Updated: May 22, 2020 06:29 PM
Created: May 22, 2020 05:50 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Many people may be heading to the beach this Memorial Day weekend, and local leaders are stressing safe physical distancing.
Gov. Cuomo gave beaches the green light to open up last week but under a set of minimum requirements from limiting capacity to 50% to blocking large gatherings, including a motion to close off areas where large gatherings could form (I.e. Picnic areas, playgrounds, pavilions, etc.).
In a joint statement Friday, both Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said Memorial Day is "first and foremost a time to remember the men and woman of the armed services who died protecting our freedom" though acknowledged the weekend as the "unofficial start of summer" with a return to good weather.
“But COVID-19 is still among us, so I am asking our residents to enjoy the holiday weekend in a way that keeps everyone safe and healthy and stops the spread of this virus as we re-open our city,” Mayor Warren said. “Protect yourself, protect your circle and protect our city by doing the right thing.”
Chief Singletary said Rochester Police will run high visibility patrols on both Ontario Beach and Durand-Eastman parks to ensure people are following the rules, though he says education will be the focus of patrols, as tickets would be filed as a "last resort."
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says it will be assisting RPD on its patrols.
Despite the different conditions, some people were taking advantage of the warmer weather at both Ontario Beach Park in Charlotte, and Hamlin Beach State Park.
“Feels awesome because now we don’t have to stay locked up and be stressed,” Ethan Taylor, a Rochester native, said.
“We noticed people are pretty spread apart, at least families are and that’s good to see, that they’re not going a little crazy with normal.” Terrie Goeddertz said. “You know that there’s still some precautions.”
While the beaches at both Ontario and Hamlin are open, swimming is not yet permitted, though the county says it is in the process of hiring lifeguards, which are required for swimming to start.
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