More than seven weeks after Ogunquit closed its spectacular stretch of sand beaches to the public to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the town has decided to reopen two of them.

Ogunquit Beach, also known as Main Beach, and Footbridge Beach will reopen Monday for walking, surfing, paddling and fishing, according to a statement posted on the Police Department’s Facebook page.

People with disabilities or physical limitations will be allowed “to remain in position on the beaches,” but all other visitors must keep moving or be actively engaged in one of the permitted activities. Sports-related activities, such as beach volleyball or Frisbee, won’t be permitted on the beaches, nor will sunbathing.

The town said that social-distancing protocols that require people staying 6 feet apart will remain in place and be enforced. And the town said that people visiting Ogunquit from out of state must comply with Gov. Janet Mills’ executive order that requires they self-quarantine for 14 days.

Town Manager Patricia Finnegan said that the Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday to open Main Beach and Footbridge Beach. Ogunquit police and town officials will be monitoring activity on the the beaches. North Beach, also known as Moody Beach, and the Marginal Way walking path will remain closed until further notice.

“People are expected to practice physical distancing and wear masks,” Finnegan said in an email. “If it becomes too crowded or unsafe, the beaches will be closed.”

Finnegan said the town will post signs reinforcing the message to wear masks, more as an advisory than a regulation.

“The intent is for people to wear masks if they are or might be in close contact with people,” Finnegan said. “On the beach, people can distance themselves, but not necessarily in the parking lots, on the sidewalks, or on the ramps leading to the beach.”

The Board of Selectmen will meet June 3 to review the situation at the two beaches. Finnegan said selectmen could decide to keep the same access requirements or vote to gradually allow other activities and areas to open.

Dina Holmes, who operates Ogunquit Beach ‘n’ Sport along with her partner Stacey Crowell, said she would not be comfortable if the town had opened up the beaches without restrictions. Holmes said it is too early in the pandemic for a full opening.

“I think it’s going to be good for walking and running, but I’d be uneasy about anything else,” she said.

Her tourist-dependent business is an online service that offers onsite delivery of rental products such as beach chairs, umbrellas, coolers, beach carts and strollers. Holmes said she won’t begin to feel the effects of the pandemic and its impact on tourism until her peak season starts in July.

Selectmen voted March 24 to close the beaches and Marginal Way in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their decision to reopen the two beaches is in line with the path being taken by neighboring communities in southern Maine.

On Wednesday, the town of Kennebunk announced that it would reopen access to beaches and parks on Friday, but only for active uses such as waking, running, swimming and surfing. That means that Gooch’s, Middle and Mother’s Beach will be open for active use, according to a statement issued by the town. Parsons Beach will remain closed.

Fitness classes will not be allowed on any Kennebunk beaches and beach users must adhere to the 6-foot social-distancing rule. Group gatherings, loitering and playing games will not be permitted. Dogs are permitted on the beaches, but must be on a leash at all times. Parking stickers for the beaches will not be available for purchase until after May 31.

Last week, the Wells Board of Selectmen voted to reopen Crescent, Wells, Moody and Drake’s Island beaches to walking, fishing, surfing, swimming and recreating without sitting or sunbathing. Those beaches reopened on Monday.

Town beaches in Scarborough (Ferry, Pine Point and Higgins) along with Old Orchard Beach can be used by walkers only. Sitting and sunbathing are not permitted.

The town of York will reopen its beaches on Monday for walking, running, fishing and surfing.

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