Image of Cupsogue Beach in Westhampton Beach. June 22, 2019.

Image of Cupsogue Beach in Westhampton Beach. June 22, 2019. Credit: Veronique Louis

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on Thursday sent Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo a plan to allow Smith Point County Park and Cupsogue Beach County Park beaches to open on Memorial Day and the remaining beaches opening during the third week of June.

Visitors would be required to wear a mask on boardwalks, stairways, restrooms, concessions and other public areas, but not on the beach or in the water, according to the four-page plan. Beachgoers would also have to maintain social distancing of 6 feet from people who are not part of their households.

People who have been exposed to COVID-19 or who are showing symptoms would be prohibited from entering the beach, according to the plan. 

Lifeguards also would undergo special training related to saving swimmers, including using some underwater compatible masks, the document states.

The county would hire additional public safety staff to enforce the guidelines along with a bathroom attendant for each beach.

Playgrounds, basketball and handball courts would remain closed for the season.

Earlier Tuesday, a bipartisan group of state senators with oceanfronts in their districts called Thursday for a plan to ensure the safe reopening of beaches in New York.

Eleven senators, including five on Long Island, wrote to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to urge the formation of a task force to plan how to reopen beaches safely to manage an expected “sudden influx of activity after months of isolation.”

They said the "beach-going experience" might have to be "reimagined" to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Many beaches are open now to walkers only, but legislators said the state needs to outline how it wants to deal with admissions, parking, concessions, lifeguards and other issues as the weather warms and more residents flock to the shore.

“Now it is finally possible to consider returning to our state’s beautiful beaches. Droves of ocean-goers streaming to our shores in search of relief and relaxation following months of isolation will require unprecedented levels of planning and cooperation in light of our newfound health challenges,” the senators wrote to Cuomo.

The coalition was spearheaded by Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) and included Sens. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore), John Brooks (D-Seaford), Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood).

Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), who also represents parts of Brooklyn, added: “We need a plan — this summer New Yorkers will once again flock to our beaches from Coney Island to Montauk. We need a comprehensive plan that will address public safety as well as the economic concerns of seasonal businesses.”

Cuomo didn’t immediately comment. 

Two weeks ago, the Democrat said beaches were a low priority for reopening amid the pandemic. The governor said he feared the crowds drawn to beaches, horse racing tracks and other “attractive nuisances” could fuel an infection resurgence. And he said he thought any beach reopening would have to be done in coordination with New Jersey and Connecticut to prevent any one state from being overwhelmed by beach-starved residents.

But in a sign things might be shifting, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday he planned to reopen beaches, in a limited way, for Memorial Day weekend. He suggested conditions similar to those used at public parks and golf courses, with limits on capacity.

Latest videos