Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, though the season doesn’t technically start for another few weeks.

Weather usually dictates how people plan their holiday weekend, from memorial parades to wreath-layings, family gatherings to trips.

This year, however, Gov. Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 put a halt to most plans in Lancaster County.

While most of the state will be in the yellow “reopening” phase by Monday, Lancaster County remains officially in the red — despite Republican county leadership’s self-proclaimed move to yellow last Friday.

Pools won’t open.

Parades won’t be held.

Ceremonies honoring fallen soldiers won’t happen or will become virtual events.

Shore towns in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland might be open, but their rules vary and all revolve around COVID-19 and quarantine. Families will again be told to stay at home, to social distance, to wear masks, to stay apart.

It will be a Memorial Day unlike those we’ve experienced before, with more backyard barbecues and homemade entertainment.

Here’s what to expect if you plan to stay here or if you decide to head out of state.

Lancaster County

Columbia Borough Manager Mark Stivers said the borough is “struggling to figure out what to do” in the current environment. He said the borough is canceling larger public events altogether “because we still see ourselves as being in the red stage” of Wolf's mitigation plan.

Other municipalities also have scuttled plans.

Parades in Marietta, Manheim Township, Lititz and Churchtown have been canceled, according to event organizers, officials and social media posts.

A ceremony at the Marietta cemetery near West Fairview Avenue, North Gay Street and North Bridge Street has also been canceled, Marietta Mayor Harold Kulman said Wednesday.

The American Legion is planning a virtual memorial by gathering information of fallen soldiers, through both members and nonmembers, and sharing them regularly on its social media channels over the weekend.

Shore towns

Despite the calls for social distancing and staying home, many nearby beaches will be open for the holiday weekend.

In New Jersey, beaches and boardwalks will be open but with numerous restrictions such as social distancing, according to an executive order from Gov. Phil Murphy.

Scheduled to take effect Friday, the order will allow families or couples to be together in close proximity at the beach and otherwise keep a distance of 6 feet from others.

Officials in Ocean City, Maryland, are advising visitors to beaches there to practice social distancing and to wear a mask if possible, according to a post on the resort town’s Facebook page.

Those planning to visit Delaware beaches should be aware of an order from Gov. John Carney that mandates a 14-day quarantine for any out-of-state visitors.


A rainy start to the holiday weekend will end with a pleasant Memorial Day for those sticking around the county, according to weather forecasts.

Temperatures will be in the mid- to upper 60s Friday with a chance of rain, according to the Millersville University Weather Information Center and AccuWeather. Saturday will warm up by about 10 degrees with a chance of a rain, according to the center. AccuWeather is calling for a chance of a thunderstorm Saturday.

Both are calling for a pleasant Sunday and Monday, with temperatures in the low 70s.

The weather at the beach will be cooler, according to AccuWeather, which is calling for temperatures in the low 60s Friday, Sunday and Monday in Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. Saturday will be 70 with a chance of a thunderstorm.