GALVESTON – Galveston County has made some revisions to the beach closures one day after announcing that all city and county beaches would be closed over the Fourth of July weekend due to the increase of coronavirus cases, officials said.
During Wednesday’s announcement, officials also said beach parking would also be blocked on both sides of Seawall Boulevard to help protect residents and visitors, and that access to beaches in unincorporated areas would close at 5 a.m. Friday and the closure will continue till 12 a.m. Monday.
“Due to the announced beach closures for upcoming holiday weekend, the Galveston County Local Health Authority is strongly recommending this action because the increase in beachgoers on county beaches will create an unsafe environment and put the public’s health at greater risk,” Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said in a statement.
However, county officials released an updated statement saying that beaches in unincorporated Galveston County, including the Bolivar Peninsula, will have a few exceptions to “accommodate those who have already rented vacation rentals on the Bolivar Peninsula for this weekend.”
Here’s what you need to know:
All beaches will be closed from Friday, 5 a.m. to Monday, 12:01 a.m. with the exception of unincorporated areas and the Bolivar Peninsula.
The beaches will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. to foot traffic only, according to the new statement.
There will also be no vehicular traffic allowed on the beaches at any time and people are discouraged from traveling to the Bolivar Peninsula for the holiday weekend.
City Mayor Jim Yarbrough signed an executive order for the beach closure Wednesday after the city conferred with the Texas General Land Office. Officials said the decision to close beaches was for the best interest of its residents and visitors during the busy holiday weekend.
“At this time, based on the current health situation and the guidance of medical professionals, I do not feel it is prudent or responsible to have thousands of visitors descending on Galveston beaches,” Yarbrough said in the release. “Galveston has and always will be a welcoming destination, but the ongoing public health crisis demands our attention and response. We have to prioritize health and safety.”
Those who violate the order can face up to a Class C misdemeanor and carries an up to $500 fine.
Galveston will also temporarily prohibit parking on both sides of Seawall Boulevard from 5 a.m. Friday to 12:01 a.m. Monday. The city will place no parking signs beginning Friday morning, however, people will be able to exercise on the Seawall sidewalk. Chairs, picnics, tents, or any other type of tailgating on the Seawall sidewalk will not be allowed. Also, there will be no parking on Boddeker Drive.
Galveston has a mask order in place, which requires everyone over the age of 10 to wear masks while in any Galveston business that serves the public. There are a few exceptions to this, such as when you are consuming food or drink or while at the beach or exercising. More information about the policy is available at galvestontx.gov/coronavirus.
The Galveston Police Department will have additional police officers on duty the holiday weekend to respond to calls and assist with traffic safety. The City Marshal’s office will have peace officers on duty working with businesses to ensure the mask order is being enforced.
Officials said unlicensed or unpermitted fireworks are not permitted within the city of Galveston. Fire Marshals will enforce the prohibition on possession or discharging of fireworks within the city, which is a Class C misdemeanor.
Violators caught setting off or in possession of fireworks can face up to $2,000 in fines daily.
Fourth of July events
Galveston’s Independence Day parade and the public fireworks display are canceled due to concerns regarding COVID-19 and social distancing.
For more information, please visit galvestontx.gov.