Coronavirus impact: Bay Area residents react to first COVID-19 Memorial Day weekend

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Memorial day kicks off the start of the summer season, but this year will be different from others because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. While health officials are quick to admit we all have cabin fever, they warn what we do not want is to see a spike in cases a week from now.

So, what's wrong with a group of seven people with guitars meeting at Larkey Park in Walnut Creek and singing "Nowhere Man" while those walking by stop to watch? A lot according to Contra Costa Health Services.

They say the people may be distancing, but it is not the behavior that officials want to see.

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"We don't want congregation and gathering of people from different households. Which is why picnic tables and campgrounds and communal areas aren't open," said Rohan Rodhakrishna, deputy health officer with Contra Costa Health Services.

"Fifty to 80 percent of people with this virus don't have symptoms or haven't gotten them yet," said Rodhakrishna. "That's very scary because you don't know if you have it or someone else will and you can easily pass it on," he said, referring to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

By land or by sea, the same county health orders apply according to a statement from the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department. At the Martinez Marina, state fish and game officers are also making sure people play by the rules.

"We haven't had too much restriction as far as fishing goes as long as they go out with family members on the boat only, with no gatherings of other households on their boat," said Olivia Ortega, Marina manager.

That same restriction applies to recreational water craft.

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Martinez resident Tom Vandewater was out walking his dog Asia as he reminisced about last memorial day with family, friends, picnic, and barbecue.

"This year, I'll be staying home and doing house projects," he said.

Maria Castaneda, who lives in Pittsburg, lamented.

"Last year, I went to a lake in Livermore and I got to hang out with all my family members. This year, it's just me, my roommate and the dogs," she said.

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