Floyd Mayweather was among thousands of people who flouted social distancing guidelines over the weekend to attend Memorial Day parties despite the ongoing threat of coronavirus and mounting death toll.
The boxer and his entourage were seen at a nightclub in Scottsdale, Arizona, huddled around a table, drinking and dancing while hundreds of others watched.
Arizona is one of the few states to completely reopen its bars without restrictions aside from advice on staying in small groups.
Mayweather and his friends were at International Boutique Nightclub. None wore masks or gloves, nor were they concerned with staying 6ft apart.
His outing came as shocking footage emerged on Sunday of events at bars from the Ozarks to Florida and Long Island where revellers flouted the rules on wearing masks and maintaining a 6ft distance from others while bar and business owners turned a blind eye.
More videos are now emerging of tubing parties on Texas rivers and one particularly busy pool club in Houston. The bar, Cle Houston, was only allowed to open on the basis that it operated a 25 percent capacity but videos and photos shared on social media showed it brimming with people.
Angry critics took to social media to call the hordes of people who gathered together ‘stupid’ and ‘arrogant’.
Floyd Mayweather at a nightclub in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Saturday night. He and his entourage did not follow social distancing rules nor did they wear masks. Arizona has reopened without limits but people are being warned to only gather in small groups
One called it a ‘colossal slap in the face ‘to any and everyone who has lost income, their job, a loved one due to COVID 19.’
In New York, secretary to the governor, Melissa DeRosa, fumed at a different group which gathered at the Dublin Deck Tiki Bar and Grill in Patchogue.
‘From what I understand, the photos show people were in this space and they weren’t wearing masks. That’s stupid. Stupid for you, it’s stupid for your surrounding patrons, it’s stupid for the bar,’ she said.
After footage emerged of people gathering inside, which is prohibited under New York’s lockdown orders, the bar’s owner said people were sheltering from the rain.
Long Island will start loosening restrictions this week but eating in or drinking inside bars and restaurants is still prohibited.
The gatherings over the weekend happened as the US coronavirus death toll surpassed 97,000 and the case count hit 1.6million.
Police in Houston received more than 300 calls over the weekend reporting people for flouting social distancing rules.
Nowhere was it more intense than at the Cle pool party.
In Texas, dozens of people flocked to rivers to go tubing. The tubing businesses were allowed to open and they warned people to only stay in small groups but the rules were ignored on the water
People gather at the Guadeloupe River in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday
Before the weekend, the club advertised two parties – one on Saturday night and a day party, between 2pm and 8pm, on Sunday.
Virtual flyers for the events made no mention of social distancing guidelines.
Dieontray Napoleon said of the virus: ‘If I get it, everybody else is getting it. Hey, that’s life’
It is unclear if the party was shut down or what kind of penalties the bar faces, if any. On Sunday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said any establishment that broke the rules faced being temporarily shut down.
‘There are too many people that are coming together to some of our clubs, our bars, swimming pool parties, no social distancing, no masks.
‘You are forcing us to step in for public health reasons to say no, we’re not going to allow that.’
Dieontray Napoleon was one of hundreds who went tubing on the Delmar River in San Antonio.
He shrugged off the risk of catching or spreading the virus and said: ‘If I get it, everybody else is getting it. Hey, that’s life.’
Cle Houston drew hundreds to a pool party on Sunday despite being told to only operate at 25 percent capacity
In Florida, two people were shot and four were hit by shrapnel in the Florida incident around 7.30pm Saturday on South Ocean Avenue near Breakers Oceanfront Park.
Gunfire erupted along the beachside road where more than 200 people were seen partying and dancing as lockdowns eased up.
Several people were wounded and taken to the hospital but the injuries are not life-threatening, authorities said. Police said no suspects were arrested and the victims were not cooperating with the investigation.
Authorities had been expecting in influx after last week Governor Ron DeSantis said businesses could operate at 50 percent capacity.
In the Tampa area along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the crowds were so big that authorities took the extraordinary step of closing parking lots because they were full.
‘Disney is closed, Universal is closed. Everything is closed so where did everybody come with the first warm day with 50% opening? Everybody came to the beach,’ Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said at a Sunday news conference, referring to crowds in the Daytona Beach area.
Memorial Day weekend got off to a rainy start in New York City, but that wasn’t enough to keep stir-crazy residents inside.
Dozens of people were seen congregating outside bars and restaurants in the Big Apple on Saturday to kick off the three-day weekend as many grow increasingly weary of isolating inside their homes.
Public drinking is strictly prohibited in the state and offenders can be slapped with fines, but the pandemic has sparked a defiance among many residents who – unable to sit inside their favorite watering holes – are setting up shop on sidewalks.
More restaurants and bars have started reopening with takeout beers and cocktails in recent weeks as a way to keep the lights on as New York City has not yet met all the requirements necessary for a safe reopening of non-essential businesses.
Revelers are seen celebrating Memorial Day weekend at Osage Beach at the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri on Saturday
The owners of the Dublin Deck Tiki Bar and Grill in Patchogue were forced to apologize after footage showed the venue packed full of people on Friday; Suffolk County police responded but no summonses were issued
People drink and socialize outside bars in the East Village, New York, on Sunday
Patrons shotgun beers outside Benson’s NYC, where a constant queue was seen throughout the day on Saturday
In Long Island – where bars and restaurants remain takeout only – footage emerged of the Dublin Deck Tiki Bar and Grill on Friday.
Crowds stand close to one another, without masks, and appear to drink inside the establishment.
Apologizing on their Facebook page, the bar owners wrote: ‘We apologize to anyone who may have been offended by the videos that surfaced. We assure you it was not intended and will not happen again.
‘We are looking forward to being able to allow guests to take their ‘to-go’ orders to a table on-site to enjoy while still practicing social distancing. But until that time we will remain ‘to-go’ only and do our best to ensure that our guests follow stricter guidelines and do not gather.’
Co-owner Frank Mills added: ‘Everybody hunkered down. We did what we were supposed to do.’
Suffolk County police said in a statement: ‘We are taking reports of noncompliance very seriously and is following up throughout this weekend with Dublin Deck, other locations in Patchogue and other downtowns in our jurisdiction.
‘As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, the department asks for continued cooperation from Suffolk County businesses and residents, and asks people to adhere to the guidelines outlined by New York State.’
For some New Yorkers the global health crisis seemed to be a distant memory while they enjoyed a drink with friends outside bars amid cloudy, rainy weather on Saturday.
Photos showed people with their state-mandated masks pushed down around their necks as they sipped beverages from plastic cups outside popular haunts like Elio’s Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side, Jasper’s Taphouse in Hell’s Kitchen and LOULOU in Chelsea.
Some groups appeared to be ignoring social distancing guidelines as they huddled together, never straying too far from the takeout table for easy access to refills.
The party continued after sundown as constant queues were seen outside bars like Benson’s NYC in Lower Manhattan.
Many food and drink establishments that shuttered when the outbreak ramped up across the state and when the stay-at-home order was issued are now reopening for takeout service, as the lockdown rumbles on and they seek new ways to keep their businesses afloat.
The restaurant and bar industry has been hardest hit by the pandemic, with stark data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and collated by the National Restaurant Association revealing that a staggering six million restaurant workers have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
Three decades of restaurant jobs have been lost in two months and industry employment has fallen to its lowest level since 1989.
In New York City alone, lockdown has thrown the jobs of more than 150,000 people working in restaurants and bars into jeopardy.
Experts have predicted that one in four restaurants will go out of business as a result of the weeks-long lockdown measures put in place by the majority of US states to stop the spread of COVID-19.
New York restaurants and bars were first shuttered more than nine weeks ago on March 16, with the exception of staying open for takeout service.
As the weather warms up more businesses are reopening for takeout as they wait for Governor Andrew Cuomo to allow dine-in service to resume.
New York City is expected to remain closed at least until mid-June, while officials caution that a true reopening could not happen until the fall.
At his news briefing on Saturday, Cuomo discussed his decision to allow up to 10 people to attend ceremonies honoring America’s military veterans on Memorial Day, warning that social distancing and face masks should be part of any plans to get together.
‘It depends on how people act. You can have a safe gathering of 10 people. You can also have a wholly unsafe gathering of 10 people,’ Cuomo said.