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Ocean Shores ready for visitors — but not too many

The beach community will be watching closely to make sure visitors are following rules and not gathering in large groups this weekend.

OCEAN SHORES, Wash. — This Memorial Day weekend will be a test for Ocean Shores. Mayor Crystal Dingler said the community is ready for visitors, but not too many.

On Friday, Tyson Clark made the drive from Renton.

“There’s a lot of traffic coming out this way,” Clark said.

The message in many of Washington’s beach communities in April  was “stay home.” That message is changing this weekend with the gradual reopening of Gray’s Harbor County, which was approved for Phase 2 reopening. Restaurants can now seat a limited number of guests, shops can start letting people in, and small businesses like salons can reopen.

In Phase 2, people also can start to gather in small groups, with five or fewer people from outside their household.

RELATED: What's allowed during Washington's reopening? Here are the four phases

Cole Corson made the trip to Ocean Shores from Seattle and booked an Airbnb for the weekend.

“We came out here thinking everything was going to be closed and it wasn’t which was pretty awesome,” Corson said.

He sat down to eat in a restaurant for the first time in months.

“Even the lady that was serving us was like, ‘This is really weird that I’m being able to serve you this meal right now,’” he said.

Mayor Dingler is urging visitors to still be careful. She said the city does not want to see large groups and officials still ask people to wear masks indoors.

“We’re going to really just talk to people and make sure that they understand that if we don’t do this right it might close us back down again and none of us would be happy with that,” she said.

Gray’s Harbor County has had only 16 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including four cases in May. If those numbers start to spike, that could once again spoil a lot of peoples’ weekend getaway plans in the coming months.