Memorial Day weekend has long been considered the official start to summer in Galveston, but amid the coronavirus pandemic, it looks and feels different this year.

Businesses and attractions are beginning to open, and the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau encourages residents and visitors to remain vigilant in protecting themselves and others from the coronavirus.

When it comes to visiting Galveston beaches, social distancing is key. At beaches along the seawall you can look to the sky for best practices as a plane towing a banner will circulate overhead reminding people to stay 6 feet apart. Social distancing is also emphasized at area restaurants and bars. Bars were recently given the green light to open under Phase II mandates per Gov. Greg Abbott.

For Galveston residents, the three-day weekend may mean making use of the one-way streets when going out to run errands. No doubt, crowds from neighboring Houston and regional areas like Beaumont, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and central Texas will seek the wide expanse of Galveston beaches in an effort to get outside after weeks of being cooped up at home.

If you find yourself playing host to some of these out-of-town visitors, here is some information you can use to keep your guests occupied:

• As of Friday, restaurants may expand their occupancy to 50 percent. Bars — including wine-tasting rooms, craft breweries and similar businesses — may open at 25 percent occupancy. But, like restaurants, these occupancy limits don’t apply to outdoor areas that maintain safe distancing among parties. It’s a good idea to contact restaurants and bars individually because schedules can vary.

• Many retail shops, clothing stores, specialty shops and galleries will be open at a limited capacity. Shop like a local and take advantage of places offering online shopping, curbside pick-up and local delivery. For more information on store hours and online offerings, check the businesses’ Facebook pages or visit

• Moody Gardens attractions reopen today. Visitors can enjoy the Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, MG3D Theater, 4D Special FX Theater, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: An Interactive Adventure, Colonel Paddlewheel Boat and the new Dinos Alive exhibit.

• Many other museums and attractions around the island have also begun opening their doors as the phased approach to reopen Texas is underway. This includes the Tall Ship Elissa, 1892 Bishop’s Palace, Pier 21 Theater, Bryan Museum and more. As reopening continues, capacity, sanitization procedures and hours of operations are being updated daily. Please visit the museums’ and attractions’ individual websites for current offerings.

Park Board meetings are typically held at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesdays of the month at Park Board Plaza, 601 23rd St.

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.


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