Coronavirus News: Long Beach closes boardwalk indefinitely amid COVID-19 epidemic

LONG BEACH, Long Island (WABC) -- The city of Long Beach has closed its boardwalk indefinitely in an effort to encourage social distancing amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.

City officials report that on nice days, the boardwalk was crowded with too people -- many of them from other areas of Long Island.

"Most of the time we would welcome them with open arms," City Council President John Bendo said. "But at this time, what was effectively happening is, we were creating a funnel on the boardwalk where we were putting a very large number of people into a 50-foot wide space. And it was making social distancing more and more difficult to do."

Bendo said the beaches will remain open.

"The beach is clearly a much, much wider space than the boardwalk," he said. "So we're hoping that people will take advantage of that and will use that space to spread out accordingly and that we would be able to keep that open."

Bendo said he is concerned about the rise in cases in Long Beach. About a week ago, the city had only five cases. But as of Wednesday afternoon, the number of cases stood at 62.

He said closing the boardwalk is necessary in order to encourage social distancing.

"Quite frankly, we'd rather have people get a little angry at us in the near term to protect the public health for the long term," he said.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran applauded the City of Long Beach for closing the boardwalk, saying that's how officials can ensure we flatten the curve.

Th entrances to the beach have also been closed for the length of the boardwalk.

The beach remains open, however, at the far west and east ends of Long Beach where there is no boardwalk.

Bendo said, at this point, there are no plans to close the beach.


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