GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The city of Galveston has shut down all public beaches in attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.
order went into effect Sunday, March 29 at 2:45 p.m. and was expected
to last until Sunday, April 5. The Galveston City Council on Friday
extended the emergency orders until April 30, 2020.
The city also
restricted vehicle traffic on the beach west of the end of the Seawall.
A stay-at-home order, restrictions on hotels, short-term rentals, bars
and restaurants have also been issued.
nearby counties continue to issue various 'Stay-at-Home' orders,
residents were encouraged to enjoy outdoor activities such as traveling
to the beaches until the emergency order was issued.
Sunday, city officials signed the emergency declaration they attempted to avoid.
The order reads, in part:
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. 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. As a
result, the City of Galveston must restrict access to the public beach.
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. We look
forward to welcoming visitors back to Galveston as soon as these orders
have been lifted."
Violators of the order face a Class C misdemeanor, according to the city.
Lake Houston closed its beaches and sandbars for similar reasons, and
said despite the closures, beachgoers continued flocking in groups.