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Beaches open in Boca Raton, Delray Beach for first time since March

Beach parking lots not open in Boca Raton
Residents in southern Palm Beach County were eager to hit the beach for the first time in months on Monday May 18, 2020.
Posted at 12:11 PM, May 18, 2020

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Despite the cloudy skies Monday morning, residents in southern Palm Beach County were eager to hit the beach for the first time in months.

Beach are now open in some towns and cities in Palm Beach County, including Delray Beach and Boca Raton.

Boca Raton was one of the first municipalities to close its beaches, ahead of mandated closures by the county, when the coronavirus pandemic hit Florida this spring.

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There are no limits on what beachgoers can do in Boca Raton: sunbathing, surfing, walking are all allowed. However, there are no lifeguards.

Also, parking lots are not open at beaches in Boca Raton, so you will have may have to walk, bike or take a rideshare. Parking is also prohibited along A1A.

Just after 11 a.m., at the South Beach Pavilion near Palmetto Park Road, there were plenty of beachgoers, but most of them were spaced out in a safe manner.

One of the concerns of the city is that beaches in southern Palm Beach County could become crowded since beaches are still closed in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

WPTV talked to two families, one from Parkland and another from Fort Lauderdale, that came to Boca Raton to visit the beach. They said they had to park about a half-mile away and then walk to the beach.

Ariane Swisa, who was at the beach in Boca Raton, said she was excited to enjoy the ocean again.

“I can’t wait to bring my kids tomorrow and let them breath in fresh air and ocean air,” said Swisa.

Most people that WPTV spoke with at the beach on Monday said they live in Palm Beach County.

“My fear is that we would be inundated, and that is not what I am seeing right now,” said Boca Raton Councilman Andy Thomson.

He said the crowd at the beach was behaving, they were socially distanced and following the CDC guidelines.

There are some significant differences in what beachgoers can and cannot do at Boca Raton and Delray Beach.

Parking lots are open in Delray Beach to Palm Beach County residents, but you can only walk, jog and swim at the beach. No surfing or sunbathing is allowed in Delray Beach.

While Boca Raton has decided to keep their parking lots closed, the city of Delray Beach opened up their metered parking along A1A.

Everyone in Delray Beach seemed to be following the rules and maintaining their distance.

Thomson said he would like to see Boca Raton open up their parking lots to some extent.

“I am going to bring that up tomorrow and say, 'really we shouldn't be punishing Boca Raton residents,'” said Thomson.

The city of Delray Beach and the city of Boca both have meetings on Tuesday. Both can discuss the restrictions on the beaches and if they want to change anything.