Even before Suffolk County officially clears all the hurdles for a phased economic reopening, the county is planning to open Smith Point and Cuspsogue beaches over Memorial Day weekend.
County Executive Steve Bellone (D) suggested that keeping children home during the holiday weekend and the unofficial start to summer would be unrealistic, especially after all the limits placed on them to contain the spread of COVID-19.
While the beaches would be open, the visit to some of Long Island’s more inviting summer destinations won’t be the same as it is in any other year, as physical games, such as football and basketball, are limited.
Guests who visit the beaches will need to wear masks when they can’t maintain social distancing with other families or groups visiting the beach.
The bathrooms will be open and will have hand sanitizer. Attendants will also monitor the restrooms to ensure they remain sanitized.
Residents “won’t be playing contact sports,” Bellone said on his daily conference call with reporters, but they can go in the water.
It’s in the wake of more bad news for Long Islanders hoping Suffolk would be able to clear the hurdles necessary to open in a short time frame. Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) extended the New York Pause stay-at-home order until May 28, excluding the five of 10 upstate regions already set to start the reopening process.
Downstate, including Nassau and Suffolk Counties, have not met the seven criteria in order to open. Long Island is being counted as one region for the purposes of reopening, and New York State’s dashboard shows LI has still only met four of seven criteria. Long Island still requires a 14-day decline in hospital deaths, a supreme decrease in new hospitalizations and hundreds of new contact tracers.
As for the update on figures for the county, Bellone reported 175 new positive tests for the virus, bringing the total, without antibody tests, to 37,719.
Through Wednesday, the most recent period for which Bellone has data, the number of hospitalizations fell 21 to 554 which is “still a high number,” albeit one the county hasn’t seen for six or seven weeks.
The number of people in Intensive Care Unit beds increased by two to 185.
The county was below the 70 percent target for bed capacity, with 69% of hospital beds and 65% of ICU beds in use with patients who are battling COVID-19.
In the last day, 44 more people returned home from the hospital to continue their recoveries.
The number of people who have died from the virus increased by 12, bringing the total to 1,709.