Governor Sununu announced a stay-at-home order on March 30th for all New Hampshire residents and continued remote learning until May 4, and at the same time he closed all state beaches. According to the NH State Park page, all state park beaches, bathrooms and parking lots will be closed. This includes Hampton Beach State Park, North Beach, North Hampton State Beach, Jenness State Beach, Wallis Sands State Park, Odiorne Point State Park, and Rye Harbor State Park.
Before Sununu’s announcement, the State parks had allowed the above parks to be enjoyed with groups under 5 people. As of March 28, there have been red barricades at beach openings, road closed signs, fenced-in areas in front of beach access stairs and caution tape along parking lots. Although the beach closing discourages groups from going to the coast, there are lots of areas which are not State Parks. Areas in front of homes in Rye and Seabrook and from Peteys to Wallis Sand Beach are neither town nor state beaches in some cases.
Winnacunnet senior, and occasional winter surfer, Annie Rademacher said how she was sad about the beaches but doesn’t think the measures are worth it.
“I don’t think they couldn’t encourage people to not use the beach because it’s all of the Seacoast residents’ backyards and we all love it so it’s heartbreaking for everyone especially in a time with outdoor time is so important to mental health,” Rademacher said.
She added that she also has no plans to stop surfing.
“I will still be surfing because I won’t be using parking spaces and there are some non-state owned beaches that can be used, “Rademacher said. “It’ll be harder to park and a farther drive from my house for surfing.”
Another Winnacunnet senior surfer Dan Ciolfi has a different take on it.
“I think that closing the beaches is unfortunate, but also necessary,” Ciolfi said. “The past few days before they closed were as crowded as a nice summer day with a majority of people there from Massachusetts. With people traveling into another state like that it exposes people to the virus and is dangerous.”