Public access to Crane Beach in Ipswich has been closed to nonresidents until further notice due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Police Chief Paul A. Nikas announced the closure and other changes to public access to the beach on March 23, saying they are based on the latest guidance from the state regarding social gathering limits.
On Monday, Governor Charlie Baker banned any gatherings of more than 10 people.
Ipswich decided on the restrictions in conjunction with the Trustees of Reservations, which owns about 1,300 acres of Crane Beach — the town owns the remaining 20 acres. The restrictions, which allow Ipswich residents to visit the beach three days a week, apply to both the Trustees’ and the town land, according to Peter Pinciaro, director of the Trustees’ Crane Estate, which includes the beach.
The Trustees also announced the closure of all its outdoor properties statewide through April 7. But in the case of Crane Beach, the organization agreed in discussions with town officials to allow Ipswich residents limited access to the Trustees’ portion of the beach, Pinciaro said.
Under the new restrictions, the entire beach is open to Ipswich residents on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents must have a 2019 or 2020 town beach sticker on their vehicles to access the beach.
The beach is closed to all members of the public from Monday through Thursday. No dogs or horses are allowed on the beach. Anyone parked illegally along Argilla Road or at the beach gates will be ticketed and/or towed. All residents who visit the beach are encouraged to practice social distancing and appropriate personal hygiene.
“This decision was not made lightly, but in the interest of public health concerns for people using the beach and public safety personnel who need to control the crowds,” Nikas said in a statement. “These changes are a temporary measure designed to help ensure the health and safety of the community. We appreciate the public’s understanding and cooperation during these unique times.”
The Trustees’ closure of its outdoor properties follows a recent decision to close its indoor properties.
“We have seen in recent weeks a surge in visitation at our properties as many have sought to find a place to get out of their homes, to relieve their stress, and to simply get find solace in nature. We are grateful that our places have served this much-needed purpose in these unprecedented times,” Barbara Erickson, the Trustees’ president and CEO, said in a statement. “Now we close our properties to the public per the Governor’s orders in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the Commonwealth and our staff.”
“We recognize that many Trustees properties are without gates or barriers and are within safe walking distance from neighbors and others and could be safely visited within the parameters of the Governor’s directive,” Alicia Leuba, the Trustees’ vice president, said in a separate statement. “We ask that those who choose to visit our properties at this time, be respectful, follow guidelines about litter, safety, and dog behavior. However, we strongly encourage our visitors to avoid driving to our places in compliance with the spirit of the Governor’s request.”
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