Beachgoers flock to Emerald Isle with social distancing in mind on Memorial Day

North Carolina news

EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WNCN) — As the state of North Carolina is slowly reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of people traveled to different beaches along North Carolina’s coast.

People from all over the state and from different parts of the country flocked to Emerald Isle Beach on Monday to enjoy the beautiful weather this Memorial Day weekend.

Pamela Frutiger came from Greenville to stay at her beach home on Emerald Isle this weekend.

“I feel relieved that we can finally get out and just be in God‘s nature and just enjoy it,” Frutiger said.

However, with COVID-19 cases still high in certain parts of the state, Frutiger said she is still keeping her distance from others.

“When I’m walking on the beach and I see someone coming, I do move a different direction to give them room and to give me room so that there is no fear,” Frutiger said.

CBS 17 talked to some kids who were excited to catch some waves at the beach after spending months learning from home.

“This is the first time I’ve been out in three weeks,” said Dylan King, an eighth-grader from Kinston, North Carolina. “We’re just playing football and trying to have a good time.”

Chante Hensley drove eight-and-a-half hours from Tennessee with her family to spend a week at Emerald Isle Beach.

“It feels wonderful,” Hensley said. “I have 10 kids. We’ve been cooped up for two months now.”

Hensley said her family is still concerned about COVID-19 and they are still practicing social distancing as much as possible.

“It’s been a bit crowded down towards the public area,” Hensley said. “We wear a mask at the store, but at the beach it’s great.”

Even with people social distancing and enjoying the water, beachgoers told CBS 17 they still remember what Memorial Day is really about.

“I want to thank those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms today,” said Linda Briggs. “This freedom belongs to us because of those who gave.”

Public parking was also limited in some areas of Emerald Isle and Wrightsville beaches this weekend.

CBS 17 reached out to authorities to find out how many parking citations had been issued, but we are still waiting to hear back.

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