Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman did not mince words when he announced that, “after a hellish holiday weekend,” all Southampton Town beaches would be temporarily closed to daily visitors, or “day-trippers.” The Emergency Order (#7.1 of 2020), which is limited to no more than five days but Schneiderman says will likely be extended, limits beaches to residents and legal renters, and also restricts roadside parking near beaches, through May 31.
Before Memorial Day weekend, an Emergency Order was already in place limiting beach parking to residents and renters only, with no day passes allowed, to promote social distancing and protect the population from spreading COVID-19. The new order is different because it now states that pedestrians will also not be permitted on Town beaches, unless they have proof of residency or a legal rental.
Schneiderman’s announcement reads as follows:
Memorial Day Weekend saw an influx of hundreds of visitors, many of whom parked their cars along roadways near beaches where parking was not restricted. The Town had spent weeks preparing to open several popular bathing beaches for the Memorial Day Weekend. These beaches, including Ponquogue, Sagg Main Beach and Long Beach, were busy, but not overwhelmed according to Schneiderman. Weather conditions were not ideal for sunbathing which limited beach attendance, but, even in the rain, people flocked to other beaches to go fishing. The problem became acute at the end of North Sea Road in North Sea when nearly 500 people congregated on a narrow stretch of beach on Saturday evening. Police were forced to close the beach after determining that social distancing could not be achieved based on the volume of people.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to enact these restrictive measures,” said Supervisor Schneiderman “particularly as we enter Phase 1 reopening, but after what we experienced last weekend with droves of visitors overcrowding our beaches, we are left with no other choice to prevent the resurgence of coronavirus in our community.” The Town received numerous complaints about litter, public urination, people not wearing masks and not obeying social distancing rules, and people camping on the beach.
The newly issued emergency order extends the beach parking restrictions to include all Town roads within 1000 ft. of a road-end directly leading to a public beach or water body. This change is aimed at stopping the parking of cars throughout Town neighborhoods that are within the vicinity of beaches and road-endings leading to the beach, but were not restricted.
Under the current emergency order, those parking at or near the beach will need to display a valid town parking sticker on their vehicles. Anyone entering the beach, or on the beach, may be asked to provide proof that they are living or renting within the Town. Acceptable proof would include a valid NYS Driver’s License or Non-Driver ID showing a Southampton Town address; or a valid car registration showing a Southampton Town address; a utility bill showing a Southampton Town address, or any proof of a legal rental. The Supervisor said that the police would only ask for identification when over-crowded conditions exist.
Parking on East Landing Road, West Landing Road, and Petrel Lane in the hamlet of Hampton Bays, has also been restricted in the Emergency Order to parking by permit only.
Violators will be asked to leave and could face a penalty if they refuse. Cars not displaying the proper sticker will be ticketed. Cars parked overnight may be towed.
Southampton Town Police Department, Code Enforcement, Fire Marshals, and the Department of Parks and Recreation personnel shall be enforcing these new restrictions.