Indiana beach to be shut down due to coronavirus fears

A beach along Lake Michigan in northwestern Indiana will be shut down as part of efforts to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura said that starting Wednesday, Whihala Beach will be closed until further notice, according to The Northwest Indiana Times.

Large crowds at the beach have been unable to consistently follow social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic, Stahura said.

Whihala Beach is southeast of Chicago and northwest of Gary, Indiana.

“We’ve witnessed an alarming disregard of all COVID-19 protocol and park supervision in recent weeks,” he said. “We no longer feel confident that we can provide a reasonably safe health environment for our patrons.”

Whiting Lakefront Park also will be closed to vehicular traffic starting Wednesday. Bike and walking trails will remain open for pedestrian use.

The Indiana State Department of Health said Monday that 452 additional virus cases have been confirmed, bringing the state’s total to more than 52,000.

Officials also reported that 2,569 Indiana residents have died from complications due to the virus. Another 193 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record.