Long Island municipalities are increasingly enacting measures restricting access to local beaches to residents only after New York City decided not to reopen its beaches in time for Memorial Day weekend.
The Town of Brookhaven issued a residents-only rule for its four beaches: Davis Park on Fire Island, Cedar Beach in Mt. Sinai, Corey Beach in Blue Point, and West Meadow in Stony Brook. The City of Long Beach also reopened its boardwalk to the public but limited its oceanfront park to city residents only.
“Out of an abundance of caution and to safeguard the wellbeing of City of Long Beach residents, we are implementing these protective, temporary measures that we will re-evaluate as we head into the summer months,” said Long Beach City Council President John Bendo.“We look forward to welcoming the hundreds of thousands of visitors to Long Beach from the neighboring communities in the future. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will enact these restrictive but lifesaving measures until further notice.”
New York State beaches on LI, such as Jones Beach State Park, remain open to all New Yorkers, although all beaches will be capped at 50 percent capacity to maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of coronavirus. Beaches on LI run by the 13 towns and 95 villages will each set their own rules before opening, pending state approval.
The moves in Long Beach and Brookhaven come after Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Smith Point County Park and Cupsogue Beach County Park will be limited to Suffolk residents only. Nassau County followed suit and restricted access to Nickerson Beach Park to Nassau residents. And the Town of Hempstead, which borders the city, also restricted access to its beaches — Lido Beach Town Park and Point Lookout Beach — to Nassau residents.
The Town of Huntington issued similar restrictions Wednesday opening its beaches to town residents only. Huntington beaches will also open on a staggered schedule, with Centerport Beach, Crab Meadow Beach in Northport, Hobart Beach in Eaton’s Neck, and Quentin Sammis West Neck Beach in Lloyd Harbor opening for Memorial Day weekend. Opening on May 30 will be Fleets Cove Beach in Centerport and Gold Star Battalion Beach in Huntington. And opening on June 6 will be Asharoken Beach and Crescent Beach in Huntington Bay.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said LI beaches should welcome city residents.
“This should not be about any ill feeling towards people depending on where they come from,” he told WPIX.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said Nickerson Beach, which has 2,000 parking spaces, will be capped at 1,000 vehicles to enforce the 50 percent capacity rule. Drivers will be asked to show identification to prove they are Nassau residents. And public safety officers will be enforcing social distancing and mask rules.
Nassau County Legislator Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), presiding officer of the county legislature, which passed the measure Wednesday banning non-Nassau residents at Nickerson, said the move is only temporary.
“Once the mayor of the city opens the beaches, this legislation will sunset,” he said.
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