Health experts warn that crowded businesses and parks could cause a coronavirus spike in Georgia

ATLANTA — Temperatures soared into the 80s over the weekend, and people took advantage of blue skies and freshly reopened restaurants, making some nervous that cases of coronavirus could spike again in Georgia.

Channel 2 Action News photographers captured similar scenes across metro Atlanta -- jammed parks and restaurants with large crowds outside closed or severely limited dining rooms. One midtown Atlanta restaurant had dozens of people drinking and dancing outside on the sidewalks at night.

State Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey said the video clearly shows the group violating Gov. Brian Kemp’s order to limit gatherings to 10 people.

[RELATED: Here are the rules for restaurants reopening in Georgia]

“It’s disappointing because I feel that individuals, particularly the young people, may think they are not at risk, that they’re vulnerable but they’re going home to their parents and grandparents,” Toomey said.

Toomey told Channel 2′s Tom Regan that people cannot let their guard down against COVID-19 just because the state is reopening the economy.

She encouraged people to still practice social distancing and wear masks in community settings, like stores and anywhere people are in close quarters.

“This virus didn’t go away,” Toomey said. “The curve was flattened but the virus is still here.”

The Georgia State Patrol is one of several law enforcement agencies tasked with enforcing the governor’s executive order.

Regan showed Lt. Stephanie Stallings the video that shows a huge crowd outside a restaurant.

“There are a lot of things wrong with the video, first and foremost you can see groups larger than 10 gathered,” Stallings said. “The business owners should be responsible for self-enforcing these things before we have to be called.”

The Georgia State Patrol has been called to dozens of potential violations across the state but only issued about 20 citations. They carry fines and possible jail time.

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