Were Michiganders following safe COVID-19 protocols during Memorial Day celebrations?

Residents head outside to celebrate Memorial Day

Michigan parks on Memorial Day see large crowds despite virus threat

DETROIT – Residents tired of being stuck at home got outside for Memorial Day celebrations, heading to parks and other areas around Metro Detroit.

For example, Stony Creek Metropark hit 60% capacity Monday afternoon and stopped letting more people in.

Local 4 cut a wide swath across Metro Detroit to see if people were following social distancing and safe coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines. We didn’t find many crowds where people weren’t distancing, but there were some spots where protocols were clearly broken.

A sunny Memorial Day with temperatures in the 80s led to increased traffic at Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township. The beach was packed to the point where the entire facility was eventually shut down.

Peyton Spevacek came early and spent the day, but had to move around to different spots.

“I couldn’t even drive in the parking lot,” Spevacek said. “It was packed. I didn’t even want to go to that spot.”

Elizabeth Wynne was one of the thousands who thought the park was a great place to get outside while also staying safe.

“I thought I could go to the beach or something,” Wynne said. “It was completely closed and so many people were there. It’s crazy. It is just crazy.”

At Kensington Park in Milford, the beach situation was the same. Though it wasn’t quite as crowded, social distancing wasn’t much at play.

But in other parts of the park, such as the boat launch, people were keeping their distance.

“I think people are just excited to be out,” Dearborn Heights resident Maria Watt said. “As far as social distancing, not too good today on the beaches. I noticed in the park people are enjoying the day outside with their family members.”

UPDATE -- May 25, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 54,881; Death toll now at 5,240

Metroparks Director Amy McMillan said there is a surefire way to avoid the crowds and the closures.

“Follow us on social media and we are now announcing when we have intermittent closures and you don’t get stuck in line waiting to come in,” McMillan said.

Local 4 also visited other parks around Metro Detroit, including on Belle Isle. We didn’t see the same kinds of crowds as Stony Creek and Kensington parks.

Another place that got very crowded is the Rapids View section of the Hudson Mills Metropark, Local 4 was told.

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.