This story was updated May 27.
After Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on May 22 that state beaches, including those on Long Island, could open over the Memorial Day weekend, city officials, including Department of Parks and Recreation Director Darcy Belyea worked to come up with a plan that would keep residents safe and happy.
She said that Memorial Day weekend was successful and that with the inclement weather, it gave city officials and staff a chance to get used to the new protocols.
Since then there have been some unexpected complications. On Saturday, because of the heavy rainfall, the Nassau County Department of Health issued an advisory against swimming at 18 beaches known to be impacted by storm water runoff. Those beaches included Pryibil Beach and Morgan Sound. According to the DOH, storm water runoff can impact water quality by elevating bacteria levels.
That advisory was lifted on Memorial Day. But, due to a blockage in a sewer main, according to the county DOH, untreated sewage overflowed into a storm drain and discharged into Hempstead Harbor. As a result, the county DOH closed four beaches including Morgan Park Beach in Glen Cove.
These beaches will remain closed until the county DOH completes and reviews all beach water quality sampling. Belyea said that while the leak spilled into Hempstead Harbor, not Glen Cove, Morgan Park Beach was closed as a precaution.
Until the water quality test results are returned on May 28 the county DOH advised that Morgan Park Beach remain closed for swimming.
Select parks such as Morgan Park and Welwyn Preserve opened to the public for passive use earlier in the month and residents can now bring their dogs to the Dennis Brian Murray Park. Crescent Beach will remain closed until further notice.
When it reopens, Pryibil Beach, which is open for Glen Cove residents only, will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Morgan Park Beach, which is open to Glen Cove and Locust Valley residents only, will open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
When Morgan and Pryibil reopen, swimming will only be permitted when a lifeguard is present. In compliance with the governor’s guidelines on reopening beaches, capacity on Pryibil Beach is capped to 200 people, with admittance on a first come, first serve basis. Picnic areas, playgrounds and basketball courts are closed, as all of those amenities are across the city.
As for Morgan Park Beach, admittance will be capped if needed. However, the beach is typically underused, said Belyea, who added that attendance was low over Memorial Day weekend. No residents from Glen Cove or Locust Valley needed to be turned away. However, Belyea said, there were individuals who were not from the area that were not admitted.
Belyea said she personally encountered a family from Brooklyn and multiple families from Manhattan.
In Glen Cove, residency will continue to be checked Friday through Sunday until mid-June when city officials reevaluate.
While more parks and its amenities are opening up across the city, parks on Glen Cove City School District property will remain closed.
“The gate to the track was tampered with as were the tennis courts. It seems that someone has cut through the fences,” said Dr. Maria L. Rianna, the superintendent at Glen Cove City schools. “We are concerned and we aren’t a public park, so we are still very cautious at this point in time.”
Rianna said that while she does not mind people using the school grounds for walking in a socially distanced manner, bike riding and group sports are still not permitted.
Jeff Bessen contributed to this story