GLOUCESTER (CBS) — It’ll be harder to get to the beach this weekend in Gloucester – unless you live there. The city is closing all public beach parking lots to non-residents on Saturday and Sunday.

“I know you’re on vacation and usually you go everywhere else,” said Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. “But COVID didn’t take a summer vacation. It’s still here. I have to protect the people that I represent.”

This Saturday and Sunday, she’s limiting the parking lots at beaches to Gloucester residents only. She says since high tide is expected at peak hours this weekend, social distancing will be a challenge and last weekend got out-of-hand. “People were knocking on people’s doors and asking if they could park in their driveways,” said the mayor. “I have a lot of seniors who still own homes, and they were scared, and they were calling the police.”

“A lot of people come to this beach. It gets pretty crowded,” said Erika Lucien, who visited from Cambridge this week. Like others, she said she tries to stay away from crowds.

“I mean, outside is best, but still, how close do you want to be? You don’t,” said Brad Hutchins, who visited from Stow.

Gloucester plans to bring in extra staff to monitor the parking lots this weekend, and crews are posting no parking signs on surrounding streets. They say they will be out ticketing and towing. Violators face a $75 fine.

Visitors from out-of-town are still welcome on weekdays, and city leaders say they’ll assess later next week how they’ll proceed the following weekend.

 

 

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