Michigan City shuts down beaches to limit COVID-19 spread; mayor blames out-of-state visitors

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (WLS) -- Michigan City, Indiana, is closing its beaches to help prevent COVID-19 spread due in part to what officials call an influx of out-of-state visitors.

The beaches will remain closed for a week.

"I am sad they are going to shut the beach down," said Sheryl Radoe on Thursday. "There is not much to do as it is now, but I understand."

Elizabeth Armstrong said the news was upsetting, but that it's "about time because people aren't obeying the rules."

Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry said that they've had to close down the beaches early over the last few weekends due to crowds coming from other parts of the state, the Chicago area and southwest Michigan.

"I know we got a beautiful lakefront and our visitors from outside Michigan City have not been acting properly. None of the social distancing," Parry said.

RELATED: LaPorte County mandate requiring face masks to take effect Friday

The mayor issued an executive order Thursday afternoon, shutting down all city beaches, Washington Park and the zoo. It goes into effect at midnight through July 23. The Michigan City Council has the power to extend the order.

"It is hard to get people to understand how far-reaching this pandemic is," Parry said.

Parry said he's concerned about the growing number of COVID-19 cases in LaPorte County and across the country.

"We need money and here we are having record revenue from parking, which is great but the downside of it is our risks keep increasing," Parry said. "I feel it is my No. 1 duty to protect all of our Michigan Cityans and our visitors."

On Wednesday, the mayor of Whiting shut down Whihala Beach indefinitely.

Some say the beaches should be open for people to cool off from the summer heat.

"I think people ought to be given the choice to be able to choose what they want to do and have the freedom to do so," said Matt Bryant.

"I don't see why they need to be closed," said Becky Ziada. "Everyone is outside. It's open."
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