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Washington coast braces for busy Fourth of July weekend

Hotels, campsites have been sold out for weeks.

OCEAN SHORES, Wash. — Spencer Schelbe brought fireworks, food, and friends to Ocean Shores.

He hoped to leave his COVID-19 worries back at home in Burien.

“I’m trying to enjoy the weekend and put that to the side a little bit,” Schelbe said.

He said he’s wearing his mask when he goes to the grocery store but felt safe not wearing one on the beach.

“Just trying to keep it on the backburner, keep it in mind, but not like ‘Don’t get too close!’” Schelbe said.

Campsites and hotel rooms on the coast have been booked for weeks, said Grays Harbor Sheriff Rick Scott who expects this year’s July Fourth, despite mask orders and other coronavirus restrictions, to be “like any other.”

Scott said he was worried about the public setting off their own fireworks because so many professional shows have been canceled.

Most on the beach Friday were not wearing masks, but masks were commonly found on restaurant guests and shoppers.

“I want to make people feel safe when they’re around me,” said Mitch Derrick from Tumwater, who was wearing a mask.

Derrick said he and the family needed to get out of town this weekend.

“We’re being safe about it,” Derrick said. “You get tired of hanging around your hometown.” 

A spokesperson for the Grays Harbor Community Hospital said staff ordered extra COVID-19 tests to be administered next week for locals who had contact with visitors to the beach.

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