Alabama beaches to enforce COVID-19 rules on Fourth of July weekend

Beaches stepping up guard for Fourth of July

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - With a surge of COVID cases attributed to the last holiday weekend, beach towns have stepped up their guard.

One of the ways beach officials will keep a closer eye on crowds is from the sky.

“The biggest thing we learned is to try and capture drone footage of the beach,” Melvin Shepard, battalion chief in Gulf Shores, said.

Shepard oversees ten miles of sandy shoreline.

“We are expecting lots of crowds this weekend with Fourth of July, the cancellation of fireworks, I don’t think, is going to deter a lot of people from coming,” he said.

If the weather holds out and the crowd shows, the rules will be enforced.

The city of Gulf Shores has announced a "zero tolerance policy" and if state guidelines are not met, businesses could be fined $500 or lose their license.

“Lifeguards, patrols will be out talking to people about social distancing, the use of face coverings in public,” he said. The lifeguards all wear gaiters they can pull up when they are around people or in a cart with each other.

Chief Shepard says most people are happy to follow the rules.

“Some people don’t want people right up close to them and will ask people to move themselves, it really has not been that difficult to get people to distance,” said Shepard.

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