On Memorial Day weekend, East Coast beaches become test case for coronavirus reopening

The debate about reopening the U.S. economy orf extending health-safety regulations started weeks ago on West Coast beaches

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom blasted beach-goers after images circulated over the weekend showing off massive crowds at Southern California beaches
California Gov. Gavin Newsom blasted beach-goers after images circulated over the weekend showing off massive crowds at Southern California beaches
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Last Updated:
May 22, 2020 - 12:27pm

With the start of the Memorial Day weekend, mid-Atlantic beach towns across the U.S. have become a focal point in the next stage of America’s efforts to restart its economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

In New York, amid the official start Friday to America’s summer vacation, beach towns are telling city residents to stay home, in large part because Mayor Bill de Blasio has kept beaches closed.

In Delaware, Gov. John Carey is opening beaches starting this weekend amid strict social-distancing guidelines – and is purportedly warning that violations could result in the re-closing of boardwalks, beaches and swimming. In addition, the Democratic governor is still requiring out-of-state visitors to quarantine upon arrival for 14 days.

The state’s Bethany Beach and in the Hamptons in New York, locals officials have reportedly taken their own preventative measure of limiting municipal parking to prevent an overflow of visitors. 

Still any worst-case-scenario might be avoided because rain is forecast for beaches from the Outer Banks, N.C. to the Hamptons at least through Sunday, according to The Weather Channel. 

To be sure, beaches along the West Coast have already emerged as a ground zero for whether the country should reopen stores, restaurants and other parts of the economy as the rate of virus infections and deaths has at least flattened in most states.

In California, residents in Orange County’s Huntington Beach went nose-to-nose with mounted police over the rules that kept them off the sand, its iconic boardwalk and out of the surf. Problems also arose when thousands flocked to county beaches because those in neighboring San Diego and Los Angeles counties were still closed.

In Ocean City, Md., town officials about two weeks ago opened their beaches and boardwalk, despite GOP. Gov. Larry Hogan still keeping his state under strict social-distancing guidelines.

The town has also allowed so-called “short-term rental,” which essentially allows families to rent a cottage for a week, while Delaware and Jersey Shore towns are still reportedly banned such leases and Airbnb rentals.