OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Ocean City, Maryland Mayor Rick Meehan announced late Monday that he will reopen the town’s beaches and boardwalk for locals on Saturday, May 9.
Gov. Larry Hogan’s spokesperson Mike Ricci confirmed the news on Twitter Monday night.
“This is a way to give nearby residents more opportunities to get outside and enjoy fresh air, while still adhering to social distancing guidelines and gathering limits. The governor’s stay-at-home order remains in effect,” a joint statement between the governor’s office and the town said.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, Meehan explained his position on why he chose to open the beaches a week early.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some information on the decision to issue the declaration opening the town of Ocean City’s beach, boardwalk, and inlet parking lot effective Saturday, May 9,” Meehan said. “I want to make it clear that this does not supersede any executive orders made by Governor [Larry] Hogan to stay at home. The governor’s [order] is still in effect this does not supersede that. At this time you should only travel to Ocean City if doing so would not be in violation of the governor’s specific stay at home.”
“Right now there are not very many people in Ocean City, and even with this we do not anticipate a lot of people in Ocean City, but there will be some additional visitors. This will allow for people coming over to Ocean City and this will allow us to make that transition,” he said. “You know phased recovery is what we are trying to abide to. We support the governor’s recovering program we’re trying to work cohesively with that. I think the governor has put us in a position by issuing all his orders early on that we’re able now to take this next step here in Ocean City, what we see and what I see as what I go up to the boardwalk is that people are adhering to the new normal.”
The beach and boardwalk were previously set to remain closed through May 15 or when Gov. Larry Hogan’s stay-at-home order was lifted.
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) May 5, 2020
Town officials closed the beaches after large crowds flocked to them during the first weekends of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Ocean City Beach, Boardwalk To Remain Closed Until May 15 Or When Gov. Hogan’s Stay Home Order Lifted
- Ocean City, Maryland Official: ‘We Do Intend To Offer Our Normal Summer Services’ Despite Coronavirus
- Ocean City Extends Beach, Boardwalk Closings To April 30
According to an OCMD official, people are supposed to maintain social distancing and not be in groups of 10 or more.