Residents from the Town of Oyster Bay have been able to enjoy the beaches in a limited capacity, walking or exercising while socially distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but that will soon change. New York state will allow beaches to open next Friday, May 22, in time for the Memorial Day weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at his daily briefing on May 15.
The governor said, however, local towns and cities can decide to extend the order barring access to beaches beyond that date, if they deem it necessary.
Bayville's beaches have already been filled with residents enjoying the sunshine and beauty of the Long Island Sound but before the governor's announcement there were no plans to have them officially open until June.
David Wright, the deputy mayor said the beaches will be opened this weekend for the holiday and probably will have lifeguards. "There will be gate attendants to be sure to maintain our residents only policy," he said. "The village constable has been at the beaches to be sure only residents are there. He usually just tells people that it is a resident only beach but we've instructed him to give out tickets if necessary."
Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino said lifeguards will begin their work for the summer on May 22. Additionally, the rest rooms, which are already open and regularly sanitized, will remain so for beachgoers.
“We will ask residents to socially distance and wear face coverings, which is a smart way to go to the beach,” Supervisor Joseph Saladino said. “And games will not be permitted on the beach.”
The reopening of beaches will take place in tandem with New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut, which has already reopened certain of its beaches.
The new order came one day after a bipartisan group of state senators called on the governor to create a plan for safe reopening of the beaches.
Part of Cuomo’s order includes a requirement that parking lots close after reaching 50 percent capacity, which Saladino said would be followed in all town beaches. And gatherings are also discouraged.
“People can go in the water and lay on the beach,” Saladino said, “but have to stay distanced and we will not permit large crowds to gather.”
The lifeguards and the town’s Public Safety will ensure that rules are followed, he added.
Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Long Beach Democrat, joined the nine senators in asking Cuomo to establish "an inter-jurisdictional task force to coordinate and execute" beach reopenings.
Nassau County beaches have been closed since Cuomo issued the first New York Pause order in late March, shutting down most businesses and public places in an effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday night, the governor continued the New York Pause order through May 28, with the option and ability to extend enforcement of the order through June 13. The order applies to five of the state's 10 regions, including Long Island and New York City.
Saladino was among 13 town supervisors from across Long Island who gathered on May 1 to begin developing plans to open their recreational facilities, including beaches.
The supervisor said he is encouraged by the behavior he has seen with his residents thus far, which extends to the youngest in the hamlet. “Parents have been talking to their children about the dangers of the virus and they are showing respect to our seniors, doctors and nurses,” he said.