Some Nassau County beaches open only to county residents

1010 WINS Newsroom
May 19, 2020 - 2:05 pm
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    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced on Tuesday that she is signing an order that would open county-operated beach Nickerson Beach at 50 percent capacity and only allow residents to enter.

    In an interview with 1010 WINS Tuesday afternoon, Curran said she made the decision "for the interest of the health and safety of (county) residents."

    Nickerson Beach will remain closed to non-residents until New York City decides to reopen its own beaches, she said. 

    "I completely understand and respect (Mayor Bill de Blasio's) decision, and I feel I have to make a decision that is in the best interest of our residents as well," Curran said. "County residents pay taxes on beaches and parks. We want to make sure they get the opportunity to enjoy them."

    Most people get to Nickerson Beach by car, so the county will check driver's licenses and "Leisure Passes" to ensure beachgoers are residents, Curran added, though she noted staff and public safety officers would not check the IDs of every single person in the car.  

    "People have been very good throughout this crisis and we certainly know people are smart enough to know what the rules are, and expect people to continue to handle this with the aplomb and the grace they've been handling it with throughout," she said. 

    Additionally, the Town of Hempstead announced its beaches will also be closed off to non-residents. Jones Beach, will remain open to all as it is a state-operated beach.

    Towns will be able to "make their own call" about whether or not to permit non-residents when it comes to their own beaches, Curran noted. 

    Beaches in Suffolk County on Long Island will be open Memorial Day weekend, but only to Suffolk residents, County Executive Steve Bellone said Monday.

    On Friday, he tweeted, "NEW: Suffolk County will open its beaches on #MemorialDay weekend .... Beachgoers will be required to wear face coverings in public areas + maintain social distancing."

    But on Monday he tweeted, "NEW: Access to County beaches on #MemorialDay weekend will be reserved for Suffolk residents only. It's my priority that Suffolk residents will have access to their beaches with #COVID19 safety rules in place."

    He added in a subsequent tweet, "This policy reflects the reality that there will be reduced capacity since other municipal beaches outside of Long Island will remain closed at this time."

    Suffolk is home to the Hamptons and other beach communities popular with city residents -- and not all have their own homes or places to stay.  So it's unclear how this rule will affect them.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last Friday, one day after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced that beaches along the Jersey Shore will reopen by Memorial Day, that state beaches in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware would reopen for Memorial Day.

    “If other states were opening, and New York wasn’t, you’d have millions of people flooding those beaches,” Cuomo said. “There’d be a problem, and that wouldn’t help anyone.”

    Local governments, though, could still make their own decisions about their beaches, including not to open them.

    So count out New York City: Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that the city's beaches will not open for Memorial Day weekend, saying it was "not in the cards." He previously said, "Places where a lot of people might congregate create a real danger. We have to know we can manage them properly and there could be proper enforcement and that the time is right. So the indicators will tell us when we can start opening up and we’re going to do it very carefully."

    New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware will all allow beaches and lakeshores to open the Friday before Memorial Day, but at 50 percent capacity, Cuomo said. He said employees at beaches will be required to wear masks. 

    Contact sports such as football and volleyball will be prohibited.

    Amusement parks, arcades and playgrounds will also remain closed.

    Beaches

    Gov. Murphy announced on Thursday local officials must establish capacity limitations, enforce social distancing measures, prohibit contact sports and organized events, and implement proper and regular sanitation.

    Murphy said state officials are in direct discussions with leaders “up and down the Shore at all levels of government ... We will leave it to local officials to determine how best to implement these measures ... We know there is no one-size-fits-all approach."

    He said that shower pavilions, changing areas and restrooms will be open for visitors at the beaches, adding that restroom facilities at parks will also reopen.

    Murphy said boardwalk restaurants must continue to operate for take-out and delivery only.

    He said amusement parks, playgrounds and visitor centers must remain closed "for the time being." He added "this is not a life sentence" and that "we could have a dramatically different reality a month from today."