NEW YORK (WABC) -- Memorial Day weekend marked the unofficial start of summer, but during the coronavirus pandemic, life at the beach in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will be somewhat different this year.
New York City residents hoping to take a dip in the waters of Rockaway Beach, Coney Island or Orchard Beach must wait. Beaches are closed as the season starts.
Other places in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have established social distancing requirements, limited capacity or even limited access to residents.
Below is the state of beaches as we know it. Check back as we will update as new information becomes available.
New York City
"The fencing will be there, but it won't be implemented at first. We're hoping everyone just listens to the rules, follows the rules," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "No swimming, no sports, no gathering, no parties. Just common sense. Observe social distancing. If you walk on the beach, do it for a limited period of time, get back home like everyone else."
Opening later in the summer is contingent on further reduction of COVID-19 and resumption of non-essential activity and travel, the mayor added.
New York state
State-run beaches in New York will be open starting Memorial Day Weekend with restrictions in place to ensure social distancing.
Jones Beach and Robert Jones Beach will close their gates once capacity reaches 50 percent.
Social Distancing Visualization
This is an example of what social distancing could look like. The Jones Beach water tower stands between 188 to 231 feet tall. With that as a marker, we created small zones that can fit 5-7 people and spaced them apart evenly. More people may cluster in certain areas, but with a 50 % reduced capacity there should be enough room for the current limit of 7,500 people and still keep proper social distance.
The beaches at Playland and Croton Point parks in Westchester County will open for Memorial Day weekend, from Friday through Monday. Access is limited to Westchester residents.
Beaches, boardwalks, lakes, and lakeshores in New Jersey reopened on Friday, May 22, permitted that social distancing measures are followed.
Restaurants and bars are still limited to delivery and take-out services only. Amusement parks and arcades, and other places of public amusement, remain closed. Any outdoor seating, such as tables or benches, must be removed, tape off, or otherwise blocked.
Individuals should wear a face covering, especially when social distancing is difficult to maintain, such as when waiting in lines.
Local governments must introduce restrictions to limit physical interactions including:
Imposing non-discriminatory capacity restrictions;
Requiring that members of the public practice social distancing;
Developing and implementing lifeguard training and beach operation plans that address COVID-19 considerations;
Removing, taping-off or otherwise blocking all benches and tables;
Prohibiting the tying together of boats to prevent group gatherings;
Developing and implementing a continuous public outreach campaign, including signage, social media, town and county websites, mobile device applications, radio, and banner-plane advertising;
Prohibiting special events such as festivals, concerts, fireworks, and movies;
Prohibiting all organized or contact activities or sports;
Limit occupancy in public restrooms; and
Implementing sanitization protocols.
Local governments can determine specific social distancing measures including but not limited to:
Demarcating six feet of spacing in any areas where the public may form a line;
Limiting the number of lifeguards to each stand or tower, maintaining social distance between lifeguards, and adding stands or towers as necessary;
Installing physical barriers between the public and employees in ticket or beach badge sale booths; and
Limiting occupancy of ticket or beach badge sales booth to one person at a time.
Connecticut's shoreline state park beaches were never closed, and have remained open with capacity restrictions, which will remain in place. Visitors are advised to follow social distancing guidelines.
Residents are encouraged to select locations closest to home, and consider visiting early in the morning before crowds gather. At least six feet of social distancing must be maintained, and groups over five are prohibited. Residents should recreate with members of their immediate household and not meet up with others. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) will reduce parking capacity and close beaches for the day if social distancing cannot be maintained, and will make adjustments to operations and consider longer-term closures the situation warrants. Updates on closures are posted on the Connecticut State Parks' Twitter account, @CTStateParks.
Connecticut municipalities continue to make decisions regarding the local beaches and swimming areas they oversee. DEEP will publish a detailed operations plan early next week that municipalities may adapt to their needs, which will be published online at www.ct.gov/DEEP/Parks.
Recommendations to promote safe enjoyment of beaches include:
No public gatherings or groups of over five
Face coverings worn when in proximity to others
Set parking capacity limits at each beach based on observations of levels needed to maintain social distancing
Daily closures when social distancing cannot be maintained
Use of social media and other communications to inform the public when capacity is restricted so they can plan to go elsewhere
Spacing of 15 feet or more between beach blankets