Much smaller Memorial Day crowd at SIlver Beach this year
ST. JOSEPH, Mich. - Once the summer season begins, people in Michiana flock to our lakefront towns and days like Memorial Day are some of their most crowded.
It's normally one of the busiest days of the year at Silver Beach in St. Joseph, but there was a much smaller crowd Monday - one officers were thankful for, as people respected social distancing.
"Everybody's been well behaved. We have a lot of families coming down to enjoy the beach on this wonderful day," said Berrien County Chief Deputy Robert Boyce. "They have been adhering to the CDC guidelines in regards to the social distancing. So, we are extremely proud and satisfied with what we’ve seen so far."
Officers placed plenty of signs out beforehand to make sure people knew social distancing would be expected and planned to close the parking lot once it reached 50% capacity.
"Our plan is still to keep the beach open for people to come down and enjoy recreational activities and enjoy the weather," said Boyce. "However, they may have to walk a little further because if the capacity gets over 50% in our parking lot we will close the gates to vehicular traffic."
But for once, crowds weren't an issue at Silver Beach on a holiday. There were open parking spots, and groups stayed together and avoided intermingling with others.
"It's invaluable to have a place you can come just to be out in the beauty, enjoying the lake enjoying the weather. There's enough space for people to say away from each other," said Lee Bishop, a Berrien Springs resident.
"We were just noticing the groups on the beach now," said Sharon McFall, a St. Joseph resident. "And there might be five, six, eight people together and that's fine if they're all together and they don't get shoulder to shoulder."
Silver Beach's shoreline is also much smaller this year due to rising water levels.