Reopen News: Only residents allowed on Long Beach on weekends to help with overcrowding

Kristin Thorne Image
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Only residents allowed on Long Beach Friday to Sunday
Kristin Thorne reports on the new rules in effect to help with social distancing on Long Beach.

LONG BEACH, Long Island (WABC) -- Officials in the City of Long Beach are changing the rules regarding beach access after people crowded the beach last weekend and nearly 1,000 people gathered for an after-hours beach party advertised on social media.

Eyewitness News has learned that beginning this Thursday, the beaches will close at 8 p.m. every day. The boardwalk will close at 9 p.m. Barricades will be put up so people cannot access either the beach or the boardwalk.

Non-city residents will not be able to access the beach Fridays through Sundays. It will be reserved for city residents only. Non-resident daily beach passes will only be sold Mondays through Thursdays.

Non-city residents of Long Beach will not be able to access the beach Fridays through Sundays -- it will be reserved for city residents only.

"We just don't have the space for the residents. We don't have the space for all of the people that are coming here," said Long Beach Parks Commissioner Joe Brand.

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Acting Long Beach Police Commissioner Philip L. Ragona said police are reviewing boardwalk surveillance footage from Saturday night to determine whether charges need to be filed against anyone who attended an unauthorized beach party that attracted hundreds of people.

Ragona said people were smoking and drinking on the beach and boardwalk around Edwards Boulevard.

Officers with the Nassau Police Department had to assist Long Beach Police in dispersing the rowdy crowds.

"They were very combative," Ragona said. "They were throwing bottles at our police officers. At one point, they circled one of the police cars in a threatening manner."

Ragona said it took police several hours to clear the area.

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In addition, lifeguards in Long Beach Sunday night had to rescue 17 people who went into the ocean after hours.

"If the lifeguard's not there, don't go in the water," said Long Beach beach supervisor John Skudin. "The water kills."

Skudin said lifeguards performed approximately 200 rescues last weekend.

A spokesperson for the City of Long Beach said it was necessary to change the rules in order to protect public safety and the safety of first responders.

If people refuse to leave the beach, they could face a $500 fine.

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