MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (CBS) — With beaches closed in Illinois due to the coronavirus pandemic, Memorial Day meant a road trip across the state line for many Illinoisans.
CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar stopped at a busy beach in Michigan City, Indiana on Monday.
De Mar got to the beach later in the day, and there were still plenty of people enjoying the sun. Very few beachgoers were wearing masks, but people did seem to be trying to keep their distance.
Martin Cooney visited from Chicago.
“To keep us locked in our houses, it’s just quite frankly stupid,” he said. “I’m what we call ‘Illi-noyed.’”
Cooney joined a pretty full beach. The parking lot had plenty of plates from Illinois.
“The ability to have a beer outside,” said Luiza Przewodnikowska.
People ditched the stay-at-home order as they headed for the state border – avoiding Chicago’s locked-down lakefront.
“We originally were going to have our boat in Burnham Harbor, but the whole lakeside is shut down in Illinois,” said Fred Borrowman.
“It is nice to get away, get out of the state, go be somewhere I don’t have to wear a facemask,” added a woman named Julia.
“You feel safe and you are also able to enjoy yourself, which I think is important at this time,” Przewodnikowska added.
Masks that we did see weren’t being worn. And while distancing was done to the best of people’s ability, it was far from perfect.
“We believe with proper distancing and being intelligent and making the right decisions, you’re not going to expose yourself any more than going to the grocery store,” Borrowman said.
During peak hours Monday at the Indiana Dunes National Park, the beach was wall-to-wall – ending the day early for a family from Mokena.
“People are just coming out. I understand they’re trying to enjoy their weekend, and everything,” said Candice Teske, “but as for me and my family, we’re going to take off, because people just aren’t respecting what we were supposed to be doing.”
Back in Michigan City as the day began to wind down, Cooney had a message for Mayor Lori Lightfoot
“We’re ready. We’re ready, Lori,” he said. “Open it up.”
In Michigan City, we did not see a big police presence at the beach. We are told the Indiana Department of Natural Resources was going to be out using a loud speaker to remind people of social distancing.