Weeks into country's reopening, health officials double down on the dangers of mass gatherings

People ride and walk on a path along beach on May 15, 2020 in California after beaches across the state began to reopen.
People ride and walk on a path along beach on May 15, 2020 in California after beaches across the state began to reopen.
Most of the country has loosened restrictions meant to curb the spread of coronavirus -- but as Americans begin to gather again, health officials warn moving too fast could have dire consequences.
In California, more than 180 people may have been exposed by a person who had the virus during an in-person religious service last week, the Butte County Public Health Department said.
"We all need to do our part to follow the orders and mitigation efforts so that our Reopen Butte County plan can continue to move forward," Butte County Public Health Director Danette York said in a statement Friday. "Moving too quickly through the reopening process can cause a major setback and could require us to revert back to more restrictive measures."
And in Erie, Pennsylvania, officials said they will keep city park facilities closed to ensure a continued path toward the state's reopening -- despite repeated requests from residents to utilize park grounds for sports, exercise and picnics.
"It is vital for the health of our community that we all refrain from gathering in large groups to ensure that our community members remain safe while we work towards moving into the Green Phase," Mayor Joe Schember said in a statement.
The green phase is the last of three reopening stages for Pennsylvania, during which most restrictions will be lifted and regions can proceed into a "new normal," according to the governor's office.
The warnings echo conversations taking place across the US by health officials, residents, business owners and experts who are trying to tackle what a safe reopening looks like -- and what could happen if it's rushed.


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