State, Town Council Tweaks Parking Order on Winthrop Beach

In an effort to better promote social distancing and curb gathering of more than 10 people Gov. Charlie Baker issued an emergency order requiring all coastal beach reservation parking areas managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to close.

The order applied to parking WInthrop Shore Drive and caused some confusion for Precinct 6 residents that live and park along the beach. After the order was issued, State Police began towing cars that did not move after the order was handed down by the state to Winthrop residents.

While Gov. Baker said the order was to further reduce large concentrations of people at beaches during the COVID-19 outbreak Winthrop Shore Drive residents and Precinct 6 Councilor Stephen Ruggiero argued that Winthrop Beach is much differently situated than many of the other beaches affected by the Governor’s order.

Last week DCR amended the order to allow vehicles with Winthrop resident parking stickers to remain parked on Winthrop Shore Drive.

“Through a collaboration between Precinct 6 residents, law enforcement, and local and state government leaders, I’m pleased to say that the Governor’s order has been adjusted so that vehicles displaying Winthrop resident parking stickers are permitted to park along Winthrop Shore Drive,” said Ruggiero. “Thank you to DCR for recognizing the unique residential qualities of the Winthrop Beach area. Please keep in mind that the intention of last week’s order is to reduce congregation at beaches during the COVID-19 outbreak, and that message remains unchanged. According to health experts, it is still imperative to practice physical distancing to limit the spread of the virus.”

Ruggiero added Winthrop Shore Drive residents can obtain a parking sticker by calling (617) 539-5848 Monday through Friday or emailing [email protected]

Winthrop Beach will remain open and available to pedestrians for transitory use only, i.e. walking, jogging, biking, solitary fishing, etc.

Town Manager Austin Faison and Public Health Director Meredith Hurley have received notification from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) that as of Wednesday the number of Winthrop residents with positive cases of COVID-19 rose to 79 total cases with one more additional death. 

Winthrop officials, Gov. Baker and the DCR continue to stress that if Winthrop Beach or other area parks are crowded, visitors should consider visiting a different location or returning at a later date or time. The Governor and DCR also advises visitors of state parks to:

Stay within solitary or small groups, and avoid gatherings of ten or more people;

Practice social distancing of at least six feet between individuals;

Participate in only non-contact recreational activities;

Practice healthy personal hygiene, such as handwashing for at least 20 seconds; Stay home if ill, over 70, and/or part of a vulnerable population.

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