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St. George Island sees crowds during Fourth of July weekend

Posted at 8:29 AM, Jul 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-06 08:29:53-04

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Pandemic or not, people still hit the water to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend.

However this year, things were a bit different.

The Fourth of July and the beach go hand in hand and getting the chance to dig your feet into the sand meant a little more this Independence Day.

"You can't really do fourth of July without fireworks and we don't even have that, we're doing it the best that we can," said Jessica Gardner.

That's why the Gardner sisters made the trip from Tallahassee to St. George Island.

"I feel safe. It's not like we're in large crowds. Everybody's staying in their own parties with people that they've already been exposed to," said Alexis Gardner.

Keeping safe was also a priority for the restaurants on the beach.

"We have put the whole staff in masks and we're social distancing ourselves in the kitchen, monitoring the temperature and stuff like that," said George Joanos.

Blue Parrot owner George Joanos says the crowds show just how much their customers appreciate those measures.

"We've served up to 900 people per day over the last 6 weeks," said Joanos.

And to keep up with the crowds, Franklin County Sheriff's Deputies patrolled the beach.

While they ask for voluntary compliance, someone breaking the rules could see a fine of up to $500.

Business owners on St. George expect to see similar traffic for the rest of the summer.

The health department says Franklin County only has nine confirmed cases of COVID-19. That's one of the lowest in the state.