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Coronavirus

Hundreds Gathered at a Popular Florida Beach Boardwalk during Memorial Day Weekend

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Hundreds of people gathered at a popular Florida beach boardwalk during Memorial Day weekend and were seen partying and dancing despite social distancing restrictions imposed by the state, authorities said Sunday.

Police responded, attempting to disperse the crowds along a beachside road in Daytona Beach that were there for an annual gathering not authorized by the local government this year.

Police said a shooting also was reported outside a nearby convenience store, with two people taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds and four injured by shrapnel. Officers were not involved.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office released helicopter images showing the large crowds surrounding a car outside a beachfront mall as a man stood on the sunroof and other men hung out the windows throwing money around and blocking traffic.

Officials said they were criticized for not making use of force against the crowds and declining to make arrests for social distancing violations.

Coronavirus social distancing rules in the state state that people must be in groups of 10 or fewer.

Beaches elsewhere in Florida also saw large Memorial Day weekend crowds.

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