(CNN)In the battle between government stay-at-home orders and warm spring weather, the weather won this weekend.
In New York City and Washington, DC, people who'd been cooped up for weeks flocked to parks and open spaces on Saturday -- and many of them appeared to be observing social distancing rules to combat Covid-19.
Though they live in the coronavirus epicenter, New Yorkers flooded Central Park as temperatures rose into the mid-70s. They spread blankets for sun bathing in Strawberry Fields and zoomed down paths on bikes.
The city government, knowing people would come out for the weather, put 1,000 officers on the street this weekend to enforce social distancing and also gave away free face masks.
Mayor Bill De Blasio told CNN on Saturday afternoon that its "totally understandable" that folks want to go out get some exercise and fresh air but adds the message has been "don't linger too long, get back home" and "while you're out there keep that face covering on, keep that social distance."
He said enforcement numbers were "quite good," while not going into specifics. "We expected this and we prepared for this," he said.
Charisse Hill of the New York City Parks Department told CNN that while there is a volume of visitors in Central Park and Prospect Park, most are in compliance.
New York state is on "pause" through May 15, with residents required to wear masks in most public situations.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that coronavirus deaths in the state remain "obnoxiously and terrifyingly high." State deaths were 299 as of May 1, up slightly from 289 from the previous 24 hours. New Covid-19 cases are down to 831.
In Washington, DC, residents crowded the National Mall to watch a flyover by the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds -- despite pleas from the aerial teams that people stay home.
The crowds appeared to be in greater number on the mall between the US Capitol and Washington Monument, CNN reporters said. CNN's Sarah Westwood said that about half the people she saw on the Mall wore masks.
The precision flying teams also flew over Baltimore and Atlanta to honor essential workers.
CNN has reached out to the Washington mayor for comment. The city is under a stay-home order through May 15.
Eased restrictions in many states
It was a scene that played out elsewhere.
Residents in various states across the country began to dabble in semblances of some weekend routines after governors began easing restrictions put in place to combat the novel coronavirus.
That might mean going to a movie in Georgia, working out with a personal trainer in Colorado or dropping by a dispensary in Nevada -- with restrictions for spacing and sanitation.
More than 30 states have begun easing social distancing restrictions -- ranging from simply opening state parks to allowing some businesses to restart.
Some of those states have let stay-at-home orders expire, with caveats restricting what businesses can open and how. One such state, Georgia, still requires the elderly to stay home until June 12. Other states and counties will ease restrictions starting Monday.
Gyms and fitness centers will reopen in Arkansas on May 4, while hair salons will follow May 6. In Northern California's Yuba and Sutter counties, restaurants, tattoo parlors and shopping malls will be allowed to open Monday, which will also be the first workday for many offices in Colorado, with operations limited to 50% capacity.
In Montana, bars and breweries will also be allowed to provide some in-establishment services starting Monday. According to current plans, more than 40 states will have eased restrictions by May 10.
The changes come even as experts warn that lifting measures now could be deadly.
"You're making a big mistake. It's going to cost lives," Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician and disaster preparedness specialist at Columbia University Medical Center, told CNN Friday.
In a report, Redlener and Joseph Fair, a senior fellow in pandemic policy at Texas A&M University, said no city or state should begin to reduce restrictions until coronavirus infections have been steadily decreasing for 10 days to two weeks, and not until enough tests are available to track just how many people really are infected.
But the country continues to lag behind in testing and months since the beginning of the outbreak is still unable to perform the millions of tests that economists and public heath experts said last month will be required before measures can be safely lifted.
More shopping in Georgia, and open parks in New Jersey
In Georgia, retail stores were allowed to reopen Friday, with distancing and sanitation caveats. In the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, shoppers ventured out to the Avalon outdoor mall, where about 20 of roughly 100 stores reopened.
While most of the open shops offered only curbside pickup or appointment shopping, Altar'd State, a women's clothing store, allowed walk-in guests, though only 10 people inside at a time, including employees. Associates wore gloves and regularly sanitized fitting rooms.
Every article of clothing that a customer tried on but didn't purchase was placed into a high-temperature steaming machine before being returned to racks.
Outside, retired nurse Kate Martin waited her turn to enter the store. She said she'd been eager to get out of her house for some fresh air -- but she still had reservations about coming.
"I still think it might be a little too soon to come back out and be this close together. So, we'll see," she said. "Let's hope the outcome is good."
Mall workers distributed masks to guests, though not every guest chose to wear them.
A week earlier, Georgia allowed bowling alleys, gyms and personal-service stores such as nail salons and barber shops to reopen, with similar distancing and sanitation requirements. Restaurants were permitted to open Monday.
In New Jersey, general stay-at-home rules still are in place -- but state parks and golf courses were allowed to reopen starting Saturday so people can "get some fresh air," as Gov. Phil Murphy has said.
Linda Hoffman seized the opportunity Saturday, taking her dog for a walk in Jakes Branch County Park in Beachwood, the Asbury Park Press reported
"I felt like I was let out of prison today," Hoffman told the newspaper. "If they have to do this slowly, I'm OK with that. But we need to move forward."
People still are going to a closed California beach
Beaches in Orange County, California, were Saturday closed after officials decided too many people packed some shores last weekend.
But dozens of people were on the shores of Huntington Beach Saturday morning-- some surfing, some walking and some sitting or lying in the sand, generally spread out from each other.
"It felt a little targeted ... on Orange County specifically because of what happened last weekend" one surfer, Greg Frank, told CNN at the beach Saturday.
He said he believed the beach last week was packed with people from counties that had tougher restrictions at the time -- and that therefore Orange County was now paying an unfair price for hosting those visitors.
Later Saturday, most people had been cleared off the beach, CNN's Paul Vercammen reported.
Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates told him the city felt it was unfair for the state to close Huntington Beach while allowing other beaches, such as those in San Diego County, to remain open.
On Friday, up to 3,000 people gathered in Huntington Beach to protest the closure.
Protests also were held Friday well to the north -- in California's capital, Sacramento -- over Newsom's larger stay-at-home order for the state. More than 30 people were arrested Friday during that demonstration, CNN affiliate KCRA reported.