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Crowds pack Memorial Day hot spots despite COVID social distancing calls

Posted at 3:35 PM, May 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-25 20:02:53-04

(ABC NEWS) -- In the face of rising cases of coronavirus throughout the U.S. and Canada, and calls from health officials to remain socially distant during the long weekend, crowds still flocked to Memorial Day hot spots. Some of the incidents spurred responses from elected leaders and police who issued warnings and dispersed the crowds.

Here are some of the most egregious examples reported this weekend.

Ozarks, Missouri

A video of a pool party featuring dozens of people without masks in the Lake of Ozarks went viral over the weekend.

A majority of the people were not wearing face coverings and hung out close to each other as seen in photos and videos.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services didn't have a comment on the pool party, but it issued a statement urging all residents and visitors to be cautious and remain socially distant.

"When they then carry the virus and transmit it to a more vulnerable person, this is when we tend to see the long-lasting and tragic impact of these decisions that are being made,” the agency said in a statement.

The state currently has 11,988 confirmed cases and saw a 6.2% jump in new cases over the last week, according to health data from the state.

Daytona Beach

Police said they had to break up several crowds in Central Florida Saturday night.

In one instance, roughly 200 people were packed on a street and appeared to have jumped onto a police car that was trying to clear the street, according to helicopter video released by Volusia Sherriff's Office.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri said he was "pissed off" by the number of people who weren't taking health precautions seriously; however, he said there were no arrests.

"We were trying to use our de-escalation techniques," he said at a news conference Sunday afternoon. "We were able to push everyone off the peninsula."

Volusia, Florida, which contains Daytona Beach, has 663 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Monday, according to data from the Florida Health Department and the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Clearwater Beach

Even though state leaders and the local police stressed social distancing as the area's beaches reopened, crowds still appeared to be in close-knit groups in some of the Pinellas County beaches. Many didn't appear to wear face coverings in Clearwater Beach.

By 8:30 a.m. Saturday, several beach locations were closed to new entrants as they reached max capacity, according to the Pinellas Sheriff's Office. Jennifer Crockett, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, told ABC News there were 300 officers deployed to all of the county's beaches.

"As we closed those access points people were pointed to other beaches that were still open," she told ABC News.

As of Monday, Pinellas County, Florida, which includes Clearwater Beach, had 1,173 confirmed coronavirus cases and 75 deaths, according to data from the state's health department and Johns Hopkins University.

Toronto, Ontario

City officials said they were upset after they said thousands of people hit the greenspace at Trinity Bellwoods Park on Saturday.

In some images that went viral, many people were not seen wearing face coverings. Toronto's mayor's office said it sent additional officers to the park Sunday to ensure that it didn't get too crowded.

"Gatherings like today’s at Trinity Bellwoods Park has the potential to set Toronto back in its efforts to beat COVID-19," the mayor's office said in a statement released Saturday.

As of Monday, Toronto had 10,035 cases and 759 deaths, according to the city's health department.