Long Island Officials Mull Summer Beach Openings in Face of Covid


First meeting of working group to discuss guidelines for 2020 season.

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Summer on Long Island means trips to one of the hundreds of local beaches. With warmer weather coming, Suffolk County is amassing a working group of local leaders to develop guidelines to reopen local beaches this season.


When talking about measures everyone has taken to prevent a further spread of the virus, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone spoke about how people need to continue to be vigilant even as we reopen the economy.


“As we reopen, as we get into the summer months it is going to be critically important that we continue all of these efforts,” he said.


That might mean a very different summer season than most Long Islanders are used to. This past weekend, warm weather on Saturday brought out people flocking to local parks and any outdoors nooks and crannies to escape the doldrums of quarantine. At times, this had caused concern for local authorities to enforce social distancing requirements.


New York State has outlined a plan for phased reopening of the economy.


Phase one includes opening construction and manufacturing functions with low risk, followed by certain industries based on priority and risk level. Businesses will be assessed by how essential they are and risk to the public health.


In a press conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the plan is to increase the pace of reopenings as infection rate declines but regions should not open businesses or attractions that draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.


As we reopen, Cuomo said we will have to “reimagine what life is and we’re going to improve.”


East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said he is participating in the working with other town supervisors, village mayors, and county and state officials to develop recommendations with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The working group convened for the first time on April 22.


“With over 70 miles of coastline, and as a traditional destination for visitors who enjoy our beaches and open space, East Hampton has a particular challenge ahead,” Van Scoyoc said in a statement released by the town. “One thing is sure: this summer will be different than others as we must remain vigilant against the coronavirus. Beach closures or other limits may be necessary.”