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Safety urged during holiday weekend

Going forth, staying apart

OBSERVER Photo by Natasha Matteliano Wright Beach will be open for swimming and picnicking on the Fourth of July.

Several beaches and other locations will be open this weekend for Independence Day. Staying safe is the number one priority, but beating the heat is also important — all while celebrating the birth of American independence.

Though the Dunkirk fireworks show is cancelled for this year, due to the pandemic and the crowds that the fireworks gather every year, there are many other fun things for families to do. All of the Dunkirk beaches will be open and have been cleaned up by the Department of Public Works.

“The parks division has done an excellent job of cleaning up the beaches,” Randy Woodbury, Public Works Director. “They are looking really good and they did a wonderful job with the equipment we have.”

People going to the beach are encouraged to wear masks when not in the water, according to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and groups should be separated by at least 6 feet. Some beaches will have lifeguards, including Point Gratiot and Wright Beach. The city of Dunkirk has also hired personnel to monitor social distancing at the beaches, to ensure safety of all guests.

“Please be courteous and respectful of the rules and guidelines,” state Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, said. “We’ve come a long way and we want to make sure we don’t go backwards.”

Other fun things to do in Dunkirk include the splash pad, which has been open as well, walking the beaches and the park at Point Gratiot, and going to the pier. “This is also a great time to be with immediate family and be thankful for each other,” Woodbury said. “I’ll be with my family, reflecting on how lucky we are just to be here.”

Another popular spot in Chautauqua County will be open for the fourth, in Sunset Bay. Cabana Sam’s and the Sunset Bay Beach will be open, but at limited capacity because of executive orders by Cuomo. Sunset Bay Beach encourages all families and friends to come have fun, but they do have protocols, including: practice social distancing, masks must be worn within six feet of others and when entering buildings, no ball throwing, and no group contact.

In Westfield, the Barcelona Harbor and beach will be open to the public, also with certain protocols: avoid crowds, maintain social distance, avoid crowded outdoor places, restrooms are closed, carry out your trash, and clean up after your pets. “The town of Westfield owns property on Lake Erie which includes the Daniel Reed Pier, and a small beach,” their website reads. “There is no swimming allowed at the present time.”

There will be a fireworks show held in Mayville this year. Others who choose not to go to Mayville have plans to light off their own sparklers and other pyrotechnics. The Dunkirk and Gowanda Police Departments would like to remind residents that any pyrotechnics that fly into the air are illegal in New York state.

Whatever families choose to do, Borrello hopes they do it safely and conscientiously. “We want to enjoy the holiday and it can be done safely,” Borrello said. “It’s up to each and every one of us.”

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