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As beachgoers pack Port Aransas for Memorial Day, U.S. officials say to heed social distancing rules

Officials trying to avoid a resurgence of the virus that has killed nearly 100,000 in U.S.

SAN ANTONIO – This Memorial Day is like no other in the United States, but beachgoers in Port Aransas tried to bring a sense of normalcy over the weekend.

Videos and photos captured by The Associated Press show a packed beach in Port Aransas on Saturday as lockdowns have eased in Texas.

At the beach, people gathered to sunbathe and enjoy the warm weather, while some tried to practice social distancing.

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Memorial Day marks the first major holiday amid Gov. Greg Abbott’s plans to reopen Texas due to the coronavirus pandemic. And across the country, tens of thousands of Americans headed to beaches and parks, relieved to shake off some restrictions.

U.S. officials and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg have asked for people to take precautions while gathering with people outside their households.

Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, says that said she was “very concerned” about scenes of people crowding together.

“We really want to be clear all the time that social distancing is absolutely critical. And if you can’t social distance and you’re outside, you must wear a mask,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.”

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Nirenberg on Sunday made similar comments, saying “just follow health guidelines and we can enjoy our lives again."

U.S. authorities are trying to avoid a resurgence of the virus that has killed nearly 100,000 Americans, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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FILE- In this May 23, 2020, file photo people gather on the beach for the Memorial Day weekend in Port Aransas, Texas, Saturday, May 23, 2020. Beachgoers are being urged to practice social distancing to guard against COVID-19.
FILE- In this May 23, 2020, file photo people gather on the beach for the Memorial Day weekend in Port Aransas, Texas, Saturday, May 23, 2020. Beachgoers are being urged to practice social distancing to guard against COVID-19. (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
People gather on the beach for the Memorial Day weekend in Port Aransas, Texas, Saturday, May 23, 2020. Beachgoers are being urged to practice social distancing to guard against COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
People gather on the beach for the Memorial Day weekend in Port Aransas, Texas, Saturday, May 23, 2020. Beachgoers are being urged to practice social distancing to guard against COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
People gather on the beach for the Memorial Day weekend in Port Aransas, Texas, Saturday, May 23, 2020. Beachgoers are being urged to practice social distancing to guard against COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
People gather on the beach for the Memorial Day weekend in Port Aransas, Texas, Saturday, May 23, 2020. Beachgoers are being urged to practice social distancing to guard against COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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