Partially open beaches work well in Lewes

City manager: Incidents few and far between
May 8, 2020

While most Delaware beach towns went beyond Gov. John Carney’s restrictions and beaches completely, Lewes officials opted to follow the governor’s order, which allows exercise and dog walking.

In the seven weeks since, City Manager Anne Marie Townshend said, residents have mostly adhered to the mandate.

“There have been a few isolated instances, but it has not been a problem to date,” she said.

The police department patrols the beach with a UTV and occasionally flies over with its drone. In an email May 2, Police Chief Tom Spell said the UTV has been used 49 times and the drone 26 times. The drone is equipped to play an audio message to inform people of the governor’s state-of-the-emergency order.

Mayor Ted Becker said he believes compliance can partly be credited to closing the two public parking lots at the beach, making it more difficult for people to find a way onto the beach.

With fees reinstated at Cape Henlopen State Park as of May 8, Becker said, there is a worry people may come to Lewes beaches, particularly the residential streets west of Savannah Road.

Townshend said the police will continue to watch the beach to ensure compliance with the governor’s order.

“I think we are all concerned about people flocking to the beaches as the weather improves, and it is something we will continue to monitor and patrol,” she said.

Becker said as long as the operations of retail stores and restaurants are limited, the crowds should remain low.

“Part of what’s going to drive people back here is the shops and restaurants opening,” he said. “People come here to go to the shops and eat at our restaurants. It’s not just lying in the sand.”

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter