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New York state park beaches open for swimming

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Fri, May 22nd 2020 11:35 am

Beachgoers reminded to practice social distancing, respect rules 

State Park Police, operations staff to patrol grounds to ensure public safety 

Restrictions, safety measures are consistent with New York State Department of Health’s interim guidance for beach activities during COVID-19 public health emergency 

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation opened 16 beaches across the state for swimming on Friday, with lifeguards staffed at normal levels to ensure public safety. 

Beachgoers are reminded to practice social distancing, respect the rules, and do their part to keep parks, beaches and public lands open and safe for everyone. Beach capacity is expected to fill quickly and New Yorkers are urged to plan ahead by having alternate destinations ready.

State Park Police and operations staff will be patrolling beaches, boardwalks and parking fields to ensure compliance with social distancing and crowd control measures. Anyone who does not adhere to this guidance will be requested to leave the beach or park.

Beachgoers should visit only with members of their immediate household and:

  • Maintain 6 feet of distance of others while swimming and on beaches and boardwalks
  • Keep beach blankets and chairs at least 10 feet apart from others;
  • Wear a mask when unable to maintain social distance; and
  • Refrain from group activities.

State Parks will be putting the following restrictions in effect:

  • Reducing normal summer season capacity by 50%, by limiting parking and other means of entry;
  • Prohibiting group contact activities, including contact sports (e.g. volleyball, football);
  • Reducing capacity in indoor areas such as changing areas, locker rooms, restrooms by 50%
  • Closing all beachfront concessions and areas of social gathering;
  • Implementing measures to maintain social distance for both employees and visitors, including signage, distance markers, directional arrows and physical barriers;
  • Requiring masks must be worn by all employees and visitors when social distancing is not possible; and
  • Conducting frequent cleaning and disinfection for restrooms and frequently touched surfaces.

As part of their lifeguard training and recertification, all state park lifeguards are trained to practice “universal precautions” related to infectious diseases. As part of this training, State Parks has added COVID-19 informational training, including appropriate precautions to ensure lifeguards disinfect and sanitize all equipment and surfaces such as lifeguard stands.

State Parks has also limited the number of guards per lifeguard stand at any one time. Each lifeguard will receive a fanny pack which will contain a mask, gloves, hand sanitizer, CPR mask, safety glasses and a surgical mask for beachgoers who are pulled from the water. Each lifeguard shack will be equipped with necessary supplies and materials such as disinfectant and hand sanitizer. 

Open beaches include:

Southern Tier

  • Chenango Valley, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Western New York

  • Beaver Island, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Woodlawn, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A listing of swimming beaches with hours of operation is available on the New York State Parks website.

Know before you go: Plan ahead and make a list of alternate destinations. Beaches and trailheads will be busy. Many state beaches and parks will quickly reach capacity limits on nice weather days. Anyone parking outside of designated areas will be ticketed. Check parks.ny.gov, and 511 for park capacity closure alerts. 

Concession stands are closed. Beachgoers should bring their own water and snacks.

New York state will review the weekend’s operations and make any adjustments needed to keep the public and park staff.

For information on visit New York State Parks during the public health crisis, visit https://parks.ny.gov/covid19/.

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