The first Saturday of May finally brought spring weather to Massachusetts, drawing people out of their homes for a breath of fresh air amid the stay-at-home advisory.
But they filled up state parks, prompting authorities to close at least five of them temporarily Saturday afternoon. Two had to be closed twice: Concord's Walden Pond State Reservation and Princeton's Wachusett Mountain State Reservation.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation tweeted out the two-hour-plus closures, put in place to limit the number of people inside the park.
The other Massachusetts state parks that had to be temporarily closed Saturday are Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield, Blue Hills State Reservation in Milton and Breakheart State Reservation in Saugus.
"Getting outside is, it's honestly crucial because when you’re in the house it’s dark and rainy it’s awful but at least when it’s sunny out you can do like some outdoor activity," Gina Restiano said.
Places like Breakheart Reservation drew in a large number of visitors on its hiking paths, resulting in the park closing from 1 to 3 p.m. when it reached its max number of safe visitors.
"When you go towards the paths that aren’t the main road you are pretty good but going on the main road there are a ton of people. So that kind of makes me a little nervous," said Caitlin Caramello.
"Today I noticed that the state police did shut it down they weren’t allowing more people in. They shut down the parking lot down there," Fred Jannino said.
The majority of people wore masks to protect themselves from the crowded areas. Though some say they are still not feeling inclined to do so until Wednesday when the state mandatory mask order goes into effect.
"We try to stay far away as far as we can," one man said.
As we approach nicer weather, controlling these spaces might get trickier.
"This is sort of like closer to the city so there aren’t a ton of open places like this for people to get out and move around," Restiano said. "The weather is nice and this was coming..so..."
Authorities across New England have been concerned that the arrival of warm weather, which had taken its time, this weekend would bring people out to parks and beaches in enough numbers that they wouldn't be able to maintain effective social distance and thus spread the coronavirus.
More than 100,000 people have been infected with the virus across the region, the vast majority in Massachusetts and Connecticut. At least 10 state parks in the Nutmeg State hit capacity and closed on Saturday as well.
High temperatures were expected to skyrocket into the 70s in some places this weekend.