HOLLAND — Even with the cancellation of Tulip Time, on Wednesday, May 6, dozens visited Holland’s Windmill Island Garden, where many of the flowers are planted.
Tulip Time was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has upended many Michigan tourism mainstays. In Michigan, a stay-at-home order has been in place since March 24.
The order, issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, does not ban outdoor recreation.
In fact, Whitmer has encouraged outdoor activity, but has urged social distancing measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing face masks and staying six feet apart.
In April, city of Holland Mayor Nathan Bocks asked people not to travel to Holland, as the city lacked the capacity for added visitors.
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Bocks said the Holland Department of Public Safety is monitoring the situation at Windmill Island and keeping a count of individuals on the island. There were about 75-100 people there as of Wednesday midday.
“We’ve been monitoring the people who are coming in and out so people can maintain social distancing,” Bocks told The Sentinel.
“We asked people not to come, and most people have complied with that. We also know that there are a lot of people who are from Holland at Windmill Island.
“We’re still asking people not to travel to Holland, which is prohibited under the executive order. And as we’ve said, we do encourage Holland residents to get out and get some sunshine.”
Bocks said if too many residents enter the island, HDPS officials will begin restricting access, only allowing one car into the island as another car exits.
On the island itself, social distancing measures included walking in one direction to see the tulips, similar to what’s taking place in many grocery stores during the pandemic.
The majority of island visitors did not appear to be wearing masks.
— Contact reporter Arpan Lobo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @arpanlobo.