May 28, 2020 – The City of Hampton announced that, now that Gov. Ralph Northam has given the green light, beaches at Buckroe, Fort Monroe, Salt Ponds and Grandview will open for swimming, sunbathing and playing in the sand beginning Friday.
Along with opening those forms of outdoor exercise, the city is also opening its two golf courses, The Hamptons and The Woodlands, as well as the clay-court Hampton Tennis Center.
All facilities will open in a modified way that includes maintaining social distancing by not operating at full capacity.
The main tool for limiting beach capacity at Buckroe Beach, which can be crowded on a summer weekend, will be limited parking. During this phase, the parking lot at the fishing pier (which is undergoing repairs) will be closed. The city will not open the overflow grass lots and will not run a shuttle bus to and from Jones Middle School. Barricades will be placed to notify people when lots are full.
Lifeguards will be on duty and beach “ambassadors” will be on hand to remind people of the guidelines:
- No groups of umbrellas or groups of more than 10 individuals
- Groups must be at least 6 feet apart
- No group sports (such as volleyball, Frisbee, soccer, etc.)
- No speakers
- (No dogs and no alcoholic beverages, but those are already the rules)
Fort Monroe will limit parking at the beach areas and will not allow any parking on the grass. Ambassadors there will share information about the rules. The city will provide lifeguards in the Outlook Beach and coves area. The privately operated Paradise Ocean Club will also open its beach.
Salt Ponds and Grandview beaches already have limited parking, but ambassadors will be stationed there as well to provide information.
The Buckroe Farmers Market will also open on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lot with the gazebo. It, too, is under enhanced safety precautions for its weekly sale of food and crafts.
Other measures the city is taking at Buckroe Beach and Park include:
- Enhanced sanitizing of restrooms
- Shelters and grills remain closed
- Frequent sand sweeping
- No food trucks
- No concerts
Changes at the golf courses include:
- Golfers are recommended to rent one cart per person, but doubles will be allowed.
- No rental of clubs or equipment other than carts, which will be sanitized between uses
- Tee times will be farther apart (10 minutes versus 6-7 minutes).
- Food and beverages are for sale at the restaurants (pick-up window at The Woodlands; outdoor seating service available at The Hamptons); however, players should bring their own water for the course.
The Hampton Tennis Center building is closed, so a port-a-john will be provided. Players should also bring their own water.
The weather may be a natural factor limiting attendance at all outdoor recreation Friday and Saturday, with thunderstorms predicted. The forecast for Sunday, however: “Abundant sunshine.”