Americans excited about what for many was their first big break from coronavirus shutdowns flocked to beaches and outdoor areas on Saturday, snarling roadways and forcing some closures on the Memorial Day weekend that signals the start of the U.S. summer.

In Destin, Florida, The Back Porch, a surfside restaurant on Henderson Beach, was full.

The restaurant was operating at 50 per cent seating capacity to ensure that chairs and umbrellas could be placed 6 feet apart, and newcomers had to wait for places to become free before they could enter, said hostess Julianna Preede, 18.

“There’s a lot of people here right now — it’s a holiday weekend,” Preede said.

2:03Coronavirus outbreak: Vehicles disappear from select Toronto streets

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In Arizona, holiday travelers flooded Interstate-17, causing a 15-mile backup on the roadway used for access to some of the desert’s most beautiful canyons, the Arizona Department of Transportation said.

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Some recreation areas, including Saguaro Lake, became so crowded that authorities had to shut them down.