Ready, set, swim!  Well, in less than a week. Beginning July 1, city beaches will officially open for the season and lifeguards will be on duty. With temperatures regularly surpassing 80 degrees and with increasing pressure from the City Council, which was preparing legislation to force the city’s hand, Mayor de Blasio announced on Tuesday night that swimming will be permitted next Wednesday. City pools, however, will remain closed.

“Our beaches will be open July 1 around NY. Lifeguards are ready to go, training is being completed, it will be a great day for NYC,” de Blasio said. “Social distancing still on the beaches, the face coverings still on the beaches, we gotta be smart.”

New York City entered Phase 2 of its reopening plan on Monday, June 22, which allows for bar/restaurants with outdoor dining to open and permits real estate firms, hair salons and other offices to get back to business. New York state has recently recorded the lowest percentage of positive Covid-19 test results since March.

Rockaway Beach traditionally opens the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, but coronavirus restrictions were in place and swimming beaches were among the outlets shut during lockdown. Jones Beach and beaches outside the city have been open since Memorial Day weekend or June.

Although swimming has been off-limits, surfers and paddleboarders, have filled the waters off Rockaway. Even with the restrictions in place, some have swimmers have ignored the ban and taken a plunge–though not always with a happy result. A 24-year-old man drowned on May 22, before lifeguards would have been on duty. Readers are urged to resist going into the water unless lifeguards are on duty.

Riis Park is expected to follow NYC’s guidelines for lifeguards and swimming, meaning federal lifeguards are also expected to be on duty starting July 1.

With beach openings, people often think of concessions next. They’re opening! Although the boardwalk concessions have had to adapt to restrictions in the age of coronavirus, they will open for to-go service. As we go to press, opening concessions will have food and alcohol, but there will be no tables available and no entertainment.

On Wednesday, June 24, Caracas on Beach 106th was the first to test the waters, offering arepas and drinks from their newly-formatted to-go windows. The Beach 97th concession is expected to open July 1, but only Low Tide Bar, La Fruteria and High 97 will be operating. Rippers on Beach 86th Street is expected to open sometime next week.

It may not be your typical summer, but it’s something!


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