The city of Gloucester plans to reopen public parking lots at reduced capacity to non-residents starting this weekend.
Last weekend, the city closed its parking lots at Stage Fort Park, Good Harbor Beach, and Wingaersheek Beach to non-residents after complaints of excessive traffic, illegal parking and littering. City leaders had hoped to promote social distancing as well, given concerns over capacity at the beaches, according to a statement released Tuesday.
The statement didn't say why Gloucester's ban was being lifted, though it left open the possibility that the ban could be reinstated.
"If our beaches become overwhelmed or if capacity is reduced because of tides, we may have to limit access again in the future," said Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken in the statement.
For this weekend, Gloucester's Stage Fort Park will be open, while a limited number of non-residents will be allowed at parking lots at Good Harbor and Wingaersheek beaches. Visitors will have to pay for parking at daily rates at the gate; residents can use their 2019 or 2020 beach stickers at the lot or, if they're waiting for one to arrive, a car registration or license with a Gloucester address.
"We will be closely monitoring parking violations in the City for the remainder of the summer, and it’s essential that everyone continues to follow any future limitations the City may place on the public parking lots or on residential street parking near public spaces," Police Chief Edward Conley said in the statement. "Thank you to everyone for your continued patience and understanding."
Going forward this summer, Gloucester will announce the weekend's parking restrictions on the prior Wednesday, and the city will offer real-time parking updates at its dedicated beaches Facebook page.