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Photos: Some social distancing, but mostly crowds as people flock to local beaches

It's no masks, no problem for most local beachgoers this hot July weekend in Greater Boston.

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If you’re dying for some beach time but concerned about social distancing, it seems Gloucester is the place to be this weekend — but for residents only.

After complaints of excessive traffic clogging up roadways last weekend, city officials decided to bar non-residents from entering the local parking lots on Saturday and Sunday. It was bad news for visitors hoping to check out Gloucester’s sunny shores, but it’s apparently working out well for the locals, who are finding wide-open beaches waiting amid this weekend’s heat wave.

Meanwhile, beaches without such restrictions are seeing what look like typical summer crowds, with groups at M Street Beach in South Boston pressed close together with nary a mask in sight.


George Annas, director of the Center for Health Law, Ethics and Human Rights at Boston University’s School of Public Health, told the Boston Globe that he hopes people will take officials guidance on safe behavior to heart in order to avoid more stringent enforcement if coronavirus cases increase.

“Obviously the last thing we want to do is turn into Florida, so the state can’t ignore mass gatherings without face coverings or social distancing,” Annas told the Globe. “Nonetheless, it is an extremely hot weekend day and at least some people may simply be testing the limits to see how seriously the distancing guidelines are on beaches.”

Here’s what some of the local beaches looked like Saturday:

Thousands of beachgoers packed M Street Beach in South Boston Saturday afternoon as the heat enveloped the area. Masks and social distancing were not common among the mostly young crowd.

Beachgoers packed M Street Beach in South Boston Saturday.

Another view of M Street Beach in South Boston Saturday.

People seemed to be practicing more social distancing at Castle Island Beach in South Boston Saturday afternoon.


Armanda Machado and Patricia Montecalvo, right, socially distance themselves from others at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, where the parking lots were closed to non-residents Saturday. “Last Sunday was scary. The population on the beach was crazy,” Machado said.

Meghan DePietri helps her daughter Emily, 7, with sunscreen as they arrive at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester. “I’m grateful that it’s residents only and we don’t have to wait in traffic,” Meghan said.

Gloucester police Lieutenant Mike Williams directs traffic at the entrance to Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester Saturday. He said, “Everyone is adhering to the messages put out there” regarding beach parking lots being closed to non-residents in Gloucester this weekend.

Beachgoers practice social distancing at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester on July 18, 2020.

Another view of Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester.

Another view of Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester.

Olivia Testaverde, 13, entertains her sister, Charolette, 2, at Good Harbor Beach Saturday.


A pair of women walk the shore at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester.

Waders try to cool off as temperatures hit the 90s in South Boston Saturday.

Crowds took to the beach in South Boston Saturday.


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