Marshall County EMA director concerned about potential COVID-19 spike after holiday weekend

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Independence Day weekend is just days away and many people are making plans to head out to the lake to celebrate.

Alabama State Parks marketing director Jerry Weisenfeld said about 2,000 people are expected to spend some time at Lake Guntersville State Park for the fourth of July holiday weekend.

But the crowds are a concern for Marshall County Emergency Management Agency director Anita McBurnett.

“It’s not that we can’t get together and socialize, it’s that we need to do it responsibly. And that means social distancing, wearing a mask and making sure that we’re washing our hands,” said McBurnett. “It’s not fear-mongering, it’s just a simple matter of fact.”

She told WHNT News 19 those same basic guidelines recommended for when you go inside a store, should also be followed this Independence Day weekend if you are with more than just your family unit.

“If you’re not in a family unit and you have friends or other family that have come up from down south to visit to go out on the lake, do your social distancing when you’re out outside,” explained McBurnett.

It is especially worrying for McBurnett because there are so many people with the virus who are asymptomatic.

“You may think you’re safe and fine when in fact you might be the one that has the virus and is spreading it,” said McBurnett.

She said being outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic is much better than being inside with low circulation and filtration.

McBurnett also said swimming is okay despite the ongoing increase of positive coronavirus cases because the lake is such a large body of water that if the virus is there, it should dissipate quickly.

Weisenfeld said just about every area of the parks system is now open including pools and rental cabins.

He said workers in each area will continue increased cleaning protocol to keep public areas sanitary.

Weisenfeld added that rangers will be out this weekend strictly enforcing social distancing.

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