BOSTON (CBS) — Gov. Charlie Baker issued an emergency order Thursday for all coastal beach reservation parking areas managed by the state to close at midday Friday to reduce large groups of people at beaches during the coronavirus outbreak.

At the same time on Friday, the state will open some seasonal state parks early to provide more outdoor recreational opportunities.

Coastal parkways that provide access to state beaches will also be closed to both parking and dropping off passengers. The beaches will remain open for walking, jogging, biking and fishing.

“We heard from a lot of our colleagues at DCR and from many of our colleagues in local law enforcement in local communities that people were not abiding by the rules and the guidelines associated with gatherings, distance, pretty much everything at the beaches last weekend,” Baker said during a news conference Thursday.

Gov. Baker is also asking that people only visit state parks close to their homes to limit the spread of the virus and maintain social distancing. The state will be limiting the amount of parking spaces available at popular state parks, and advises that if a park is crowded, visitors should consider visiting a different park or coming back later.

“We got a lot of input from a lot of places that people were not treating any of the distancing rules at the beaches the way they should have been,” Baker said. “And our solution to that is if people can’t play by the rules, if it’s too big a temptation, then we’re just gonna get rid of the parking. And if you can walk to the beach, okay, but you better abide by the rules of social distancing and recognize and understand that parking yourself on a beach on a blanket with a barbecue with 15 other people is just an incredibly bad idea at this point in time given where we are and what’s going on.”


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