JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The night before Thanksgiving is usually a time when hundreds if not thousands of people hit the bars in Jacksonville Beach to celebrate the holiday.
But this Thanksgiving holiday is unlike any other due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many people in Jacksonville Beach appeared to be playing it safe and staying home Wednesday.
All the bars News4Jax visited at the beaches Wednesday night appeared to have a small number of people inside. An employee at Surfer The Bar said it’s been operating at under 10% occupancy throughout the night.
People we saw at several bars appeared to be social distancing, and if they were part of a group, the group appeared to be separating itself from other customers.
Just across the street at Latham Park, many people came out to enjoy the tradition of looking at Christmas displays that are lit up in different colors.
Normally, you might see hundreds of people crammed into the area, but Wednesday night, that wasn’t the case.
And the people who did come out were practicing social distancing and many were wearing masks.
“It’s pretty sad seeing how empty the business is and the interaction with people is less because of social distancing, but there is still a good amount of people here just not as much as usual. I think they are trying to be more aware of the times and people,” said Scarlett Wood, a Jacksonville resident.
“I enjoy it more,” said Doug Welser, a Jacksonville resident. “I’m sorry, I know it may not sound right. It gives you time to slow down and really enjoy things.”