When Will Beaches Reopen in Mass.?

The decision will depend in part on discussions with the governors of other New England states

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After a weekend with temperatures in the 70s, the question many people are asking is when they'll be able to go to the beach again.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker answered the question – sort of – during his daily coronavirus press conference on Monday.

"Well, so far, with respect to beaches, our policy has been to not open up the parking lots," he said. "That was just based purely on the behavior we saw when they were open over two nice days over a weekend when people were not abiding by or paying any attention to distancing rules."

While people who live nearby can still walk to beaches, those parking areas remain closed.

When they will reopen is something Baker said he is still discussing with governors of neighboring states.

As dozens of states relax social distancing guidelines and allow businesses to reopen, health experts are warning a second wave of COVID-19 infections could be on the horizon. Thirty-two states have begun lifting restrictions as crowds flock to beaches, parks and shopping malls over the weekend.

"Obviously this is something that's going to have to get incorporated into decisions that not only we make, but other states make that are in our area. One of the biggest things that I've talked to other governors about in our area is the whole issue with public recreation assets," he said. "Whether you're talking beaches or parks or playgrounds, those are all things we're talking about together. We know the decision we make is going to matter over state lines. That's not a decision any of us can make and expect not to impact the rest of us."

For just that reason, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has said opening beaches along his state's coastline is going to be difficult because of the potential influx of Massachusetts residents.

Already, police in towns along the New Hampshire coast said they've had trouble enforcing the beach closures as the weather has improved.

“We tried no parking in the lots and along the road. I am still talking to people who find a way to be here and they are not simply walking," Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh told Seacoastonline. "They are having picnics on the edge of the walls. We are having challenges with people from Massachusetts who say they did not know the beaches were closed. I ask them if they know their own Governor Charlie Baker, who told them to stay home. They tell me they know – but they just needed to get out. I don’t think the (keep) moving idea will work.”

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