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Maine CDC urges caution while enjoying the great outdoors during coronavirus spread

Parking lots at Popham Beach State Park and Fort Baldwin reached capacity by mid-day Saturday and Sunday during coronavirus social distancing practices

PHIPPSBURG, Maine — Editor's note: You are starting to hear the term 'flattening the curve' as a way to stem the tide of coronavirus cases. The above video explains what that means.

After a week of "distance learning" and amid what may be many more weeks of social distancing, Mainers took advantage of bright, sunny days over the weekend to get outside in the new coronavirus era.

In a state known for the outdoors, not surprisingly they headed to the beaches and into the woods.

But by midday Saturday and Sunday, the parking lot at Popham Beach State Park was full, prompting the state of Maine to issue public safety warnings.

"In the interest of public safety, we ask that visitors observe the following: If you are not feeling well, DO NOT enter. Practice social distancing. DO NOT gather in groups of ten or more," the alert issued by The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry said, in part.

Credit: NCM

NEWS CENTER Maine spoke to beachgoers at Popham on Sunday who said they visited one of their favorite places but were surprised to see so many others had the same idea.

But while some were carefully practicing social distancing measures, others were clearly not. One group of more than a dozen adults and children walked up from the beach, hugged and kissed each other goodbye, and then left in at least three different vehicles.

Credit: NCM

"Physical distancing does not mean staying inside 24/7," Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said in a release. "The Maine CDC encourages people to get outside and take walks to breathe in fresh air, get some sun, and enjoy the state's beauty. But be smart and maintain a reasonable distance from others while doing so. Instead of hugging, find different, safe ways to show people that you care for them. Enjoy the great outdoors responsibly."

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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