Break out the sunscreen, pack up the sand buckets and (legally) head to Virginia Beach.
From Sandbridge to the Oceanfront and along the Chesapeake Bay, beachgoers can enjoy lounging by the water. The rest of Virginia’s beaches remained closed in mid-June for everything except fitness activities and fishing.
But take note: This freedom comes with social distancing restrictions to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.
Expect to see a “clean team” disinfecting public restrooms, handrails and other high-touch areas. There also will be new signs along the resort area’s Boardwalk outlining some of the regulations, and dozens of “beach ambassadors” will be out enforcing the restrictions.
Here’s a guide to help you navigate a safe and fun beach day.
Relaxation: You can bring chairs, umbrellas, beach towels and catch some rays or just relax along the shoreline, but maintain 6 feet of distance from those who aren’t family. Also, limit groups to 10 people.
Exercise: Swim, run, skip, jump, do the warrior pose. You’re good to go.
Sports: Group sports, including volleyball, football and frisbee, are still a no-no.
Fishing: Surf fishing from the jetty to 42nd Street is prohibited as of press time. Fishing on other city beaches and from piers is allowed.
Surfing: For sure, dude. But there are restrictions in certain areas. It’s allowed before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays in the resort area.
Music: As long as you keep it to yourself, you are good to go. Speakers are prohibited.
Coolers: Bringing a few drinks and some food for yourself and your immediate family is fine, but leave the alcohol and large coolers at home. It’s not a party.
Shade: Umbrellas are allowed; just don’t cluster them in groups. You need to leave your camping tent at home.
Entertainment: Don’t expect to hear a band or see a show yet in Oceanfront parks. Entertainment or programming that generates mass gatherings is not permitted.
Playsets: The kiddos will just have to build sandcastles and beg you to join them in the water because the beach playsets will remain closed until further notice. They’re roped off with caution tape.
Pets: This gets complicated, but no more so than previous summers. Dogs are allowed on the Boardwalk between 6 and 10 a.m., and they must be on a leash. No animals are allowed on the beach from Rudee Inlet to 42nd Street at any time. On all other city beaches, dogs are allowed only before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. These rules do not apply for guide, hearing and service dogs. Owners are required to clean up their animal’s waste.
Lifeguards: They’re back on the beach, patrolling some areas on ATVs and on the stands in the resort area. They’re taking extra precautions to protect themselves from the coronavirus, however, so don’t expect them to get very close to people.
Parking: You might want to think about going early. Parking is hard to come by even when there isn’t a pandemic. The city is limiting parking garages and surface lots to 50% capacity.
Now, go have some fun.
Stacy Parker, 757-222-5125, firstname.lastname@example.org