AUSTIN (KXAN) — Officials hope reducing access to popular beaches in Southeast Texas over the Fourth of July weekend will disperse weekend crowds and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In Galveston, between Friday at 5 a.m. and Monday at midnight, beaches will be closed to traffic, according to a Facebook post from the City of Galveston. The mayor signed an executive order Wednesday after checking with the Texas General Land Office, and violations could result in up to a $500 fine.
Galveston’s Mayor Jim Yarbrough said closing the beaches was a decision they deliberated on, but ultimately felt it was in the best interest of the island’s residents and visitors.
“Galveston has and always will be a welcoming destination, but the ongoing public health crisis demands our attention and response. We have to prioritize health and safety,” said Yarbrough.
Well-known holiday hotspots like Port Aransas, Padre Island, South Padre Island in addition to Galveston all have put restrictions in place over the weekend.
Padre Island National Seashore will be temporarily closed for the weekend beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday through 6 a.m. Tuesday, according to the National Park Service Facebook page for the area. That includes camping and overnight parking at Bird Island Basin Boat ramp.
Visit Port Aransas posted a Fourth of July FAQ that said people will still be able to access beaches on foot, but they’re closed to vehicles and parking will be very limited. There will also be a curfew starting Thursday night between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Cameron County also temporarily closed county beach access areas to South Padre Island in an emergency order Monday. It lasts through July 13.