SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. — Melissa Issney and Heather Knapp love going to South Beach in South Haven, they said. They live in Jackson and annually make the two-hour drive just to go there.
Tuesday, with some of the stay-at-home order restrictions lifting, they made the trip again and said it felt no different than in years past.
“Actually it’s been awesome,” Knapp said. “People are here. We’ve having fun. I don’t feel it's much different than it’s been. So, it's been just as fun as I ever remember it.”
Issney and Knapp were among the dozens of beachgoers who filled South Beach Tuesday afternoon as temperatures climbed into the 90s.
“I feel like it’s the same,” Issney said. “You’re just taking the chance of getting sick or not.”
Issney and Knapp said they weren’t too concerned about getting sick.
However, to ensure their safety and others, the City of South Haven put up signs throughout the beach to remind people of social-distancing.
“Coming out here we’re following the CDC guidelines which means we should be observing six-foot social-distancing,” said Interim City Manager Kate Hosier. “Memorial Day weekend we did issue a number of warnings to people just to make sure they’re following that.”
Hosier said they also have more staff patrolling the beach making sure people see the signs and are following the rules, including some of the old ones.
“Of course it’s zero tolerance. No alcohol is allowed on the beach,” Hosier said. “No dogs on the beach, that kind of thing. Swim within the buoys. Don’t jump off the pier.”
The waves were calm on Lake Michigan on Tuesday, Hosier pointed out.
However, the water level was still high, she said. She recommended that people keep an eye on the flags to determine whether or not they should go in.
Tuesday night, they waves were expected to reach 6-10 feet, she said.
“People should just be aware that you may have very good swimming ability but when you come out here just be a lot more aware of your surroundings,” she said.
Around 2:05 p.m. South Haven Area Emergency Services rescued kayakers near Packard Park. A press released stated the winds were pushing them further into the lake. By the time SHAES arrived, one was in the water.
Fortunately, both had on life jackets and are doing OK now.
Hosier said the beach is meant to be a fun place and officials want to keep it that way. However, they’re simply asking people to abide by the rules when they come.
“It’s good to be back at the lake. It’s been a while. Maybe it’s different because you’ve been so excited to get back. So I guess that’s where it’s different,” Knapp said. “You got to live again. You got to enjoy life.”