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Queen Anne's Co. to allow only their residents on some beaches, amid COVID-19 surge

Posted at 1:01 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 18:32:54-04

CENTREVILLE, Md. — Beginning July 1, some Queen Anne's County beaches will be open to county residents only in hopes of minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

They are Matapeake Beach, and those at Terrapin and Ferry Point Nature Preserve.

The County Commissioners voted on the new restrictions at their June 23 meeting, citing a lack of restroom and sanitation facilities, and concerns of overcrowding which limits the ability to social distance.

Queen Anne’s County Health Officer, Dr. Joseph Ciotola recommended the action be taken.

“As the region enters into different phases of the Pandemic Recovery Plan, our number of visitors have skyrocketed beyond anything we have experienced before," said Steve Chandlee, Director of Parks & Recreation. "Our County venues are attracting people from Delaware, Virginia, Washington D.C. and we are not able to manage the current and necessary protocols to maintain a social distancing and provide adequate sanitary facilities at this time," said Chandlee.

To insure compliance, staff will be on site each weekend and visitors will have to show proof of county residency.

“This was not an action the Commissioners took lightly, but we have an obligation to protect the health of our citizens,” said County Commissioner, Chris Corchiarino.

The spread of COVID-19 wasn't the only concern that prompted the commissioners to make changes.

Currently the Romancoke and Matapeake fishing piers are open 24-hours a day. But several complaints have been made recently about loud music, people illegally parking, swimming, yelling, and fishing too close to private boats.

So starting July 1, those piers will no longer be open around the clock, but only from dawn to dusk.

Staff will be on hand each day to clear out the parks and close the picnic areas.