Beaches in unincorporated areas of Galveston County are reopened

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Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Galveston suspends gatherings with 250 or more people
On Friday, March 13, Galveston County reported its first presumptive positive coronavirus case, linked to a case in Montgomery County.

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- While public beaches in the city of Galveston remain closed in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, some beaches in the unincorporated part of Galveston County have reopened.

The order to close the beaches went into effect Sunday, March 29 at 2:45 p.m. and was expected to last until Monday, April 13. The Galveston City Council on Friday extended the emergency orders until April 30, 2020.

On Monday, Galveston County posted on their Facebook page that beaches in the unincorporated areas of the county reopened April, 13. According to Galveston County, the unincorporated area is described as the beach areas located on the Bolivar Peninsula.

The county adds that beaches will continue to be actively monitored by the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management and if necessary, "additional action will be taken if there is evidence people are not following the requirements of social distancing."

As for the city of Galveston, they 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.

As 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.

City officials later signed the emergency declaration they attempted to avoid.

The order reads, in part:

"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. 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 also closed its beaches and sandbars for similar reasons, and said despite the closures, beachgoers continued flocking in groups.

READ MORE: Officials issue warning to Lake Houston visitors who aren't practicing social distancing

If you're hanging out at Lake Houston, remember to still practice social distancing.

The video above is from a previous story.