior, and it’s problematic to me that we have not done a better job at the state and national level of explaining the seriousness of this virus to not only the people directly but also to their friends, their family, and certainly our first responders and medical personnel who are also participating in this,” he added.

However, some city leaders in Alabama pushed back on the CNN report. Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft told WPMI that “You would be able to go down there at any time on our beaches and tell a story you wanted to tell if you had an agenda.” 

Craft claimed that CNN’s “horizontal” video made the beaches look like “chaos”

“But when you get out and walk through the people and you go vertically across the beach, you will see that the majority of the people are social distanced or staying together. Now there are large groups, so do we know if they are all family? No, we do not,” Craft told the outlet.  

Alabama on Tuesday reported over 4,900 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state in the previous two weeks. 

The Hill has reached out to Gulf Shores for comment.

Tags Alabama Alabama Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Donald Trump Gulf Shores Memorial Day

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