Galveston beaches reopened Friday, May 1 and crowds of people flocked to the island.
Driving down Seawall Blvd on Sunday afternoon, visitors to Galveston Island may have had a hard time navigating through traffic or finding a parking spot.
“We’ve been here for going on about two hours. We had to drive around to find a parking spot because you know, it’s so crowded,” said Galveston beach-goer, Allen Bell.
As Texas began reopening parts of its economy Friday, Galveston businesses like Flip Flops Beach Bar & Grill appeared to have no issue drawing in customers to dine-in.
Galveston beaches like Stewart beach appeared to attract thousands of eager people who just couldn’t wait any longer to get out of the house.
“The kids have been bored. There’s not much to do at home anymore. It’s just, you gotta take a little break sometimes,” said Maria Rodriguez.
“It’s going on two years since I’ve been out here. And you thought this was the perfect weekend to come out here? Right, right – with the sun and no clouds in the sky. Yes indeed, yes indeed, so we decided to come out here,” said Allen Bell.
While some visitors decided to follow our footsteps and watch from a safe distance, others say they simply avoided the overly crowded parts of the beach.
“I mean I wouldn’t personally go down there and chill, do what they’re doing,” said Kimberly Estrada.
“I told the kids that we’re not going to do the whole sand thing. Just walk around on the edge,” Barbara Estrada.
“We were probably 20-30 feet from each other so it’s not bad,” Rodriguez said.
Peter Davis, Chief of Galveston Island Beach Patrol said the beaches looked more crowded than usual this time of year.
“We look at like a Fourth of July weekend or Memorial Day weekend — we look at 250,000 to 500,000 people visiting in the island. We don't really have good numbers for that right now because you know, the hotels are just reopened. So some of that’s based on hotel occupancy, some of it's based on how many cars come across the causeway and all that kind of stuff. But just anecdotally, and looking at the crowds and the density, I would say were comparable to one of those big holiday weekend this weekend,” Davis said.
According to Davis, hardly anyone near the Galveston beaches appeared to be wearing a mask and with social distancing a mere recommendation from the CDC, enforcement gets tricky.
“Even though it's not our none of our core responsibilities. I think a lot of times you know reminder is pretty effective to people because I don't think they realize what they're doing,” Davis said.
Even though Galveston beaches are reopen, authorities are still recommending that folks practice safe social distancing measures. For a full list of their recommendations, click here.
Fox 26 reached out to Galveston city and county offices for a response from the Mayor and the Judge, but so far, have not heard back.