SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas – Unlike Galveston, the South Padre Island beach will not be closed for Fourth of July.

Although Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., has closed the county’s beach access points, those operated by South Padre Island will remain open. 

SPI Mayor Patrick McNulty said the city council does not have the personnel to keep the beach closed, even if it wanted to.

South Padre Island Mayor Patrick McNulty

“With over 300 access points to SPI‘s beach, it’s not possible or feasible for the City of South Padre Island to close them,” McNulty told Ron Whitlock Reports.

McNulty noted that South Padre Island beach remained open during the first COVID-19 executive orders in March and April.

“The City of South Padre Island simply does not have the same infrastructure that Cameron County does with its beach access points and Isla Blanca Park facilities, nor the personnel to do it 24/7,” McNulty said.

One person who agrees with the decision of South Padre Island City Council is Barry Patel, a former SPI mayor who owns four hotels on the island – Hilton Garden Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, La Copa Inn, and La Quinta Inn.

“People are social distancing on South Padre Island beach. Are they doing the same in the Brownsville and Harlingen community where most of the spread is occurring?” Patel asked.

Here are the orders Mayor McNulty and the SPI City Council have imposed:

Beach Vendors

  • Beach vendors can only preset the front-row following the spacing guidelines below.
  • All non-single pole shade structures will be prohibited.
  • All single-pole shade structures will be separated by a minimum of 15 feet from outside edge/tip of the structure.
  • All secondary beach chairs and umbrellas must be stored qt the dune line and setup on demand only.
  • Chairs and umbrellas must be rented and occupied at the time of setup, for the secondary rows.
  • Only two chairs per single pole shade structure will be permitted.

Beach Goers

  • All non-single pole shade structure will be prohibited.
  • All single-pole shade structure will be separated by a minimum of 15 feet from outside edge/tip of the structure.
  • Only two chairs per single pole shade structure will be permitted.

Earlier this week, Judge Treviño explained his rationale for closing the county’s portion of South Padre Island beach. 

Treviño said the closure of the parks and beach accesses are being undertaken “out of an abundance of caution for the protection of public safety due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).”

Treviño said that in addition to county parks and county beach access areas, he was also suspending all; county-sponsored functions or events until further notice.

“I strongly recommend that all similar events, public or private, on South Padre Island and throughout the county, should also be cancelled and/or suspended,” Treviño said.

“My top priority is the safety and well-being of the people of Cameron County and taking these precautionary measures should help in that endeavor.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows a sign South Padre Island City Council erected to show beachgoers where to pick up free face masks.

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