Gary closes its Lake Michigan beaches due to coronavirus surge

View of Gary Works steelmill from the beach in Dunes State Park. | Location: Dunes State Park, Indiana, USA. (Photo by © Patrick Bennett/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

The city of Gary’s beaches along Lake Michigan were closed Wednesday for two weeks due to a surge in new COVID-19 cases in the northwestern Indiana city.

Mayor Jerome Prince cited the beaches’ crowded conditions on Tuesday in ordering their closure. His order took effect Wednesday and shuttered Gary’s beaches, including the popular Marquette Park Beach, and their parking lots.

Prince said Gary police will enforce the closures by patrolling the city’s entire shoreline, and anyone found on the beaches would be removed.

Prince said Gary’s health commissioner had recommended the beaches be closed “to effectively control the inundation of our parks by residents and visitors,” The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

“We continue to see almost daily double-digit increases in our new COVID-19 positive cases in Gary,” the mayor said in a statement.

He added that he “will assess the situation over the next two weeks and explore ways we can reopen our beaches and still protect the public.”

Gary is the latest city in northwestern Indiana to close its beaches because of overcrowding and concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. It joins Whiting and Michigan City in imposing recent beach closures.