Long Island Beach Season Extended As Lifeguards Remain On Duty Through September

A crowded Jones Beach on Saturday, July 19_3_1
Crowds packed Jones Beach State Park on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Photo by Mira Lerner.

Many beaches on Long Island will keep lifeguards on duty through the end of September, beyond the usual end of beach season at the conclusion of Labor Day weekend.

Lifeguard coverage will continue at New York State parks on LI, Suffolk County-run Smith Point, Cupsogue, and Meschutt beaches as well as Nassau County’s Nickerson Beach, officials announced Thursday. The extension of beach season comes as New York City residents are staying longer on Long Island, where there is less risk of the coronavirus pandemic than the harder-hit city.

“There’s gonna be no Tumbleweed Tuesday this year on Long Island,” said Kristen Jarnagin, President and CEO of Discover Long Island, the region’s tourism bureau, referring to the day after Labor Day when beach towns typically become ghost towns.

Officials hope the decision to extend lifeguard coverage at local bathing beaches will help small tourism-dependent businesses that saw the first two months of beach season cut short due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“We are giving plenty of opportunity for park visitors or those individuals who would like to come swimming in the waters around Long Island, which are about low 70s right now,” said George Gorman Jr., regional director for the state Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. “The water is beautiful, the air temperature usually cooperates in September … so it’s a fantastic time to come and swim.”

Jones Beach State Park, Robert Moses State Park, Sunken Meadow State Park, and Hither Hills State Park will remain open daily for swimming through Sept. 20, while Wildwood State Park will remain life-guarded on weekends through the same date, he said.

“We can’t promise endless summer, but we can promise extended summer,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, noting that Nickerson Beach lifeguards will remain on duty weekends through Sept. 27.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone noted that while beach season ends on Labor Day, it’s still summer until the autumn equinox arrives on Sept. 22.

“September is a beautiful month and it is a great time to be at the beaches and our parks,” he said. “Come on down to the beach, we’re not done yet!”

Pandemic rules such as county residents only being allowed at Nassau- and Suffolk-run beaches, as well as masks and social distancing, will remain in effect through the extended beach season.

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