Despite persistent rumors that Galveston is again closing its beaches, the city isn't considering doing so, officials said.

In fact, the city doesn't believe it has the authority to do so after Gov. Greg Abbott in late April ordered beaches reopen, Mayor Jim Yarbrough said.

"I have not discussed it," Yarbrough said. "Period." 

The Texas General Land Office, which oversees state beaches, confirmed Tuesday it hasn't received any recent requests, either formal or informal, from the city to close any beach access points either temporarily or permanently. 

City officials don't think they have the authority to do so, although Yarbrough would have preferred a slow phased-in opening of beaches, he said. 

Galveston closed its beaches March 29 over fears of coronavirus spread. The Galveston City Council opened beaches for a small window in the morning starting April 27, but later that week, Abbott ordered all state beaches fully opened beginning May 1. 

Since then, the island has seen an onslaught of visitors, especially day trippers from the Houston metro area, with officials reporting holiday-like summer crowds every weekend. 

Rumors began circulating about a possible beach closure as Galveston issued an order requiring businesses to mandate masks for customers and employees. 

Galveston closed vehicular traffic to some West End access points on a few busy May weekends, but pedestrians were still able to walk onto the beaches. 

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter @HeathKeri. 


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