The Nantasket Beach Reservation parking lots, owned by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, will be closed as of Friday afternoon, April 3, under an order by Gov. Charlie Baker that all DCR parking lots be shut down to ensure safe social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak.
Domenico Sestito, chairman of the Hull Board of Selectmen, said he had received notice of the closure of the DCR lots at about 1 p.m. Thursday.He said he was “very pleased and grateful to the governor and his administration for doing a great job.”
For the past week, town and state officials have been urging the DCR to close the parking lots associated with the Nantasket Beach Reservation.
“The conversations have been pointed and frequent,” Town Manger Philip Lemnios said.“The town does not have the authority to order a closure of a state facility; that authority rests solely with the governor.”
Lemnios said that the DCR had been considering “several actions for the parking lots at Nantasket Beach as well as actions for parks in other communities.”
According to the DCR, the governor issued an emergency order requiring all coastal beach reservation parking areas managed by DCR to close at noon this Friday. The closures are intended to reduce large concentrations of people at beaches during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coastal parkways that provide access to state beaches will also be closed to both parking and dropping off of passengers. However, state beaches will remain open to pedestrians for “transitory use,” such as walking, jogging, biking, and solitary fishing.
Also at noon on April 3, the DCR will open “select seasonal state parks early and expand access at other parks to provide additional open space opportunities for residents to enjoy alternatives to popular state parks.”
“State parks and associated parking areas remain open at this time. However, the public is asked to visit state parks and other open space properties that are located near their homes to ensure social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19,” Baker said in a news release.
Parking at “high-visitation state parks” will also be limited.
“DCR continues to stress that, if a park is crowded, visitors should consider visiting a different location or returning at a later date or time,” Baker said.
The Massachusetts state parks system has more than 450,000 acres of property, and every region of the state contains multiple parks to explore that may be less busy than others in the area.
To ensure self-isolation, the DCR advises park visitors to stay within solitary or small groups and avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.In addition, the agency recommended a social distance of at least six feet between individuals and participation only in “noncontact recreational activities.”
Maintaining healthy personal hygiene by washing hands for at least 20 seconds is also advised, while those who are sick and over age 70 are asked to stay at home.