New England Beach Rules: What You Need To Know

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — It may be Memorial Day weekend, but social distancing and face covering measures are still being recommended at any beach that will be open in New England.

Here's a rundown of each state's Memorial Day beach policies during the pandemic:

Massachusetts

Per Gov. Baker's reopening guidelines, Bay State beaches and parks can reopen with some restrictions on Monday, May 25th.

According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, those restrictions include:

  • Proper mask use for anyone over the age of two when they cannot maintain 6 ft distance from others
  • Group sizes of no more than 10 people
  • A minimum of 12 ft distance between towels/blanket groups
  • Picnic areas will be closed if groups can't properly distance from others and sanitize the area
  • No organized ball games including volleyball, Kan Jam, spikeball, football, soccer, Kadima, and bocce.
  • Beach-area food service must be limited to take-out

Connecticut

Last week, Gov. Ned Lamont joined the Governors of Delaware, New York, and New Jersey in reopening his state's beaches on Friday, May 22, with some guidelines for visitors to both coastal and inland shores.

According to the Connecticut Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, those guidelines include:

  • Visit beaches with members of your own household and in groups of five or fewer.
  • Social distancing of at least 6 ft between individuals
  • 15 ft between towels/blanket groups on the beach
  • Some amenities – including bathrooms and snack stands – may be unavailable at certain locations.
  • Bring a face covering and wear it whenever social distancing is not possible.
  • Bring your own water bottle – water fountains should not be used.
  • Swimming will only be allowed at shoreline state parks, not inland state parks.
  • Connecticut municipalities will be making additional decisions on beaches and swimming areas they oversee.

Rhode Island

Beach managers in Rhode Island have been given strict guidance on how to reopen, allowing for some state beaches to be open for Memorial weekend.

On top of CDC guidance, the state is recommending beach managers follow some additional guidance, including:

  • Limiting group size based on beach capacity
  • Ensuring social distancing of at least 6 ft in between groups.
  • All persons (employees and visitors) are required to wear face coverings when in areas where congregating is common, including but not limited to boardwalks, restrooms, changing rooms and concession stands.
  • Face coverings should not be worn in the water.
  • Visitors, friends, and off-duty guards shall not be within 6 ft of lifeguard stands.
  • Equipment loaned or rented to visitors (e.g. canoes, kayaks, boogie boards, beach chairs and umbrellas) should be sanitized between each use.

East Matunuck and Scarborough state beaches will reopen on Memorial Monday, and Gov. Gina Raimondo said the goal is for all Rhode Island state beaches to be reopened by June 1.

New Hampshire

While some town-owned beaches on lakes and ponds have already reopened, none of the state beaches in New Hampshire will be open for Memorial Day.

Gov. Sununu said on Friday that residents from both New Hampshire and Massachusetts should abide by their state's stay-at-home orders and not travel across state lines for the holiday weekend. However, Gov. Sununu said his state's beaches could reopen by June 1.

Maine

Beginning May 1st, Maine started allowing outdoor recreation, like "guided outdoor activities (hunting & fishing) and restricted use of golf and disc golf courses, state parks, state-owned public land trails, and historic sites."

However, the state said "certain coastal state parks remained closed." According to Gov. Janet Mills, nearly a dozen of Maine's coastal state parks are scheduled to reopen on June 1.

State residents can now enjoy Maine's campgrounds, which the state says "offer[s] Maine residents of all ages an opportunity to safely hike, fish, bird watch, star gaze, boat and even swim this weekend that marks the start of summer."

A few local beaches, including Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth and beaches in Wells, have already started allowing visitors with social distancing and face covering restrictions in place.

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