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Sea Cliff Beach opening this weekend, with some restrictions

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Sea Cliff Beach will be among the beaches opening for Memorial Day weekend, Sea Cliff Mayor Edward Lieberman said. Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the go-ahead for beaches in New York to open during his briefing on May 15.

The governor said, however, local towns and cities can decide to extend the order barring access to beaches beyond that date, if they deem it necessary.

After a day full of meetings and deliberations, Lieberman’s administration, Village Administrator Bruce Kennedy and the Sea Cliff Board of Trustees agreed to open Sea Cliff Beach up on May 23 with some restrictions. Lieberman said the concession stand and playground will remain closed, only residents with seasonal memberships will be allowed on the beach and social distancing protocols will be enforced by personnel. Beach managers, attendants and lifeguards will all be on duty, he said, so bathing will be allowed.

“We will be in place on Memorial Day Weekend with all protocols and restrictions,” Lieberman said, “but with the hope that everyone can enjoy Sea Cliff Beach in a manner that’s consistent with health and safety as we go forward.”

Further deviating from the norm is the fact that the beach will be open seven days a week starting May 26. Under normal circumstances, Sea Cliff Beach is only open on weekends from Memorial Day until the end of June before opening up every day around the time school lets out. However, Lieberman said the beach will be open every day until Labor Day because many people are not in school or work due to the Covid-19 pandemic and may need a place to relax.

Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino said lifeguards will begin their work for the summer throughout the Town on May 22. Additionally, the rest rooms, which are already open and regularly sanitized, will remain so for beachgoers.

“We will ask residents to socially distance and wear face coverings, which is a smart way to go to the beach,” Supervisor Joseph Saladino said. “And games will not be permitted on the beach.”

The reopening of beaches will take place in tandem with New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut, which has already reopened certain of its beaches.

The new order came one day after a bipartisan group of state senators called on the governor to create a plan for safe reopening of the beaches.

Part of Cuomo’s order includes a requirement that parking lots close after reaching 50 percent capacity, which Saladino said would be followed in all town beaches. And gatherings are also discouraged.

“People can go in the water and lay on the beach,” Saladino said, “but have to stay distanced and we will not permit large crowds to gather.”

The lifeguards and the town’s Public Safety will ensure that rules are followed, he added.

The lifeguards and the town’s Public Safety will ensure that rules are followed, he added.

Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Long Beach Democrat, joined the nine senators in asking Cuomo to establish "an inter-jurisdictional task force to coordinate and execute" beach reopenings.

Nassau County beaches have been closed since Cuomo issued the first New York Pause order in late March, shutting down most businesses and public places in an effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

On May 15, the governor continued the New York Pause order through May 28, with the option and ability to extend enforcement of the order through June 13. The order applies to five of the state's 10 regions, including Long Island and New York City.

Saladino was among 13 town supervisors from across Long Island who gathered on May 1 to begin developing plans to open their recreational facilities, including beaches. 

The supervisor said he is encouraged by the behavior he has seen with his residents thus far, which extends to the youngest in the hamlet. “Parents have been talking to their children about the dangers of the virus and they are showing respect to our seniors, doctors and nurses,” he said.