At the Hamptons, residents put up barricades to limit parking and mobilized police officers for outsiders. Jersey Shore cities have banned short-term rentals and Airbnb rentals. The Suffolk County Executive's office provoked Mayor Bill de Blasio: “Do your job. Discover a plan to safely reopen your beaches. "
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, tensions have increased repeatedly over whether many New York residents decamped to outlying holiday areas, potentially taking the virus with them. But now the region is on the verge of a complete (and unpleasant) battle over the beaches, triggered by the city's decision to keep the coast closed.
In normal times, the start of the Memorial Day beach season begins a mass migration from the city to Long Island, Jersey Shore and, to a lesser extent, Connecticut. But the closures in New York City have led to a backlash from local officials in those areas, who say they fear their banks will be overwhelmed by an exodus of sun-starved New Yorkers blocked on their own beaches, which in normal times may attract a million people a day.
To maintain social distance, the region's beaches are moving to limit access to everyone. In Jersey Shore, some cities are reducing parking and keeping their iconic boardwalks closed, with seaside restaurants providing only food and delivery services. In Spring Lake, bathers now need to buy daily badges in advance; neighboring Asbury Park is limiting the sale of beach badges and selling them only through an online application.
In Connecticut, the state's beaches are allowing people to gather in groups of five people or less, with 15 feet between beach blankets.
But special rules were also adopted to keep people out. Westchester County, north of the city, has restricted its beaches at Playland, Rye and Croton Point Park, to county residents. In Groton, Connecticut, only residents can use Eastern Point beach on weekends and holidays.
The most comprehensive rebuke from foreigners, however, seems to come from Long Island, many of which beaches are convenient for New York City. Officials in Long Beach, whose waterfront is particularly popular, said that removing non-residents was a life-saving measure.
"It is a pity that Long Island needs to keep bathers out of town to protect its residents and ensure safe beaches, but until the mayor helps and makes their own beaches safe, that is the only responsible action," said state senator Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat on Long Island, who helped lead the charge for these restrictions.
"Once New York City does the right thing, Long Island should welcome its neighbors back as long as safe volumes can be maintained," he said.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone closed two county-run beaches – Smith Point on Fire Island and Cupsogue Beach in the Hamptons – for non-residents. He took to Twitter to berate De Blasio, who earlier this week said the restrictions "shouldn't cause any discomfort to people, depending on where they came from".
"This is not about" bad feelings "- there is reduced capacity", Mr. Bellone tweeted.
Oyster Bay, Hempstead and Brookhaven, all on Long Island, also moved to limit access. Further east, the city of East Hampton suspended the sale of parking permits to non-residents and began enforcing summer beach parking regulations earlier this year.
This type of restriction does not apply to state-run beaches, such as Jones Beach and Robert Moses State Park, kilometers of kilometers that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced would be open to everyone, with reduced capacity, starting on Friday.
De Blasio, however, warned that the opening of the city's 22 kilometers of public beaches could pose risks to the strict social detachment rules issued by city health officials, helping to reduce the peaks of virus infection seen in April.
It is part of a difficult balance that De Blasio tried to strike between providing critical cooling options without wasting the city's harsh gains in reducing case numbers.
The mayor did not say when or if the beaches – which include Coney Island in Brooklyn, Rockaway Beach in Queens and Orchard Beach in the Bronx – reopened.
"We are different from anywhere else," he said. "Everywhere has to find what is right for them."
The Nassau county executive's office initially called the mayor's decision "irresponsible and short-sighted."
Laura Curran, the Nassau executive, had conciliatory discussions with Mr. de Blasio. Still, she signed a measure on Wednesday to restrict access to Nickerson Beach, east of Long Beach – specifically until New York's beaches reopen.
The move noted the need to "protect the health, safety and well-being" of residents of outsiders who could "prevent access" in Nickerson.
The next day, De Blasio asked city residents to refrain from traveling to Long Island, asking them to "keep it local".
"Beaches across the region will have a lot of restrictions," he said at a news conference on Thursday.
Jane Meyer, a spokesman for the mayor, said Long Island would benefit from the city's decision to keep the beaches closed. "The fate of our entire region lies in New York City's ability to continue fighting this virus," she said.
Donovan Richards, an alderman who represents a large part of the Rockaways, noted that Queens have long welcomed residents of Long Island who park on city streets to go to Rockaway Beach.
"Maybe we should start charging for parking on the beach," said Richards. "In a pandemic, when we all have to come together, not be divisors, they are drawing these lines, with the perception that New York City is infecting everyone."
Councilor Justin Brannan, who represents parts of Brooklyn, said the restrictions "are simply not the message you want to send now".
"They come to our city and enjoy what our taxes pay, and now we can't go to their beaches?" he said.
New York City had about 200,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 20,000 deaths, a number that exceeds that of most countries in the world.
Long Island has also been a hot spot in the outbreak, with approximately 78,000 cases and approximately 4,400 deaths.
Corey Johnson, a spokesman for the New York City Council, said the solution to the fight with Long Island was simply to open up the city's beaches immediately.
"I'm not sure if it is realistic to believe that people will not try to swim this summer," said Johnson, "and we don't want to arrest people in the midst of this pandemic."