Virginia Beach Mayor writes letter to Gov. Northam asking to reopen beaches

Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Posted at 9:14 AM, May 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-03 08:17:29-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As hope of reopening the economy continues to build across Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach Mayor, Bobby Dyer, is asking Governor Northam to include opening beaches in Phase One of his "Forward Virginia Blueprint."

In a letter sent to the Governor on Monday, Dyer says the 28 miles of beaches in the city help create one of the top economic engines for Virginia Beach and the Commonwealth.

"More importantly, research shows that beaches offer mental health benefits through rest, relaxation, mediation and exercise," his letter says. "We have an opportunity to provide that safe outlet for residents and visitors on one of the widest beaches on the East Coast."

Northam says during Phase One, some businesses can re-open with strict safety restrictions, continued social distancing, continued teleworking and face coverings recommended in public. Dyer's letter says the city is prepared to assist with adherence to all noted parameters.

In his recommendation of opening beaches, Dyer suggests deploying a safety ambassador to patrol the beaches, providing increased cleaning of benches, bathrooms, showers and railings, and promoting physical distancing by limiting no more than 10 people in group gathers.

Furthermore he says, "The City of Virginia Beach remains committed to coordinated government actions to better protect the health and safety of the City's residents and visitors [...] Thank you for consideration of opening our beaches in a responsible way during Phase one of the Virginia Forward Blueprint."

The metrics of Phase One of the Governor's blueprint include:

  • Moving downward: Percentage of positive tests over 14 days
  • Moving downward: Hospitalizations over 14 days
  • Enough hospitals beds & intensive care capacity
  • Increasing & sustainable supply of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Increased testing and tracing

See Mayor Dyer's full letter here.