State beaches across New York will be allowed to reopen next Friday, just in time for Memorial Day weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.
State beaches, including the ones at Woodlawn Beach State Park in Hamburg and at Beaver Island State Park on Grand Island, will reopen May 22 with restrictions, and beaches operated by municipalities or counties will be able on their own to decide if they want to reopen then, Cuomo said.
Any local beach that opens will have to follow the state capacity standards at a minimum and may impose additional requirements, the governor said.
Beaches that reopen will only be allowed to fill to a capacity of no greater than 50% and no group contact activities, like volleyball, will be permitted, according to state requirements.
Pools will not be opened and other areas also will remain closed, including picnic areas, playgrounds, pavilions and concession stands.
Social distancing will be enforced among employees and beachgoers, the governor said.
The state is reopening its beaches as a coordinated regional effort with New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware, Cuomo said.
If one state opens its beaches and a neighboring state doesn't, officials expect people to travel to what is open, which puts an unfair burden on those that reopen, he said.
"We've come up with an agreement that accommodates all needs," he said.
The state is asking local governments to inform the state about their decisions on whether they will reopen by Wednesday.
Watch the governor's presentation from Friday on his YouTube channel (the information about beaches begins at about 08:57):