After weeks of beach closures, take-out restaurant meals and to-go cocktails, life is beginning to appear more normal here on the island. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and officials from the Texas General Land Office — with an eye toward restarting the economy — have lifted some restrictions on Texas residents and businesses.
Galveston’s beach parks and several tourist attractions reopened Friday to the public. The parks include East Beach, Stewart Beach, Dellanera RV Park and Seawall beaches.
“The health and safety of our residents and visitors are of utmost importance to us,” Park Board Executive Director Kelly de Schaun said. “As such, we ask all who come to the beaches to maintain social distancing, not to gather in large groups and to wear face coverings when possible.”
Galveston Island Beach Patrol and the Galveston Police Department will actively enforce social distancing mandates at the beach. Parking fees will apply at Stewart and East beaches and along the Seawall beaches.
The Galveston Park Board staff has adopted rigorous cleaning procedures at its parks. Among the procedures put in place are cleaning bathroom surfaces on an hourly basis, increasing the frequency of trash removal and sanitizing park equipment daily. In addition, staff will enact measures to ensure proper distancing in queues and at public gathering places.
“Galveston’s tourism economy is vital to the health of small businesses here,” de Schaun said. “But we need to balance the immediate economic gains with the health and well-being of our residents. The park board and the city staff are committed to upholding the mandates prescribed for this phase of reopening the state.”
Hotels, restaurants, retail outlets and some attractions opened Friday with certain restrictions. Larger attractions including Moody Gardens, Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier and Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark remain closed until further notice.
The following tourist attractions opened this week, some on a limited schedule:
• Galveston Historical Foundation: The 1892 Bishop’s Palace, 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, and Historic Harbor Tours & Dolphin Watch opened Friday and today and will remain open Sunday.
• Moody Mansion opened Friday and today. Sunday’s hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• The Galveston Island Railroad Museum is open Sunday and will open Wednesday through Sunday for the next several weeks.
• Fishing piers and fishing charters opened for business Friday. Contact individual outlets for details.
• Moody Gardens Golf Course will open Monday.
• Seawolf Park will open Monday.
For updated information on hotels, shops and restaurants, visit Galveston.com.
Park Board meetings are typically held on the fourth Tuesdays of the month at 1:30 p.m. at Park Board Plaza, 601 23rd St.