Wells selectmen voted Tuesday evening to shut down all of its public beaches so people won’t congregate and risk spreading the coronavirus.

Wells joined Ogunquit and Kittery in adopting measures to prohibit public access to some of the state’s most popular ocean beaches just two months before the summer tourist season begins.

Wells Town Manager Jonathan Carter said the closures will affect Wells Beach and Moody Beach, as well as Drakes Island Beach, Crescent Beach and Wells Harbor Community Park until further notice. The closures will take effect Wednesday at noon.

“The Town of Wells highly recommends our residents stay at home and limit contact with others until further notice. Exceptions to this recommendation include emergency situations and fulfillment of basic needs,” the town said in a statement Tuesday. “Your safety remains our top priority. The recommendations are necessary directives to maintain a healthy and safe community. We appreciate your cooperation through this difficult time.”

Carter said the closures became necessary after large groups were seen congregating on those beaches last weekend. Gov. Janet Mills and health experts have urged people to keep a minimum distance of 6 feet from others in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

On Monday, the town of York took similar measures, closing its beaches after large numbers of people converged on coastal towns in southern Maine last weekend. York officials said they grew concerned because many of the beachgoers appeared to be from outside the state.

The Ogunquit Board of Selectmen voted in an emergency meeting to close Marginal Way, a scenic pathway that winds along cliffs that overlook Ogunquit Beach, said Town Manager Patricia Finnigan in an email Tuesday.

In addition to closing Marginal Way, Finnigan said, Ogunquit Beach and all town beaches, as well as the parking lots that serve them, will close indefinitely Wednesday at noon.

“We have great shops and restaurants that draw people to Ogunquit, but the biggest reason people come is the Marginal Way and our beautiful beaches,” Finnigan said. “In order to slow the virus and flatten the curve, the town needed to shut off the places where too many people were congregating and were not practical social distancing.”

“This was a very difficult and sad decision for the Select Board. It was made out of concern for the community’s health and hope that if we any many other states and municipalities take this as seriously, we can hopefully thwart COVID-19, preserve people’s health, and we’ll all have a happy and healthy summer,” Finnigan said.

The town of Kittery also decided Tuesday to close Fort Foster Park, Seapoint Beach and Crescent Beach to the public effective Tuesday, according to an announcement on the town’s website.

 

 

 

 

 

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