Ocean City officials will close the town's boardwalk and beaches, effective at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 22.
The closure is in effect through Wednesday, April 15, and includes Easter Sunday, April 12, when thousands traditionally gather on the Ocean City boardwalk for the annual sunrise service.
The announcement was posted on the Town's website at www.oceancitymd.gov around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, with a news release stating town leaders had met in an emergency meeting on Sunday and decided on the closures.
Only residents who live within town limits will be allowed to walk their dogs or exercise on the beach or boardwalk, they said, and only in groups of no more than two at a time.
Boardwalk restaurants will remain open, but for carry-out only.
“The No. 1 priority of the Mayor and City Council is to protect our citizens and employees,” Mayor Rick Meehan stated in a news release.
“We are facing an invisible threat and we are the carriers of this potentially deadly virus. At this time, we continue to request that visitors postpone traveling to Ocean City and that our non-resident property owners refrain from traveling to Ocean City, as well. The safest place for everyone right now is in their own home,” Meehan stated.
“We are doing everything in our power to protect the health and safety of our citizens, but everyone has a critical role to play. We all have to work together to do whatever we can to mount our only known defense against this common enemy and that is to practice extreme measures of social distancing.
“We are taking these drastic steps to shorten the duration of this health crisis. If every single person steps up and does their part by making sacrifices now, it will slow the spread of this virus and help us flatten the curve,” Meehan stated.