LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Memorial Day is looking very different depending on what part of New York’s coastline you are visiting.
CBS2’s Tara Jakeway went to Long Beach to see what was going on there.
It was pretty packed, with no parking spots in sight, and on the main street businesses are happy to have the traffic, Jakeway reported.
But over at the beach, it was a very different story.
“Welcome to Long Beach” reads a permanent sign. But across the street, motorists were met with signs this Memorial Day saying “Non-residents not welcome.”
- Resources, Hotlines, Unemployment & Covering Bills
- Remote Learning Tools For Parents Teaching At Home
- Ask Dr. Max Your Health Questions
- How Make Your Own DIY Face Mask
- How To Safely Remove Disposable Gloves
- Tips For Parents To Help Kids Cope
- Chopper 2 Over Empty NYC Streets, Landmarks
- Complete Coronavirus Coverage
A few blocks down, locals waited six feet apart to get their beach passes, exclusive to those with a Long Beach ID. Officials say turning away non-residents is a lifesaving measure.
“I think we have to control people getting sick. So hopefully it will come to an end soon, but you have to follow rules,” said Long Beach resident Jean Rosshirt.
The ban, which took effect Saturday, only allows Long Beach’s 30,000 residents to step foot on the sand. Some out-of-towners understand.
“I think until they get to a point we’re getting the numbers down and the people losing their lives down, I think it’s a good idea,” said Lynbrook resident Charles Harris.
“I’m OK. We can go to Jones Beach or Robert Moses or the Town of Hempstead beaches. So it’s fine,” said Merrick resident Lisa Able.
Those state beaches are open and have more capacity. The measure in Long Beach is an added effort to meet the state regulation limiting beach occupancy to 50%.
“There’s plenty of beach for everybody,” said Judy Martin.
Pandemic or not, she says everyone should have equal access, especially today.
CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
“We honor the people that sacrificed their lives so that we could be free to get passes to go to the beach,” she said.
But it turns out visitors to the city by the sea are free to enjoy the boardwalk.
“Why is it more safe for me to be on a boardwalk then walking in the sand? There’s more space for people to be walking around,” said Great Neck resident Joe Allen.
And he’s not the only one confused.
“With the boardwalk, you don’t have to be a resident. So I’m not sure what good it does,” one Long Beach resident told Jakeway. She said 75% of people she sees on her walk are not wearing masks.
“I was walking on the boardwak and I dont feel safe. So I’m down here,” she said.
But inland she runs the risk of crowds that bar managers admit have been gathering, despite regulations.
“It’s absolutely happening. We all know that people want to get out and socialize as much as possible. It’s Memorial Day Weekend. Everyone wants to be out and about,” said Matt Monahan of The Cabana.
They’ve taped down the sidewalk and put up signs so customers don’t hang out with their takeout.
“We want to give people a sense of normalcy, have them hang out for a second, say hello and go on their merry way. Go home and stay safe and stay healthy,” Monahan said.
They’re also giving out masks to people that show up at their cocktail window without one.