LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Island officials say it’s not a matter of “not in my backyard.” It’s a matter of health and safety. They cannot have city residents flooding limited beach space.
As a result, Long Beach is now among a growing list with residents-only rules, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Wednesday.
The Long Beach boardwalk will re-open Thursday, its coronavirus closure ending with social distancing rules, and its prized beaches, when open on weekends, will be just for residents. Many have lined up for days for beach passes.
“I absolutely love the idea that it’s residents only. It should be that way all the time,” one person said.
“I wouldn’t mind other people, but it’s gotta be open at least for the people who live here,” another said.
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It’s the same story across Long Island’s local beaches. Nassau County passed a law Wednesday banning non-residents at its county beach, after the regional approach went out the window when Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to open New York City beaches. He and County Executive Laura Curran, however, have been talking.
“He has density issues that we don’t have. I respect his decision. And at the same time, I want to make sure our residents get the benefit of their beach,” Curran said.
And when beaches open Friday, there will be new procedures for lifeguards.
“If a lifeguard makes a rescue or makes patient contact it’s going to be mandatory that they take a shower,” said Mike Romano, the head lifeguard at Point Lookout. “There is a flat tow, a surfboard rescue, so there are techniques that will minimize patient contact.”
Town of Hempstead beaches will do daily symptom and temperature checks for lifeguards, and stands and personal protection equipment (PPE) will disinfected between shifts.
“That lifeguard that did the rescue will hand off to another lifeguard that has a full set of gear,” said Dr. David Neubrick, the town’s medical director.
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“No one wants to be policed at the beach … We are here to help,” Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin said.
Beaches will be capped at 50% capacity. Every other space in the parking lots will be blocked. Beachgoers will be asked to keep towels 10 feet apart. Coveted rental cabanas are closed for now and Nassau County officials said private beach clubs must also follow 50% capacity state guidelines.
“Let’s all do this properly. Let’s all respect each other’s space. Bring your masks. Do as well as you can, so that we can continue to have this,” State Sen. Todd Kaminsky said.
If you’re wondering if these residents-only rules will be the new normal from now on, at least one municipality said that won’t be the case. Nassau plans to drop its residents-only rules as soon as New York City beaches open.