VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Last-minute preparations for “opening day” at Virginia Beach’s coastlines are underway.
Beaches in the resort city will welcome back visitors on Friday, nearly two months after being closed for anything except exercising and fishing.
New signs are posted to remind the public that stopping the spread of the virus is in their hands.
The sand may be soggy, but the boardwalk is clear, and the anticipation for the unofficial kickoff to summer is in the air.
However, coronavirus is the uninvited guest this year.
Drew Lankford, spokesman for the Public Works Department, said it’s a big day.
“It’s also different than what we’ve done in the past,” he said.
Visitors will see signs promoting a more cautious day at the beach. Reminders about restrictions are also posted.
“People got to realize it’s not going to be business as usual but that doesn’t mean you can’t still go down there and enjoy yourself,” Lankford said.
Aside from the “clean teams” and beach ambassadors, the city is preparing for Memorial Day weekend as usual.
“We’re putting in some extra crews. We’re extending hours to have crews down there cleaning up. We’re putting extra trash cans on the beach,” Lankford said.
Lankford said the city is also prepared for Floatopia. The infamous event made national headlines in 2019 after beachgoers left the shore littered.
10 On Your Side reached out to last year’s Floatopia organizer, who said the event is the last thing on his mind this year.
“Just in case, we’ve gone and made plans to have extra trash cans, crews down there checking on things, some dumpsters,” Lankford said.
Portable toilets have also been placed in the area.
Officials say beachgoers can expect a safe experience, but they are also stressing — don’t break the rules.
“It could have a ripple effect into the summer, so all we’re asking people is, we’re trying to work with them and the governor’s office, and we just need them to work with us,” Lankford said.
If you’re heading to the beach, you cannot bring speakers, large coolers, alcohol, tents or groups of umbrellas.
Group sports like volleyball, football, frisbee, and other beach sports are banned. Fishing on sand beaches from the jetty at 1st Street to 42nd Street in the resort area is also banned.
No more than 10 people can gather in a group and six feet of space must be maintained between people who are not family.
Parking at garages and surface lots will be capped at 50 percent.
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