VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Gov. Northam announced that he will allow Virginia Beach to re-open its beaches on Friday, May 22.
Northam said he's been impressed with Virginia Beach's plan. "We understand it's Memorial weekend and we understand what's going on with our economy in Virginia, but the top priority for all of us is to do it safely," said Northam.
The opening Friday includes all of Virginia Beach's beaches.
Exercising along Virginia Beach's ocean and bayfront beaches is still allowed, but starting Friday, people will be able to take their chairs, umbrellas and beach towels to just sit on the beach.
The city's plan includes enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces, educating guests on how they can enjoy the beach with social/physical distancing and enforcing regulations through interaction with Virginia Beach beach ambassadors.
However, some restrictions remain.
Northam's Executive Order 55 requires individuals to maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person, with the exception of family members.
Executive Order 61 prohibits all public and private in-person gatherings of more than 10 individuals. Additional prohibitions to support distancing will be enforced and posted at each beach access.
The COVID-19 Beach Regulations include:
In addition, no entertainment or programming that generate mass gatherings will be permitted. Public parking garages and surface lots will be limited to 50% capacity. All beach play sets will remain closed. Existing City ordinances already apply to some of these activities in the resort area. Governor Northam stated that he would not hesitate to reinstate additional restrictions or close beaches if people do not follow the rules.
For more information about local ordinances, visit this link.
"Our city is committed to opening our beaches in a way that's safe for our residents, visitors and the thousands of frontline staff who bring the beaches to life," said Mayor Bobby Dyer, who was invited to participate in Monday's news conference with the Governor. "We must not take this opportunity for granted. It's up to each of us to be safe and proactive when visiting our beaches. Whether you want to exercise, take advantage of the mental health benefits the ocean and fresh air provides, or enjoy a relaxing day with family or friends, we look forward to having people back to the beach—at a distance of at least six feet. Since we have 28 miles of ocean and bay beaches, there's plenty of room to spread out."