The Centers for Disease Control begged youngsters not to join in the annual beach booze-fest in fears it could fuel a spike in COVID-19 infections.
But tanked-up partygoers in South Padre Island scoffed at the idea of wearing masks or socially distancing as they swarmed the sand to sink $2 beers with college pals.
‘I’m here to drink, meet people and have fun – no masks,’ said Alyssa Quinlan, 21, a sophomore studying agriculture at Texas A&M. ‘Stay home if you’re sick. Come party if you’re not.’
Jocelyn Patterson, a 21-year-old clothing store worker from Des Moines, Iowa was similarly blasé about the killer virus which has claimed 536,000 American lives to date, including 46,819 Texans.
‘South Padre is lit. It feels like everything is normal again here,’ she told DailyMail.com. ‘I’m over Corona, it’s so last year.’
Spring break forever: Hundreds of college students flocked to South Padre Island, Texas this week to kick off Spring Break celebrations, one year after the coronavirus pandemic lockdown
Most of this week’s action was happening at Clayton’s – ‘the Biggest Beach Bar in Texas’ – which puts on daily parties on the sand with DJs, booze giveaways and twerking competitions
Party time: A group from Kansas, drove 16 hours to spend Spring Break on South Padre Island
No mask, no problem! Advice from health officials fell on deaf ears as hardly any revelers were seen wearing protective face coverings or practicing social distancing on the crowded beach
Social distancing wasn’t on the cards either for girlfriends Carlyn Briganti, 19, Bella Burgin, 21, and Hannah Westerdale, 21, who flew down from the University of Omaha Nebraska
Coronavirus, who? Hundreds of young partygoers packed the sand as they partied this week, after officials opened city beaches with no restrictions last week
South Padre Island, a sleepy beach town of 5,000 people at the southernmost tip of the Lone Star State, transforms into a pulsating party mecca every March for Spring Breakers from Texas and beyond.
The influx is worth about $34million each year to the resort’s economy which depends on tourism and was decimated by last year’s lockdown which meant hotels and bars had to shutter just as the season was getting into full swing.
It came as no surprise, therefore, when one week ago officials declared: ‘Beaches within the city limits are OPEN with NO restrictions effective March 10, 2021.’
That came on the heels of Texas Governor Greg Abbott scrapping the state’s mask mandate and allowing businesses to return to 100 percent capacity – a move slammed by President Joe Biden as ‘Neanderthal thinking’.
Infections are falling across the US but CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky backed up Biden on Saturday when she warned that maskless Spring Breakers could cause a fresh uptick.
A young woman downs her beer from a beer bong syringe (left) while another take a swig of liquor straight from the bottle
South Padre Island, a sleepy beach town of 5,000 people at the southernmost tip of the Lone Star State, transforms into a pulsating party mecca every March for Spring Breakers from Texas and beyond
Some revelers set up tables on the sand to play rounds of beer pong and other drinking games
College students flocked to the popular party island after Texas Governor Greg Abbott scrapped the state’s mask mandate and allowed businesses to return to 100 percent capacity
Chug, chug, chug: A young reveler is seen pouring a can of beer down his friend’s throat in the middle of the crowd
Many spring breakers made sure to come equipped with beer funnels and beer sticks to binge-drink on the beach
Bottom’s up: The beer syringe appeared to be a popular drinking accessory among the crowd
One reveler was seen chugging a beer in seconds with the help of his beer bong syringe, as he sat on his friend’s shoulders
The Centers for Disease Control had earlier begged youngsters not to join in the annual beach booze-fest in fears it could fuel a spike in COVID-19 infections
‘With the coming warmer weather, I know it’s tempting to want to relax and to let our guard down, particularly after a hard winter that sadly saw the highest level of cases and deaths during the pandemic so far,’ Walensky said.
‘I’m pleading with you, for the sake of our nation’s health. Cases climbed last spring, they climbed again in the summer, they will climb now if we stop taking precautions when we continue to get more and more people vaccinated.’
On the South Padre strip her warning fell on deaf ears with the overwhelming majority of visitors walking around without masks and ignoring social distancing guidelines.
Numbers were still significantly down from 2019 but things were picking up this week with many of the big Texas universities taking their Spring Breaks.
Influencer Theodore Schneider, 29, strolled the beach with Panda, his American pit-bull, to take photos for his YouTube Channel.
At Clayton’s Beach Bar, six female entrants took turns to outdo one another, flashing their breasts and waggling their fannies as an employee hosed them down
Wet t-shirt contest: The girls were seen letting loose and flashing the crowd as they took part in the raunchy Spring Break tradition
One participant caused a spectacle while shaking her behind for the crowd after being hosed down from head to toe
The crowd roared with approval as the field was narrowed to the two sexiest dancers, with DailyMail.com asked to cast the winning vote
Vanessa Cozamanis, 21, from Adelaide, Australia, is a student at South East Oklahoma State University. She took 1st place in the “So You Think You Can Dance” contest at Clayton’s Beach Bar
‘It’s been great, the numbers are really picking up. I’ve seen it all: girls flashing their titties, chugging beers, having fun,’ laughed Theodore from Covington, Kentucky.
‘As for masks and social distancing, I haven’t seen a lot of that. I don’t care about it.’
Social distancing wasn’t on the cards either for girlfriends Carlyn Briganti, 19, Hannah Westerdale, 21, and Bella Burgin, 21, who flew down from the University of Omaha Nebraska.
The girls said there were 16 people sleeping on various beds, couches and air mattresses at their five-bed Airbnb rental.
‘It’s cold and rainy in Omaha so we wanted to get to the beach to have fun with friends,’ Hannah told DailyMail.com. ‘They make you wear masks there too but there’s no mask mandate in Texas, yeah baby.’
Bella, 21, added: ‘All of us got tested before we came because we live in dorms and we will get tested as soon as we get back. Everyone here is negative.
The majority of partygoers seemed completely unfazed by the prospect of contracting coronavirus as they were seen partying and huddling close together with no masks in sight
Partygoers were seen basking in the sun and knocking back drinks as they welcomed Governor Greg Abbott’s reopening of the state
South Padre Island’s annual spring break celebration brings in about $34million each year to the resort’s economy which depends on tourism and was decimated by last year’s lockdown which meant hotels and bars had to shutter just as the season was getting into full swing
Scenes from the massive party showed spring breakers were partying just as hard as pre-COVID times
Down on the beach, DJ Gozo blasted trap music from a deafening sound system while an MC hyped up the crowd – telling them: ‘Daily Mail is here, let’s go viral’
A young man hoisted on a friend’s shoulders is seen guzzling from a bottle of rum in the middle of the crowd
Some revelers told DailyMail.com South Padre Island was their Spring Break destination of choice because ‘Texas is at 100 percent capacity’ and free of restrictions
‘Some of us have had Covid. Some of us are already vaccinated too. We are doing what we can to stay safe but also trying to live a normal life.’
Most of this week’s action was happening at Clayton’s – ‘the Biggest Beach Bar in Texas’ – which puts on daily parties on the sand with DJs, booze giveaways and twerking competitions.
The oceanfront venue was teeming with revelers, much to the pleasure of owner Clayton Brashear, who asks his staff to wear masks but imposes zero restrictions on his patrons.
‘It started out a little slow but we plan on being busy now that the Governor has opened the state,’ said Clayton, 60.
‘Last year the pandemic hit in the middle of Spring Break and we had to shut everything down. It was pretty tragic. We had to let go of a lot of employees and the hotels emptied out.
‘People are enjoying making money again and hopefully the stimulus package will help. Let’s get on with our lives.’
Down on the beach DJ Gozo blasted trap music from a deafening sound system while an MC hyped up the crowd – telling them: ‘Daily Mail is here, let’s go viral.’
Moments later he announced free beer for the next 50 people – aged 21 or over – at the bar.
As the day wore on at Clayton’s the $2 Busch Lights and $11.75 Tsunami cocktails proved too much for some, with several girls led away by cops looking the worse for wear
Two girls are arrested in the parking lot of Clayton’s Beach Bar on South Padre Island, Texas on Monday
South Padre Island Police Department, Texas State Police, Homeland Security and numbers other local and Federal Agencies were present at the scene to keep out-of-control partygoers in check
Ouch! Edward Andrew, 22, from Pharr, Texas, face plants in the sand after attempting a back flip on the beach of South Padre Island on Monday, March 15
Some revelers told DailyMail.com they did take some health precautions ahead of the festivities by getting tested for COVID-19, and plan to get tested again once they return home
‘I’ve had Covid already. It was pretty bad but I feel like everybody needs to look after themselves,’ said Spg Austin Smith, 21, who was on a week’s leave from US Army Fort Hood and was lucky enough to snag a Bud Light.
Like everyone else waiting in line for the freebie, he wasn’t masked up.
The oceanfront venue was teeming with revelers, much to the pleasure of owner Clayton Brashear (pictured) who asks his staff to wear masks but imposes zero restrictions on his patrons
Neither was Lorenz Stitt, a 25-year-old criminal justice senior at Texas A&M, who handed out Mardi Gras beads to friends and loaded up a beer bong.
‘Why South Padre? Texas is at 100 percent capacity,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘It’s the only state where you can do whatever you want.’
His friend Alex Cupit, 22, a nursing student, insisted he took Covid seriously but didn’t need a mask because he received his second dose of the vaccine last week.
‘It made me feel a lot more comfortable. As for all these other people, I don’t think it matters to them what you or I think,’ he said.
As the day wore on at Clayton’s the $2 Busch Lights and $11.75 Tsunami cocktails proved too much for some, with several girls led away by cops looking the worse for wear.
Various law enforcement agencies, including the Texas State Police, Texas Game Wardens and even Homeland Security, were on hand to support the tiny South Padre Island Police Department, though not in the huge numbers seen most years.
Probably just as well, seeing as the US-Mexico border is just 10 miles away and authorities across the region are struggling with a massive influx of illegal migrant crossings.
None of that mattered to the partygoers at South Padre Island, however, as it was time for the wet t-shirt contest.
Six female entrants took turns to outdo one another, flashing their breasts and waggling their fannies as a Clayton’s employee hosed them down.
The crowd roared with approval as the field was narrowed to the two sexiest dancers, with DailyMail.com asked to cast the winning vote.
A couple of college girls were seen representing their sororities and some fraternities by writing Greek letters on their body with marker
Greek life: Sorority and fraternity club letters and flags were spotted around the beach on South Padre Island
At least one spring breaker was seen practicing coronavirus health guidelines by wearing a mask among the crowd
First prize went to 18-year-old Nikki Jay who drove 16 hours with her mom Angie to party the week away in South Padre. And yes, Angie was in the crowd to cheer her on.
‘My mom is my biggest hype fan,’ gushed Nikki, who attends the University of Kansas and is from Kansas City, Missouri.
Nikki didn’t travel as far as the winner of the afternoon’s other big attraction, the ‘So You Think You Can Dance Contest’.
Vanessa Cozamanis from Adelaide, Australia twerked her way to first place after her closest rival was disqualified for nearly toppling off the stage.
‘Wherever the party takes me it’s an experience,’ mused Vanessa, 21, who is studying at Southeast Oklahoma State University.
‘I was worried about Covid but then I caught it two months ago so they say I should be good for 90 days. I think people should be wearing masks but what are you gonna do?
‘This is America after all, it’s the land of the free.’
Amid the booming bass, beers and babes there was one sight that stood out more than any other on South Padre Island, however.
Ashton Hefner, a 24-year-old computer science student from Texas State University, was rocking a black face mask with a flame motif.
‘I don’t care if I’m the only one with a mask, I’m just smart,’ he told DailyMail.com.
‘I don’t want to catch Covid and get sick for two weeks. I’m here to have fun, enjoy my vacation and stay safe.’