(New Buffalo, MI) - There are no plans to close the beach in New Buffalo but there are efforts to limit crowd size to provide space for adequate social distancing.
Beachgoers are also encouraged by police officers, lifeguards and park department staff members to bring a mask and wear it when necessary.
City Manager Dave Richards said the parking lot at the municipal beach on Saturday was closed at 11 a.m.
He said there were still parking spots available Saturday but the size of the crowd was starting to make it challenging for people wanting to stay six feet apart from other individuals.
Richards said people turned away in their vehicles could still go to the beach as long as they found a place elsewhere to park and walked.
“We closed the parking lot because that discourages people from coming to the beach. Otherwise, we got them standing wall to wall,” he said.
Richards said there’s been no discussion of closing the beach unless ordered at some point by the Governor of Michigan.
“We’re just going to try and control the number of people at the beach,” he said.
New Buffalo Police Chief Rich Killips said people walking up to the beach or standing in groups near the concession stand and showers were informed to bring a mask and have it on when required.
Under the governor’s current executive order, people have to wear a mask outside whenever they can’t maintain at least six feet of distance from others not from their household.
Killips said there’s enough space at the beach for proper social distancing but masks should be worn in confined areas like bathrooms or where people gather like the showers and concession stand.
He said a majority of the people Saturday did not have masks on.
No tickets were issued but they could be later if more beachgoers don’t start covering their faces.
“We hope there’s never a need to,” Killips said.
Killips said police will be at the beach every weekend during the remainder of the season encouraging people to wear a mask when required.