Just as the sun came up May 14, a City of Lewes crew was busy moving and rearranging barricades, barrels and cones to partially reopen its beach parking lots at the end of Savannah Road and on Cape Henlopen Drive. Access to the lot at Roosevelt Inlet will fully reopen.
Mayor Ted Becker said the city has received many emails from people who are anxious to park in the beach lots, as many often do on nice days. They’ve also received pushback from residents on Lewes’ residential streets regarding people using space in front of their properties as parking while they walk or exercise on the beach.
Lewes and Henlopen Acres are the only two beach towns that have been open to limited activity since the governor’s order restricting beach access March 21.
At the Savannah Road parking lot, access would be limited to the center parking spaces. All beachfront spaces and the back-end spaces near the bathrooms will be cordoned off to vehicles. Cars will enter at Savannah Road and exit via Virginia Avenue onto Cape Henlopen Drive. Restrooms will also remain closed until the city can determine a way to provide a safe environment.
At the Cape Henlopen Drive lot, access will be limited to only the beachfront spaces, about a dozen in total. Most spaces will remain off limits.
“We’re very conscious that the more access there is to the beach, the more the police will have to be monitoring to make sure people are not doing things that are not permitted,” said City Manager Ann Marie Townshend.
Townshend said additional signage regarding permitted beach activities will be added.
Gov. John Carney’s stay-at-home order, short-term rental ban and requirement for out-of-state travelers to quarantine for 14 days remain in effect.
Lewes police officers have been patrolling the beach on a UTV and with a drone. Chief Tom Spell said those activities will continue.