Rehoboth Beach is joining other beach towns in moving toward reopening as Memorial Day and the summer season approach.
Rehoboth Beach Commissioners discussed a four-phase plan to reopen, including the beach, boardwalk and non-essential businesses, at a special meeting Tuesday.
Mayor Paul Kuhns appointed Commissioner Pat Coluzzi to act as a liaison in implementing the plan, starting with limited access to the beach and boardwalk later this week.
“I think that the most important thing that we can do, the only way we can protect ourselves - we don’t have a vaccine - the only way we can protect ourselves and the public is wearing masks and social distancing," Coluzzi said. "So with that, I think that the boardwalk and the beach should be open, but only for walking and exercising.”
City leaders say the beach and boardwalk will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily starting Friday, but people are asked to wear a face covering, maintain social distancing and keep gatherings to 10 people or less.
Bikes will be allowed on the boardwalk from 6-10 a.m. Leased dog walking will be permitted on the beach through May 29, but dogs are not allowed on the boardwalk. And no swimming, surfing, and loitering is allowed.
Gov. John Carney said Tuesday he agrees with Rehoboth’s approach.
“I think what Mayor Kuhns really did is move towards the existing limitations," said Carney "They had gone further than that and completely closed their beaches and boardwalk, and we had allowed beaches to be open for walking, family walking, walking with your spouse, exercising on the beach in an individual kind of way.”
The Rehoboth beach and boardwalk have been completely closed for nearly two months.
Commissioner Steve Scheffer supports the re-opening, but has some concerns.
“We also need to look at what we can do in the event that things don't go as planned and I think it's really important that we work with our local representatives to make sure that we have adequate testing, that we are able to do what we can do to - when we do have outbreaks - that we're able to trace contacts and we’re able to provide treatment,” said Scheffer.
Rehoboth’s public restrooms on Rehoboth, Baltimore and Delaware Avenues will also reopen on Friday. Parking meters will not be turned on until at least May 29, 2020 - the Friday after Memorial Day.
Rehoboth Beach Commissioners meet again on Friday morning to continue their planning discussions.
Bethany Beach also announced this week that it will re-open its beach and boardwalk, for exercise and walking only, on Friday.