Frustrated residents in Long Beach are suing the city over the closure of a popular boardwalk.
The coronavirus outbreak has caused many businesses and entertainment venues to close down, but not everyone is happy about that. In fact, a lawsuit was recently filed against the City of Long Beach regarding the closure of the city’s boardwalk. The suit was filed by Francis McQuade and his attorney, Scott Cohen, against “five elected city council members, interim City Manager Donna Gayden and her assistant John McNally.”
According to the lawsuit, the two men claim the “city did not get approval from the state Department of Health to close the boardwalk.” They argue that the “closure also created a different public health crisis by restricting access to the beach to two entrance points at Pacific Boulevard and New York Avenue.”
City officials closed the boardwalk back on March 26 until further notice “after officials cited growing crowds congregating on the boardwalk, which is frequently used for exercise and outdoor public space.” The city also announced the “boardwalk would be closed by emergency order.” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) both praised the boardwalk’s closure. However, McQuade called the closure a “government overreach with unintended consequences.” He further claimed, “Long Beach police should have enforced social distancing measures on the boardwalk.” The suit further states:
“Despite the City of Long Beach accepting tens of millions of federal dollars to create a public thoroughfare, City Council President [John] Bendo threatens the public with police action should they attempt to enter the public space.”
“The immediate result of the City of Long Beach’s arbitrarily shuttering the boardwalk has resulted in the closure of a major public thoroughfare, and has effectively closed off beach access to the majority of the City. This has resulted in an influx of people and traffic clustering at the few open entrances to the beach, primarily located at New York Avenue and Pacific Boulevard…In essence, the entire City has descended on those two locations to access the beach, drastically increasing the density of people, which cluster in those locations. Moreover, after shuttering the only pedestrian-only thoroughfare in the City, the public now floods narrow sidewalks and crowded streets, which hinder social distancing measures, which may take place on the City’s boardwalk.”
So far Long Beach has reported 285 positive cases of COVID-19.