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Pandemic and visitors cause Michigan City shutdown

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 6:28 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -

Beaches in Michigan City are shut down because of the pandemic. This coming after an executive order from the mayor went into effect on Friday.

Mayor Duane Parry says the Washington Park entrances will remain closed for at least a week. Breaking that executive order and looking to take a cool dip in the lake, could land you in hot water.

“I understand why people are frustrated , but ultimately this is to save lives,” Mayor Parry says.

This executive order going into effect Friday says, the beaches, parks, zoo, Sunset Grille and the Senior Center are all shut down. COVID-19 temporarily takes out another summer hot spot.

“The numbers have gone up here,” the mayor says. “The indicators have gone up enough to where I felt something needed to be done.”

All city Beaches from Washington Park to about five miles north at Bus Stop 13 are closed until at least July 23rd. Violate the order and you may get a summer vacation you weren’t planning on.

“They could face as much as arrest because they are violating an executive order,” Mayor Parry says.

There's more to this shut down than just COVID-19. The city says out-of-towners are partially to blame.

“Chicago refused to open their beaches. We became inundated over here with Illinois visitors and as much as I welcome everyone and anyone to come to Michigan City, there were more people than our Lakefront can even handle.”

The mayor had to shut the beaches down early the past two weekends because of the waves of visitors.

"Our beaches were overflowing."

Not following social distancing requirements and making a mess.

“Visitors weren’t showing my town, Michigan City, any respect for our lakefront either, they were trashing our beach,” Mayor Parry says.

“There are people, a lot of them from Illinois and from Michigan, just because their beaches are closed because they screwed that up, then they come over here to Michigan City and then look what they did to us. They leave it a mess,” Diann Gonsorek says. She lives near the closed beaches.

The closure focused on waterfront, with the city's sights on safety.

“A lot of people are upset about it but the public health and safety has to be put first before our private, personal interest,” the mayor says.

The executive order goes until Thursday July 23rd, but could be extended an additional 30 days by the City Council if deemed necessary. This latest shutdown happening in LaPorte County as the county mask mandate also took effect this week.

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