JONES BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Beaches across the tri-state area will be open this Memorial Day weekend, but you’ll want to know the rules before you go because not everyone is allowed in some areas.
Jones Beach lifeguard Cory Lapp arrived laden with snacks for his first responder friends.
“I’m glad to be back. Summer’s here,” he told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Rejoicing comes easy across South Shore ocean beaches and boardwalks, where a battle brewed all week between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Long Island leaders.
“It’s a Memorial Day like no other. Local governments have had to sort of adjust their policies,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin said.
Nassau and Suffolk’s town, village and county beaches are closed to outsiders, allowing in local residents only and banning New York City folks.
Worried about spreading COVID-19, borough beaches are not open for swimming this holiday weekend.
“To the mayor — now that virus levels are low in May, you’ve got everything closed. It just doesn’t make sense,” one man said.
Swimming became political.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he stepped in to pick up the slack.
“We are really happy to be the ones really taking people in from across the state,” State Parks Commissioner Eric Kulleseid said.
“If it’s a state park, people should be allowed to use it,” one woman said.
“Getting fresh air is really important,” another woman said.
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Friday, beaches weren’t close to 50% full with an unexpectedly low turnout.
“Not as packed as I thought it’d be,” one man said.
“It’s actually lighter than some other days,” another man said.
Loads of state and parks police and rangers were patrolling, helping keep beach towels separated. New lifeguard safety protocols are being enforced.
Masks and gloves are available for those who ask and hand sanitizer can be found every few feet.
There are no umbrellas or beach chairs available and no concessions on the boardwalk.
Still, there’s much to be thankful for.
“We have family members in the armed forces,” one man said.
“My grandfather served in World War II,” another man said.
“My father was a veteran. My brother was a veteran,” one woman said.
“To our amazing veterans who don’t get the love and respect they deserve,” another man said.