Beaches will be allowed to open in Massachusetts for Memorial Day, according to the “Reopening Massachusetts” report released Monday by Gov. Charlie Baker. But what sort of rules and regulations will be in place to ensure safety during the coronavirus pandemic?
Along with a list detailing when certain businesses will be allowed to reopen under Gov. Baker’s four-phase plan, the state also released numerous sector-specific guidelines, including one regarding beaches, which are allowed to reopen on Monday, May 25.
In a three-page letter released by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the department provided safety and reopening standards for beach managers to enforce, including details on mask use, group sizes, and prohibited activities.
Here’s what to know about going to the beach in Massachusetts this summer:
Do I need to wear a mask or face covering at the beach?
Face coverings and masks are still mandatory when in public places where social distancing is not possible, and beaches are no exception. The report also notes that masks do not need to be worn while swimming.
How many people can go to the beach together?
Social gatherings of 10 or more remain prohibited, so your beach crew needs to be limited.
How many feet of social distance do I need on the beach?
Along with maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from others, visitors should maintain at least 12 feet of distance between towel/beach blanket areas.
Are games allowed at the beach?
Organized ball games are not allowed. The report says that the list of banned activities includes, but is not limited to: volleyball, Kan Jam, spikeball, football, soccer, Kadima, and bocce.
Will I be able to shower or change clothes at the beach?
In Phase 1, indoor showers and changing rooms will not be open, nor will water fountains or water refill stations. There is no specific wording in the letter regarding outdoor showers.
The letter also provides specific guidance for beach managers with regards to enforcement in the following areas:
Managers are asked in the letter to monitor parking lots and other beach entrances in order to enforce a capacity that allows for adequate social distancing.
Food service and picnic areas:
If picnic areas are too crowded to maintain social distance or can’t be properly sanitized after each use, they should be closed. Any concessions at the beach must follow the regulations previously issued by the state regarding restaurants, meaning that while take-out is allowed with certain restrictions, sit-down service is prohibited.
Parking lot policies:
Managers are asked to ensure that loading and unloading of cars occurs quickly. Tailgating or loitering in the parking lot is prohibited.
Other social distancing rules:
Visitors must maintain social distancing when interacting with lifeguards except for emergencies. Social distance must also be observed at restroom facilities.