Back to normal? Crowds hit the beach for 4th of July weekend

Crowds coming back is good for business, locals say

Beach towns around Jacksonville are expecting thousands of visitors this weekend, especially since firework shows are back on after being canceled last year. News4Jax reporter Aaron Farrar spent the day at Jax Beach,seeing how the return is going for visitors and businesses.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Visitors are heading back to Jacksonville Beach this holiday weekend after several events were canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Jacksonville Beach is bringing in plenty of people for the holiday weekend, some regulars and some new beachgoers.

Charity Williams just moved to Jacksonville from South Carolina and spoke to News4Jax about her 4th of July plans.

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“I just love the atmosphere,” Williams said. “I was just looking to get away from a large city and be somewhere where I can relax and enjoy myself.”

The Guch family also told News4Jax it’s a different look from last year.

“It just seemed like a great weekend to go to the beach with the holiday and everything,” Matt Guch said. “We haven’t been out in over a year.”

The pandemic shut down plenty of events at Jax Beach over the last year, but it is a different view on the Fourth of July weekend 2021.

“It’s just nice to be here and see people out again,” Guch said. “It’s nice to be coming out the other side of the pandemic and see what the world is like again.”

The crowds coming back is also good for business. Kiersten Dietrich, a beach attendant who sets up chairs and umbrellas along the beach, told News4Jax she is ready to get to work.

“It’s nice because we can see faces again, but we’re still keeping with regulations,” Dietrich said. “So, we stay back, we try to sanitize everything that we can. If people are uncomfortable and want us to wear a mask, we put one on.

The big crowds this weekend are giving beach manager Cameron Langley and his team plenty of work to do.

“We’ve just been making sure everyone’s happy,” Langley said. “We’ve just been setting everyone up. Everyone’s been leaving on a good note. If it’s sunny and nice like it is [Saturday], there are tons of people at the beach and we get quite crowded and we sell out sometimes,” Dietrich said.

It is good for business and good for beachgoers, who can relax and enjoy themselves.

“Now since COVID-19 happened, everyone was so much more excited to come down because it’s free air,” Langley said. “It’s back to living a normal life.”

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