GEORGIA — It may be the Memorial Day weekend, but more people are planning a staycation than a vacation for the next three days
Between fears over the coronavirus and bad weather — only Saturday is predicted to be sunny, with Sunday and Monday expected to be wet — almost all of the roughly 200 Georgia Patch readers who responded to our survey said they planned to stay home. About 94 percent of respondents said they planned to avoid parks and beaches, and 92 percent said they would avoid social gatherings altogether.
The survey, which appeared in questionnaire form Wednesday and Thursday on Patch, is meant not to be a scientific poll, but only to give a broad idea of public sentiment. The sentiment was generally downbeat.
Some respondents were downright dour about it, saying "it sucks." Another suggested canceling Memorial Day altogether, because with the rising death toll from COVID-19 "every day is a memorial."
A few, though, cited the original reason for the holiday as reason enough to stop and think. "It is a day of memory, a solemn day, not a party day," wrote one Patch reader. "We will be visiting the cemetery to honor our loved ones and those we don't even know on Memorial Day."
Many were more pragmatic, citing the need for social distancing to flatten the curve. And a lot of respondents seemed outright scared. Said one: "I don't feel comfortable going anywhere in public because too many people are not wearing masks or socially distancing." Said another: "I hope re-opening Georgia has not given people a false sense of security. Another respondent summed it up "I would rather be safe than sorry."
Some had become cynical about pandemic politics. "Look at our numbers today," wrote one Patch reader. "Oh wait, we have had faulty numbers? Whom to believe?" Another one wrote that he wanted to "live off the grid and be done with this political movement."
A few planned road trips. One respondent pointed out that it is possible to travel and stay safe — as long as you stay mostly in your car.
But most people are staying put.
Among other comments:
"We should not only commemorate our armed services but also commemorate our front-line workers that sacrificed their lives during this pandemic."
"Stay safe. Think of others before going out in the public."
"I have lupus, I'm on steroids, I can't afford to catch anything"
"Maybe it's time to visit our fellow Americans who served and died for us in the best social-distancing place: a cemetery."
"Unfortunately, like Easter and Mother's Day, not interacting much. It's my responsibility to keep myself and others safe. When it's over I'll make up for it in grand style though!"
"I think people should be mindful. This is no joke. I think people need to stay home. I almost lost some dear people to me."
"Sad but only way to celebrate our 52nd wedding anniversary"
"We are staying home and teaching our boys about the holiday."
Most parades and public celebrations are cancelled, but most parks and beaches are open to those willing to practice social distancing. And if you're not willing to stay 6 feet apart? Georgia State Patrol Commissioner Gary Vowell pledged Thursday to "saturate" beaches with troopers. And Department of Natural Resouces Commissioner Mark Williams promised that parks would be monitored — and possibly temporarily closed — if too many people show up at one time.
So between the pandemic and the weather, Memorial Day weekend this year is a bit of a buzzkill. Not everyone is down about it, though. As one respondent put it: ""We have been staying home and realized this is a pretty awesome place to spend time."
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