NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — From Coney Island to Orchard Beach, all 14 miles of New York City’s beaches finally opened for swimming Wednesday.

Inclement weather wiped out the early part of the day, but by 2:30 p.m. the skies cleared, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported.

Prior to the rain, Samantha Babuch and her little sisters, Sylvia and Sophie, were among the first to enjoy the day at Coney Island.

“It felt good, but I was kind of scared, because I saw something under the ocean,” one of the siblings said.

“We were waiting for a long time… like two months,” Samantha added.

“We’ve been locked up for a long time,” beach goer Marisol Elies added.

Lifeguards said it felt good to be back. They will be on duty from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and swimming is not allowed before or after those hours.

In the case of an emergency, instead of mouth-to-mouth contact, they’ll use a special CRP bag that replaces rescue breathing, Duddridge reported.

“I’m happy to see the lifeguards back. I know, for the kids, it’s important,” Staten Island resident Bob Spadaro said. “We’re heading in the right direction right now. It ain’t over yet. I think it’s important for people to realize, pay attention to what’s going on in Florida, Arizona, California. Not good stuff. We don’t need that here.”

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The city encourages all beach goers to follow state guidelines, like keeping blankets and chairs 10 feet apart. Beaches with food are only allowed to offer to-go service, and restrooms can open at 50% capacity, though water fountains are closed.

You can dig your feet in the sand, catch a wave or build a sandcastle with a friend, but no big group activities.

“We have to be cautious, obviously. But look at the distance between the people right here. It’s much than 3 feet and even more than 20,” said Manny Galigsky.

The NYPD will not be enforcing the rules, but you may see officers and the Parks Department handing out masks.

Another rule: alcohol is only allowed in designated areas, not on the beach or boardwalk.

Three of the city’s outdoor swimming pools will also reopen on July 24, and twelve more will open Aug. 1. The first three locations are Mullaly in the Bronx, Liberty in Queens and Wager in Manhattan.

The full list includes:

  • Bronx: Crotona, Mullaly, Haffen
  • Brooklyn: Sunset, Betsy Head, K-Pool
  • Manhattan: Hamilton Fish, Jackie Robinson, Wagner, Marcus Garvey
  • Queens: Astoria, Liberty, Fisher
  • Staten Island: Lyons, Tottenville

Pools were delayed because of public health concerns and spending cuts, but the new budget includes more than $5 million to fund lifeguards and other pool staff.

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