First Summer Weekend Without Canopies in Bethany Beach - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

First Summer Weekend Without Canopies in Bethany Beach

Posted: May 28, 2018 3:04 PM Updated:

BETHANY BEACH, Del.- The town of Bethany Beach, Delaware, says community outreach and understanding beach goers helped contribute to a quiet first weekend in the summer without canopies.

Earlier this year, the town outlawed canopies and other large shading devices after a majority of residents voiced their canopy concerns in an online survey. Mayor Jack Gordon says many of those people expressed their pleasure with a canopy-free Bethany Beach.

"We've gotten emails in saying they are really happy and it looks great," he says. "Hopefully it will improve the safety factor down there."

Councilman Rosemary Hardiman told WBOC that the town's two beach monitors reported that only about 20 people showed up with canopies this weekend. Hardiman and Gordon say once the ordinance was explained, people complied.

"They may not have been very happy with it but they said fine and everybody is cooperating so far," Gordon says. "We appreciate everybody in the way in the way they have been cooperating with us in regards to the tent and canopy issue."

Some larger families tell WBOC that losing their canopies is changing the way they use the beach, and not for the better.

"When we bring up the babies, when we bring up the grandmothers, the great grandmothers, they feel a part of the group. They play games under the canopy," says Bethany Beach homeowner Mary Favret Kerley. "We have friends who are quadriplegic. They can't fit under a normal size umbrella and always feel kind of not part of the group."

Kerley says she wishes the town had found some sort of compromise for canopies instead of an all-out ban.

"If the space was an issue on the beach, [I hoped] they would consider a test ban of the boardwalk-area beach and allow the families with large groups [...] to go to other beaches still in Bethany because we love Bethany."

The town says it is "gently" enforcing the ban at the moment and will continue to do so the rest of this inaugural summer. 


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