With the state of Texas planning its return to normal operations, City of Galveston officials have allowed a partial opening of its public beaches.
This comes after the dire need for social distancing coupled with hordes of out-of-town and local visitors forced the City of Galveston and Galveston County to close all public beaches on March 29. Bolivar Peninsula beaches, which are unincorporated in the area, then reopened on April 13.
Beginning Monday, April 27, public beaches reopened in the morning to pedestrians for exercise only, according to a City of Galveston press release. The public beaches are open from 6 am to 9 am daily.
Access to the beach is closed during all other hours, and violation is a Class C misdemeanor and carries a $500 fine. Vehicular traffic is not allowed, per the order.
Beach access is limited to exercise only and other non-stationary activities. Visitors are allowed to surf, swim, wade fish, and access rock groins during these hours only. However, setting up chairs, tents, or beach picnics is not allowed.
The City of Galveston and other neighboring cities in the region also remain under stay-at-home orders that prohibit nonessential travel.
However, Galveston residents and visitors are not required to wear masks, as CultureMap news partner ABC13 reports. In a recent Facebook post Galveston County Judge Mark Henry deemed the mandatory wearing of face coverings unconstitutional.
“America was built upon the fabric of individual liberty and freedom,” wrote Henry. “It's important now more than ever that we stress personal responsibility. Covering your face while in public is being recommended by national and local health authorities. While we encourage that you consider these recommendations for your own safety and the safety of others around you, I will not be mandating it because I believe it is unconstitutional to do so.”