OCEAN CITY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan says he will reopen the resort town's beach, Boardwalk and Inlet parking lot this weekend. The city's popular attractions have been closed since the end of March in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Just recently, Meehan had amended two orders to mirror Maryland's recovery plan saying he would keep those three areas closed until May 15. Restrictions on short term rentals will continue as planned through May 22.
Meehan held a press conference on Tuesday to announce the decision and said the reopening is a way to give locals more opportunities to get fresh air, get outside and exercise. He said people who come to the beach and walk on the Boardwalk would still need to adhere to physical distancing guidelines and gathering limits.
The mayor says he believes his decision does not supersede any orders implemented by Governor Larry Hogan and says he encourages people to follow the governor’s stay-at-home order. He said the city is not encouraging or asking anyone to supersede the orders in place.
“By reopening the beach to the general public – not just Ocean City residents – will allow us to transition with crowds that are going to be much, much smaller today then they might be a month from now or two months from now,” he said.
Non-essential businesses remain closed in Maryland as does Hogan's state's stay-at-home order, which states, "no Maryland resident should leave their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention, or for other necessary purposes."
Meehan's decision to open the beach, Boardwalk and parking area comes ahead of Memorial Day. The holiday weekend traditionally signifies the beginning of the summer season and is usual marked by large crowds of tourists enjoying the beach and the Boardwalk.