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Suffolk County executive discusses protocols to reopening beaches to residents

Posted at 8:48 AM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 08:48:36-04

LONG ISLAND, N.Y. — Long Island beaches reopened in time for the Memorial Day weekend, but most beaches are only accessible to its residents to ensure safety of those who are in the county.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone told PIX11 Morning News what protocols are set in place to make sure everyone can enjoy the beaches while adhering to guidelines.

Bellone said “it’s a common-sense measure” to have Long Island residents who are paying taxes for beaches have priority to utilize them.

He also said the county continues to evaluate everything on an ongoing basis, but reopening because “is the right thing to do for Suffolk County” and Long Island residents.

To enforce 50% capacity, Bellone said beach workers and social-distancing ambassadors will communicate throughout the day with people on the beach and signage to decide when to start closing off beaches to more people.

Lifeguards will also be spread out and drivers’ licenses will be checked to ensure beachgoers are residents.

As New York City keeps its beaches closed during the holiday weekend, Bellone hopes the city will eventually join Long Island in reopening to help ease capacity in their beaches.

Bellone said the county’s biggest obstacle in reopening is working to meet metrics to open safely including making sure businesses have safety plans in place, increasing contact tracing and for the public to continue health guidance.