Ahead of hot, humid weekend, Gloucester announces beach parking lots will be open to residents only

GLOUCESTER, Mass. — Gloucester will be closing their beach parking lots to non-residents Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19 in an effort to reduce overcrowding.

Good Harbor Beach, Wingaersheek Beach and Stage Fort Park will be enforcing the rule.

“I tell people, I know you’re on vacation and usually you go everywhere else, but COVID-19 didn’t take a summer vacation, it’s still here. I have to protect the people I represent,” said Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken.

City officials say they will tow cars that illegally park on side streets and increase tickets to $150.

Officials said they don’t want to keep people out of the city, in fact, they encourage people to stop through to eat and shop. But, they feel overcrowded beaches are just not safe.

People who travel from elsewhere to enjoy Gloucester beaches will likely be frustrated, but Wakefield resident Julie Kingsley said she understands it’s necessary.

“I appreciate the beach, I appreciate we’re allowed to come to the beach but I think we have to be respectful knowing Gloucester’s not doing this because they’re trying to be mean, they’re doing it for our safety,” said Kingsley.

City officials will hold off until next week to make a decision for the following weekend.

Anyone over the age of two or with a specified medical condition is required by law to wear a face-covering while in a public space if social distancing isn’t feasible.

Groups of over 10 people are prohibited, along with organized ball games, including but not limited to volleyball, Kan Jam, spikeball, football, soccer, Kadima and bocce.

Bathroom facilities will be available to the public and will be thoroughly deep-cleaned and disinfected frequently.

For more information, you can read the full news release here.

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