Memorial Day sees MAGA boat parades, busy bars and boardwalk shootings as Americans adapt to changing socia…

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Mass gatherings and shootings marked the start of the Memorial Day holiday, as Americans and government officials made sense of changing rules regarding social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Welcoming warming temperatures during what’s normally the start of a busy summer tourism season, hundreds of boaters came out Sunday in droves on the Charleston Harbor in South Carolina for a massive Memorial Day weekend parade in support of President Trump.

It happened as South Carolina, more than any other state in the nation, has largely lifted lockdown restrictions that had caused public life for most Americans to come to a monthslong standstill.

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Boaters participate in the Make America Great Again parade May 24, 2020, in Charleston, South Carolina. A Facebook post noted the event, which was scheduled to begin at the U.S. Coast Guard station on the battery in Downtown Charleston and wind it's way up the harbor, was hosted by OSR Marine, a marine supply store. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Boaters participate in the Make America Great Again parade May 24, 2020, in Charleston, South Carolina. A Facebook post noted the event, which was scheduled to begin at the U.S. Coast Guard station on the battery in Downtown Charleston and wind it’s way up the harbor, was hosted by OSR Marine, a marine supply store. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, six people were wounded in a shooting in Daytona Beach, Fla., Saturday. Earlier this month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis cleared restaurants to reopen at 50 percent capacity.

Helicopter video shared by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office showed hundreds crowding the boardwalk, with rowdy partygoers drinking and dancing before shots rang out and officers arrived at the scene.

“We got slammed. Disney is closed, Universal is closed. Everything is closed, so where did everybody come with the first warm day with 50 percent opening? Everybody came to the beach,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said in a press conference on Sunday, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

And, at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, a popular resort spot, hundreds of partygoers packed bars and crowded pool parties on Memorial Day weekend, the Daily Mail reported.

In several photos, a sign that read “Please Practice Social Distancing: 6 Ft. Apart” is seen ironically hung from a balcony as people were seen drinking and couples kissing crammed into the pool below.

It appears the photos were taken at Redhead Lakeside Grill and Yacht Club in Osage Beach at Lake of the Ozarks, KSDK reported, though some social media users mistakenly tagged the sign’s location at the nearby Shady Gators bar.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson began lifting a stay-at-home order earlier this month. Other videos that went viral on social media showed a packed “Zero Ducks Given” pool party at Backwater Jack’s bar closeby. Live music started up later in the evening, as festivities continued.

“No covid concerns at the lake of the ozarks😳 #loto,” KVTK reporter Scott Pasmore tweeted, sharing a video of the busy pool scene.

“This is one of our big weekends. Everyone knows that,” Osage Beach Mayor John Olivarri said Monday in response to the viral images, according to KSDK. “So, if people made the conscientious decision to come down here and to participate at whatever level they elect to participate, they have made that decision.”

“Are we going to make everybody happy because we are open? Probably not,” the mayor continued. “Do I feel bad that our businesses have opened up and giving our employees the opportunity to go back into work and feed their families? Absolutely not.”

The “Charleston MAGA Boat Parade,” organized by OSR Marine, a marine supply store, had more than 700 people in attendance, according to the event’s Facebook page.

“I mean we can’t have rallies right now. We still want to support our president,” one Trump supporter, Yvette Demaria, told WCSC. “As you can see, there are lots of people out here who are supporting him.”

Boats were to meet at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in the battery around noon. Around 12:30, the parade kicked off rounding the battery and up the harbor. Following the route approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, boats then made their way under the Ravanel Bridge and around Drum Island before making their way back past the USS Yorktown and ending just past the Harbor marina.

According to WCIV reporter Greg Brzozowski: “Starting at noon Sunday during Memorial Day weekend, boaters paraded through Charleston to support President Trump for hours, displaying flags, signs, and more while going from the Coast Guard station by the Battery downtown to Johns Island.”

Video shared of the parade showed posters, signs and flags on display, including one placard that read: “If we followed rules, we’d still be British. Liberty is essential.”

William Hamilton, a Charleston attorney and public transit advocate, expressed concern over the parade, and, instead, encouraged those eager to get out of their homes to volunteer.

“Well, my first thought is that when Americans are dying at a rate of over a thousand a day and 40 million people were out of work, that somebody thought it was appropriate to hold a big party,” Hamilton told WCSC.

Dozens of people reportedly lined the battery to take pictures of the boats out on the marina – though it was unclear if people kept 6 feet apart, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Charleston and Mount Pleasant Police Departments, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Natural Resources patrolled the harbor during the parade but did not issue any citations.

Police helped one boat that lost power during the parade and began gaining water. No other rescues were carried out, officials said.

It wasn’t the only MAGA boat parade held over the holiday weekend. Lara Trump, a senior campaign adviser who is also President Trump’s daughter-in-law, posted an Instagram video showing a large boat parade in her hometown, Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

In Florida, the Volusia County Beach Safety Director Ray Manchester said some 300 people were rescued by lifeguards on Saturday, adding that “every part” of the 47-mile shoreline “was full.”

Related to the shooting on the Daytona Beach boardwalk, Police Chief Craig Capri said two people were shot and four others were injured by shrapnel. Gunfire rang out in a crowd of hundreds, believed to be encouraged to come to the boardwalk by a man seen on helicopter video tossing cash to partygoers from an SUV.

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“We’re going to identify him, and we’re going to charge him,” Chitwood said.

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