Bethany lifeguards work on a shunken Bethany Beach on May 25, 2020

Bethany lifeguards work on Bethany Beach on May 25, 2020

The mix of ugly weather and COVID-19 restrictions made a grey combination for visitors and businesses alike at the Delaware beaches on Memorial Day.

55-degree overcast weather was locked in with an east wind on the Atlantic coast, on the first weekend Delawareans could swim or sunbathe on the beach.

In Dewey Beach, Amanda Harrington of Middletown was in a sweatshirt, but happy to at least be able to relax on the sand.

"It's kind of chilly, but it's worth it to be here."

Delaware's rules were mixed, with masks required on the boardwalks in Rehoboth and Bethany, while they were just optional on the state's beaches.

Local resident Joy Korpela was doing some shopping at one of the Bethany shops on the boardwalk with a face shield on, but was hopeful to see more people soon.

"I really am not afraid, and I really think if you are common sense, and you follow some basic rules. I'm not hysterical, I want to see everything back, I want shops open, I want people here, but you've got to be a little bit careful, of course."

A bigger reason than the weather for people being turned away is the on-going 14-day out-of-state quarantine for out-of-state residents, and the short-term rental ban that is keeping hotels and rental properties mostly empty, except for those housing essential workers.

Luke Miller of Jeremiah's Beach Party in Dewey said he'd like to see Governor John Carney ease up on some of the restrictions.

"I feel like it was so strict to get people to take it seriously, now that people are, easing up may not be such a bad thing."

Miller added some of the big talk in Dewey over the weekend was a roadblock  on Delaware Route 1 north of Lewes on Friday afternoon, that commenters on WDEL's Trafficwatch page reported caused delays of around 30 minutes at its peak as Delaware State Police alerted out-of-state drivers to the mandatory quarantine.

"They've been stopping people before they come too far south to make sure they were quarantining back at home."

Alex Heidenberger works at the oceanfront Mango's Restaurant in Bethany, there they're hopeful to be able to share the views with their customers again, as opposed to just offering takeout food.

 "We know we're going to get to the point one day that we're going to get back to normal, so it's about taking those right baby steps." 

It's those baby step that Amanda Harrington mopes makes her beach days more fulfilling, as they hopefully warm up going into June, July, and August.

"It's adjusting to the people, masks, and everything, it's a lot different. Hopefully soon, everything will be back to normal, and we can enjoy the normal summer beach life we're used to."

Mask use is only "recommended" just miles south of where Amanda was in Ocean City, Maryland, where short-term rentals have been allowed for a few weeks.