NW Indiana city closes its beaches, citing virus, crowds

A northwestern Indiana city’s mayor closed all of the community’s Lake Michigan beaches Friday to help stem the coronavirus’ spread after large crowds gathered recently along the city’s lakeshore.

Michigan City’s beaches and Washington Park, which includes the community’s zoo, closed after midnight Friday on the order of Mayor Duane Parry, who cited unprecedented crowds in an executive order issued Thursday.

The shuttering of those public spaces means no vehicular, pedestrian, motorcyclist or bicyclist traffic will be allowed, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

“This closure will undoubtedly cause inconveniences and disruptions to those who visit, utilize our beachfront, zoo, and park. However, the city is committed under these trying conditions to take precautionary and necessary measures intended to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus locally,” the city said in a news release.

Parry’s order exempts weddings previously scheduled with the Michigan City Park Department in the city, which borders Lake Michigan and is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Chicago.

His order expires on July 23 unless the Michigan City Common Council agrees to an extension. If the council declines, the park department can also order for the closure of any facility and property under its jurisdiction, the order states.

Parry’s order follows an order by Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura that shuttered that Lake County city’s Whihala Beach on Wednesday, until further notice, due to unusually large crowds and the inability for beachgoers to social distance during the pandemic.