Grand Isle beach reopens with restrictions

Grand Isle’s beach, an ultra-popular destination for so many people, including many fishermen, was reopened with a few restrictions April 20 after being closed because of the coronavirus pandemic since March 23.

Reopening the beach was part of the town council’s decision with a 3-2 vote at a special meeting April 14 to reopen the island to non-resident property owners on April 20. By amending an ongoing emergency order, limited beach access is allowed but the use of golf carts remains prohibited and beach-goers must adhere to state and federal social distancing polices, town officials said.

“I think we’re looking at making a little change right now and I think that’s the thing to do,” Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle said at the meeting.

A town official reiterated April 21 that people must walk to the beach – no bicycles, either, she said – and added, “You can’t take a golf cart anywhere.”

Grand Isle, population 757, responded to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ “stay-at-home” order starting at 5 p.m. March 23 by closing beaches, playgrounds and public fishing piers, then took it a step farther by declaring a state of emergency and banning non-resident property owners on April 2. A checkpoint along Louisiana 1 at the entrance to Grand Isle limited island access to residents, essential workers and property owners showing proof of ownership documents. More drastic measures were taken the next day by limiting entrance only to essential workers and residents with a Grand Isle address on their driver’s license.

The initial checkpoint was initiated in part because town officials wanted to prevent being overwhelmed on Easter weekend. During that holiday weekend last year, 19,000 extra vehicles traveled onto Grand Isle, according to police chief Laine Landry.

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Don Shoopman
About Don Shoopman 384 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.

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