By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – On Saturday morning, May 16th, the City of Delray Beach announced their plans to reopen the beach in phases, starting on Monday, May 18th, from 9AM to 6PM every day with life guards on duty.
The announcement includes prohibited activities such as sunbathing and surfing that will surprise many, as it is more conservative than Palm Beach County announced yesterday.
Mayor Shelly Petrolia explained, “On Monday, Delray will re-open public beaches with restrictions. Our beach will be open for walking, jogging and swimming only.”
Adding, “Delray precedes the opening of beaches to our south, so a ‘slow and cautious opening’ approach will take place. This will be temporary until more beaches fully open in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.”
The official statement confirmed that while all public and private beaches in Palm Beach County will reopen on Monday, the City of Delray Beach will begin a phased reopening of its municipal beaches.
Activities allowed while visiting the beach will be limited to walking, jogging and swimming. Activities prohibited while visiting the beach are: surfing, sunbathing, volleyball, group fitness, organized activities, congregating and chairs, tents and cabana rentals.
Pedestrians and bicyclists can access the municipal beach at beach access points. Parking is allowed along A1A with the meters resuming operation. Paying to park is required, and time limits will be enforced.
The City is evaluating the safety of this first phase of reopening and will enforce any social distancing requirements established by Palm Beach County. The City urges beachgoers to follow CDC guidelines during the continued COVID-19 pandemic, which can be found online here.
Mayor Petrolia explained how the decision was made. “The City took into consideration the beach re-opening failure in Naples, which drew huge crowds from all over including the east coast of Florida. Naples was forced to close their beach back down.”
“The City of Delray intends to make the opening of Delray’s beach permanent, gradually lifting restrictions in place so we don’t follow the same path as Naples.”
The municipal beach and Atlantic Dunes Park will be open from 9AM to 6PM every day and lifeguards will be monitoring the beach. The Delray Beach Pavilion will remain closed, as well as all beach restrooms.
The Anchor Park parking lot will be limited to vehicles whose drivers are Delray Beach residents. All drivers attempting to park at Anchor Park must present driver licenses with Delray Beach addresses. Parking is free. Posting time limits will be enforced.
At Atlantic Dunes Park, half of the parking lot will be available for parking but will be open to all. Parking is free. Posted time limits will be enforced as well.
Mayor Petrolia added, “I anticipate the full opening of our beaches soon.”