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Beach clubs and Atlantic Beach village beaches opening May 30

Nassau County and Town of Hempstead restrict use to residents for Memorial Day weekend

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Atlantic Beach Mayor George Pappas said that the village's eight beaches would open on May 30 and in conjunction the beach clubs that dot its shoreline are expected to open  as well. 

“We’re not opening the village beaches for Memorial Day, and no beach clubs will open,” Atlantic Beach Mayor George Pappas said. “This is for basic public health, and we want to make sure we do it right and we’re in no rush.”

Pappas added that he was in favor of reopening the beach clubs, but was determined to do it in accordance with state guidelines. He said he had been in contact with the club owners, and sent them a letter detailing the village’s decision.

The Nassau County Legislature voted on Tuesday to restrict beach access to county residents, and County Executive Laura Curran signed the measure into law. The Town of Hempstead approved similar legislation the same day.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last Friday that state beaches, including those on Long Island, such as Jones Beach and Robert Moses state parks, could open this weekend, which traditionally kicks off the summer season. Nassau County beaches have been closed since Cuomo issued the first New York Pause order in March, in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The reopening of state beaches will take place in tandem with New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut, which has already reopened some of its beaches.

In New York, beaches must be kept to 50 percent of capacity, group sports will not be permitted, playgrounds will remain closed, and beachgoers will be required to wear masks in areas where social distancing is not possible.

New York City beaches remain closed.

With Cuomo’s announcement, thousands of local beach club members began packing their bags in preparation for the weekend, according to Alex Jacobson, owner of New York Beach Club. Jacobson said that at least 10 beach club owners or board members had taken part in conference calls to work out a plan for opening this season with guidelines to help ensure the health and safety of club members and their guests as well as employees.

“Unfortunately, a lot of our members heard that when the governor ruled the beaches open, they thought that meant the beach clubs,” Jacobson said. “We’re working with the mayor of Atlantic Beach, and look to open in collaboration with the village beaches.”

The sizes and accommodations of the clubs vary. The eight-acre New York Beach Club, Jacobson said, would institute social distancing rules for its cabanas, and use thermal imaging or touchless thermometers to evaluate members and staff at the entrance. Anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or more will be turned away.

“There are definitely going to be points that include employee safety and having personal protective equipment for our staffs, setting up social distancing guidelines, disinfecting common areas and a limit on attendance,” Jacobson said.

He noted that opening the beach clubs could act as a “release valve” for the crowds at public beaches and serve as another recreational venue as their marinas, golf clubs and tennis facilities are allowed to open.

Some area club-goers said they thought the planned restrictions were onerous. Responding to a question from the Herald, Hewlett resident David Friedman posted on Facebook that this was the first time in over three decades he would not be lounging at a club anytime this summer. “I canceled the beach club [for the season] for the first time in over 30 years,” he said. “I don’t think it’s workable or enjoyable with all the restrictions needed for safety. Very upsetting.”

“Not sure if we’re going to the beach club this year,” Sands Club member and Cedarhurst resident Marc Tenzer posted, listing some of the rules the club planned to implement. “Wood dividers between cabanas. No pool, food by phone order only. No guests allowed all summer. My kids can’t come,” Tenzer added, noting that the restrictions were expected to be reviewed on June 30.

“I would not go to a beach right now,” posted Matthew Russo, of Woodmere. “Just stay home and be safe.”

“I will not be going,” Barbara Thompson, of Inwood, said of the beach, also in a post. “I will blow up my grandchildren’s pool and sit in my yard with my feet in the water. The very first hot day in June.” 

Edited from previously posted story.