Less than 24 hours after announcing Bolivar Peninsula beaches would be completely closed over the Fourth of July weekend, Galveston County officials announced they were changing their plans and would allow some beach use over the holiday.
The county announced Thursday morning that while vehicle traffic will be prohibited from Bolivar beaches, people will still be able to walk on them from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. from Friday to Monday.
The county Wednesday evening had announced it was following the city of Galveston's lead and closing all access to beaches over the holiday as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. County officials said their closure was prompted by worries that closing island beaches would create uncontrollable crowds on the peninsula.
But those rules were reconsidered overnight after outcry from the owners of rental houses on the peninsula, officials said.
The idea behind the revised rules is that people renting beach houses, and Bolivar residents, will be able to use the beach for limited periods of time but that more significant crowds will stay away for wont of a place to park, officials said.
"We are discouraging visitors from traveling to the Bolivar Peninsula this weekend," the county said in its announcement.
Most beach parking on Bolivar Peninsula is directly on the beachfront.
Full closures enacted by the cities of Galveston and Jamaica Beach, which together control the island's whole beachfront, remain in effect, officials said.