As beaches across the nation continue to see throngs of visitors seemingly ignoring social-distancing or stay-at-home orders, the city of Galveston has taken action to try to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the city and county.
Effective March 29, all public beaches in Galveston will be closed. Additionally, vehicle traffic will be restricted on the west end of the Seawall. By state law, the order runs through Sunday, April 5, according to a press release from the city.
Per the most recent reporting, the Galveston County Health District has confirmed 60 cases of COVID-19 within the county. “The City of Galveston’s top priority is the health and safety of its residents and it is in guidance from federal and local health authorities that these actions are being taken,” according to the statement.
Before this directive, the City of Galveston had attempted to avoid closing public beaches “because it is our desire that residents have an area to exercise and get fresh air while maintaining safe social distancing,” reads the statement.
“However, it is clear that there are many people visiting from other areas in defiance of local, state, and national travel recommendations and/or restrictions,” the City notes, adding, “the Texas General Land Office will not allow the beach to remain open to residents only. As a public beach, it must be closed to all.”
The City of Galveston plans strict enforcement, noting it will be a Class C misdemeanor for anyone found violating the order, which will be overseen by the Galveston Police Department, the City Marshal’s Office, and the Galveston Beach Patrol.