Busy Labor Day on Lake Wylie brings crowds, fears of COVID-19 surge

Busy Labor Day on Lake Wylie brings crowds, fears of COVID-19 surge

LAKE WYLIE, S.C. (WBTV) -A nice long weekend brings crowds to the lakes and on boats.

This Labor Day weekend is no different.

”Today, we were just kinda driving around but we wanted to kinda walk around and enjoy the lake,” said Camila Paggi, who wanted to walk the lake.

”I’m out here waiting to have a good time. Enjoy Labor Day with friends,” said Adam Michalek, who boated.

”I’m just taking in a day of fishing,” said one man carrying fishing rods.

Lake Wylie was theirs to explore in any way they would like, but thoughts of the coronavirus still lurked beneath the surface.

The thing that I’ve always said is you never know if you’re carrying it and the guilt of giving it to somebody else is something that I personally couldn’t live with,” said Paggi.

People at Buster Boyd Bridge said most people were socially distancing, but not too many wore masks. The crowds grew in the afternoon.

By 5 pm, lines formed to get onto the dock and back into the car.

Despite people not wearing masks, it was not as big of a concern for those that were. They were not too worried because they felt people were keeping their distance.

”In a space as open as this is, it feels ok,” said Jonathan Brown, who came to the lake to walk. “I work in medical, so I know if we have enough distance and people are actually able to social distance outside then it’s good.”

Camila Paggi and Jonathan Brown had their families wearing masks. While watching crowds step onto boats, Brown likened it to smoking.

”Putting yourself at risk is something that’s ok, but putting other people at risk, like smoking in public could cause cancer and stuff like that, is a concern,” Brown said.

With crowds comes the need for social distancing.

SCDHEC officials warned anyone enjoying the holiday there could be a surge across the state. One to two weeks after Memorial Day, the state saw daily cases over 1,000 every day.

On Monday, DHEC announced more than 600 cases.

The crowd Adam Michalek was a part of took some extra precautions before jumping onboard.

”We’ve all been tested so we’re safe and happy with that fact closed to heart,” said Michalek.

It is what they kept in mind before stepping on a sand bar with folks who might not feel the same way.

”Yeah there’s a pandemic and it’s very serious and affecting a lot of people, but this is the US,” said one man before sailing away.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and York County Sheriff’s office was out.

York County Sheriff’s Office tweeted to not drink and drive a boat. DNR was patrolling for the same thing.

David Lucas, a spokesperson for DNR, says patrol duties were typical. He says since Governor McMaster lifted boating restrictions back in May, patrol officers stopped making sure people were not congregating on sandbars.

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