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Galveston officials prepare for an influx of people as they reopen beaches

HOUSTON – In compliance with Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to re-open Texas, Galveston beaches will soon be open to beachgoers. Beginning Friday, people will be allowed back on the beaches, per the governor’s order.

On Thursday, KPRC 2 filmed a crew with the City of Galveston Parks and Recreation department removing stairway barricades along the seawall, 12 hours before the beach was supposed to re-open.

According to Chief Peter Davis with the Galveston Island Beach Patrol, he has instructed his lifeguards to switch gears. Instead of stopping people from heading to the beach, they are focused on preparing for an influx.

“Technically, we’re still in the prohibited time, but the city is transitioning.” Chief Davis said. “We’re hoping that people will just be responsible and do some social distancing, wear masks when they’re out in public, and kind of use some common sense.”

9-year-old Levi Payes said he is looking forward to being back on the beach.

“I’m going to try to bury myself in the sand,” Payes said. “And try to see a fish and try to go swim.”

Not all are anxious to get on the sand amid the coronavirus pandemic. Galveston resident, Keith Doucet, said it’s too soon to re-open.

“As much as I want to go to the beach, I’m not going to for a while,” Doucet said. “Too many people; I don’t think everybody is taking precautions. It’s just better to wait.”

Since Galveston Beach closed, Chief Davis said beach patrol has been averaging about 200 calls a day for people being out on the beach, when they shouldn’t. From April 24 to 26, they received 5,000 calls, he said.