By Ted Scouten

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Crowds built throughout the morning on Fort Lauderdale as those who had the day off for the Labor Day holiday decided to hit the sand and waves.

Brittany Ponder, who is visiting, and her friends got there early to get a good spot.

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“Just because we wanted to get someplace on the beach that’s not around a lot of people,” she said.

Getting a good spot means one that leaves enough space from the people around so you have social distancing. They were here on Sunday and said it was pretty crowded.

“It was really crazy, no social distancing, absolutely insane, but super fun,” said Ponder.

“Yesterday, I wouldn’t say it was jam-packed. There were a lot of people on the beach, I’ve seen it more packed just on a regular day,” said resident Sadia Mohammad. “Today, I’m expecting it to be jammed packed being that it is Labor Day that’s why we’re here a little earlier.”

Others, however, found their beach time this weekend to be filled with plenty of space and people following the COVID guidelines.

“The fact that it’s Labor Day and they actually opened the beach is really good because there’s nothing else to do because of COVID,” said Nia Lloyd.

“I think it’s great. Everybody’s spaced out. Everyone’s having a good time. It’s been awesome,” said Jane King.

She and her group had their own little space carved out following social distancing guidelines. Mother Nature may have kept the beach from being packed all day as clouds hung around much of the afternoon.

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“It was raining on and off but it just ended up being a great day. Everybody’s respecting each other’s space,” said King.

Fort Lauderdale Police were out in force on the beach and waterways. So far, they’re reporting a good weekend.

“Our officers know what safety restrictions are in place. They are not writing citations, they are simply reminding everyone that those things are place and please be mindful,” said police Sgt. DeAnna Greenlaw.

On Las Olas, it’s been a busy weekend. Fort Lauderdale Code officers tell us on Friday and Saturday business inspections went well and no fines were issued either on Las Olas or on the beach.

“You can see the tables are being wiped down right after everyone’s done eating and using the tables themselves. That’s a phenomenal thing,” said code compliance officer Manny Garcia.

Garcia said he hasn’t seen many problems this weekend in his restaurant checks.

“I got to tell you, Friday and Saturday have been very calm,” he said. “This weekend, surprisingly, we haven’t come across a lot of violations.”

And not to get lost in all this, this is a day to celebrate the American worker. Mohammed was laid off due to the pandemic. But on this Labor Day, she’s focused on new opportunities to open her own business.

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“I really feel Americans have a lot of hope and a lot of fight in them, so I think we’re going to make it through the pandemic and come out even better, to be honest with you,” she said.

Ted Scouten