ROCK HALL — Following two meetings held through conference call, the mayor and council voted to open its town beach, known as Ferry Park, pending signage detailing what is and is not allowed there.
The council approved opening the beach during a special phone meeting Wednesday, May 20. The council also finalized what rules will be printed on signs that will be posted around the beach.
Mayor Dawn Jacobs said the signs will list rules of “no chairs, no beach blankets, no picnics” in an effort “to reduce the threat of COVID-19.”
Beach goers are to practice social distancing with no more than 10 people gathered. Outdoor exercise is permitted, like jogging, running or swimming. No dogs are allowed on the beach.
Jacobs said the signs will read “violators will be subject to fines and/or arrest.”
The council may vote to close the beach again if beach goers do not follow the posted rules.
Town Manager Bob Resele said he is not sure how soon the signs will be available, though Saturday is likely the earliest date.
Acknowledging the signs may be jarring to some people, Councilwoman Carolyn Jones said COVID-19 “will be around for a while,” so residents and visitors may see these rules in place for longer than this summer.
“Let’s be real about it, this is not going to go away in a month. It’s not even going to go away in a year. The way everything I’ve read and everything I’ve listened to, we’ve got to be on our P’s and Q’s for a long time,” Jones said. “A vaccine is not going to be here tomorrow.”
Also, Jacobs said she was notified the annual Pirates and Wenches Fantasy Weekend, typically held in mid-August, has been canceled this year.
Jacobs reiterated outdoor dinning is not permitted at town restaurants. Acting Police Chief Bill Dempsey said the Rock Hall Police Department will monitor establishments as part of its regular patrol.
The council was originally set to discuss the subject of the beach during its regular business meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 14. According to a notice posted to the municipal website, that meeting was postponed due to a dependent of a town employee testing positive for COVID-19.
The employee does not live in Rock Hall. The employee also did not test positive for COVID-19.
Because the town employee whose dependent tested positive for COVID-19 is now recovering and will soon be out of quarantine, the council will resume in-person meetings.
Jacobs said the next council meetings will focus on workshopping the town budget. Those meetings will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 26 and Wednesday, May 27 with a business meeting likely Thursday, May 28.
For more information, go to rockhallmd.com/town-hall.