Reopen News: Boardwalk and beach overcrowding prompts new restrictions in Long Beach

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- In Nassau County, Long Beach will begin shutting down its beach starting at 8 p.m. Thursday and barricade the boardwalk at 9 p.m., in response to last weekend's large crowds and dozens of water rescues.

Police and lifeguards will begin closing entrances to the beach between Neptune Boulevard and New York Avenue, the main boardwalk stretch, and delivering warnings at 7:45 p.m.

Police, seasonal officers and bike patrols will then start closing the boardwalk at Edwards Boulevard, moving east and west. A smart car will follow people off the boardwalk.

"It's necessary," said Acting Police Commissioner Phil Ragona. "It's really important. And if we don't do this now, I really believe there could be dire consequences down the road. Some people think it's drastic. I don't. I think it's necessary."

"It is absolutely a work in progress," he added.

RELATED: Jersey shore borough passes new rules to curb bad beach behavior

The city traditionally keeps the beach open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., with swimming ending at 6 p.m. when lifeguards go off duty.

But large crowds, including more than 800 caught on camera Saturday night drinking and fighting, prompted city leaders to restrict beach and boardwalk access.

Now the beaches will be gated off at 8 p.m. and reopen at 5 a.m.

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