The town plans to reopen the Old Silver Beach parking lot for Memorial Day weekend.
At the Monday, May 18, board of selectmen meeting, Town Manager Julian M. Suso said the intention is to reopen the Old Silver Beach parking lot at a reduced capacity beginning this weekend. Steps will be taken to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 at town beaches.
"We are considering the figure, at this junction, of 50 percent of the capacity, so that we can observe social distancing and determine whether or not people are cooperating with the governor's mandate for social distancing and the wearing of masks, which was reaffirmed today," Mr. Suso said, noting the 50 percent figure is subject to change.
Depending on staff availability, Mr. Suso said, other beach parking lots could be reopened this weekend as well.
"We're also anticipating the potential opening with staff members monitoring the parking areas at six of our other beaches," he said. "We probably do not have adequate staffing to do all 11, but we're looking at doing six and facilitating, with reduced parking, the public's return to the parking areas at the beaches."
In addition to Old Silver Beach, town administration is considering opening and staffing the parking lots at Surf Drive Beach, Falmouth Heights Beach, Menauhant Beach East, Menauhant Beach West and Goodwill Park. The list is not finalized and could change prior to Memorial Day weekend.
"Our goal is to discourage overwhelming any one beach," Mr. Suso said.
Once a beach parking lot reaches its diminished capacity, Mr. Suso said, the lot will be closed. If parking is unavailable, people will be able to walk or bike to the beaches.
"We're trying to be a bit cautious, as the governor has requested, because we want to be careful that the guidelines are properly followed, including social distancing and the wearing of masks as well," Mr. Suso said.
Town administration also plans on opening the Ellen T. Mitchell Bathhouse at Surf Drive Beach for the sale of beach parking stickers.
"As we sell beach stickers at the Ellen Mitchell Bathhouse, which we anticipate beginning this weekend as well, it will be a good opportunity to remind folks about what our protocols are and the expectations that we have to maintain, as much as humanly possible a good semblance of healthy relationships even as the operation of the town expands," Mr. Suso said.
Though the beaches remained open, the beach parking lots were closed on April 1, with the parking restriction enforced by the Falmouth Police Department.