Social distancing ignored as Blue Angels, Thunderbirds fly over New Jersey, Philadelphia

Christie Ileto Image
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Blue Angels, Thunderbirds draw crowds; many ignore social distancing
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Standing nearly shoulder to shoulder, many spectators flocked outdoors as Thunderbirds, Blue Angels fly over the Philadelphia region.

PHILADELPHIA -- Standing nearly shoulder-to-shoulder, spectators jammed trails in Trenton, New Jersey, the riverfront at Penn's Landing and the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum to get a glimpse of the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds on Tuesday afternoon.

The salute, from the Air Force and Navy, was in honor of healthcare workers, first responders, military and other essential personnel while standing in solidarity with all Americans during the COVID-19 crisis. But not everyone was social distancing.

"I think it was a tricky time to have a flyover. It feels a bit ironic that we're being told to stay inside and at the same time to go outside and watch an air show," Brian Weiner said.

READ MORE: Blue Angels, Thunderbirds fly over NYC, NJ to salute frontline workers

Even the famous squad advised residents to watch "from the safety of their quarantined homes."

"I understand now more than ever, unity and community are important, but you have to balance that ultimately with the safety of every person who lives here," Amanda Barany said.

And by Tuesday evening, places like the Schuylkill River Trail looked no different.

"The trail is very crowded," Mike Rubenstein said.

"It's very difficult to ride bikes on the trail, it's only about 8-feet-wide and everyone tries to social distance 6 feet and it doesn't work," he said.

"With the weather breaking, it's hard to stay in the house," Tyron Banks said. "I'm stir-crazy and I'm sure everyone else is too."

And some worry that desperation to get out will only get worse.

"It's easier to get complacent as the weather gets better and the days go by and realize, 'Hey I'm not sick yet, maybe I won't get sick,'" Barany said.