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New York State beaches open up for Memorial Day weekend

There are some new rules and restrictions
Posted at 6:29 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-23 10:12:34-04

IRVING, N.Y. (WKBW) — Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, but beach life as we know it will now come with a boatload of new rules.

"I’m very stressed," says Kelly Borrello, manager at Sunset Bay Beach Club in Irving. That's because her private beach opened up to the public on Thursday.

“I was very, very, very concerned when we weren’t able to be open," she said. "How we were going to keep people out? I’m not like a store, I don’t have doors I can lock.”

Borrello no longer has to worry, because last Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo gave New York State beaches the approval to reopen, but only if they implement these rules:

  • Limited capacity to 50%
  • Controlled exits/entrances
  • Limited parking
  • No group contact activities, including sports
  • Areas of social gathering closed (including picnic areas, plagrounds, pavilions, etc.)
  • Social distancing measures enforced for employees and visitors
  • Masks required for employees and visitors when social distancing is not possible
  • No concessions stands
  • Adequate staffing levels to enforce social distancing measures and crowd control

Governor Cuomo added that if local governments do not enforce the rules, beaches will be closed.

Borrello says half capacity at Sunset Beach equals around 800 visitors.

“We got some counters so we can count people coming in and count people leaving.”

With Memorial Day around the corner, Borrello expects the beach to get crowded fast.

“I think it will be really busy and I'm confident that people are going to want to do this in a safe manner," Borrello said. "Because we know if things don’t work, we may go back to a lock down situation and I don’t think anyone wants that.”

Regardless of the new rules, beach-goers say, “we’re still going to have fun. That’s all that we’re here to do.”

Aside from Sunset Beach, Woodlawn Beach and Beaver Island State Park will be open for Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s nice to have the option to at least come to the beach and just have some fun with friends for once,” says Hannah Gorski, of Hamburg.

Beaver island and Woodlawn Beach State Parks are open for swimming from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends only until June 20. After June 20 they will be open for swimming daily through Labor Day.