Gulfport, Miss. — As Memorial Day weekend comes to a close, many people are still trying to enjoy time at the beach despite a warning from the state.
In Mississippi, hundreds spent the holiday enjoying the beach for the first time since COVID restrictions lifted.
“I feel like everyone is taking advantage of it. No mask, let’s have fun. I think we’re good to go,” said Gerret Sullivent.
Steve York visiting Mississippi from Arkansas said, “You just have to get back into the groove of things. You gotta leave stuff in the past and move forward.”
While the pandemic is back of mind for many people, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is warning of another concern at beaches. Advisory signs are posted warning swimming is not recommended because of high levels of bacteria.
More than a dozen spots along the Gulf have been tested by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. The bacteria could make people sick after swimming.
“I’ve swam in a lot worse than that. I just don’t care,” Sullivent said.
Others feel the same way.
“I got in a float and floated for a bit and drifted. It was fine,” York said.
Once wrapping up on the beach, people began packing restaurants and bars. This is the first sign of true normalcy along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in more than a year.
“Everything for us right now is family and I love it,” said Mary Dufresne. “Everyone is bringing their kids out here…we have a bar behind us, but we can still enjoy it as a family.”
In Bay St. Louis, several restaurants were at capacity as people enjoyed being with friends and family.
“We needed it. It’s been such a hard year for all of us. We’re taking a bunch of pictures today to remind us of what we used to have and what we have now,” Dufresne said.
To see the full list of Mississippi beach advisories, click here.