May 10: The Plan is Announced

As usual, I’ve snapped an image from Rehoboth Beach’s webcam mounted on the Sands Hotel. The boardwalk looks about the same this week as last, but I suspect it will look quite different next week.

City of Rehoboth Beach draft reopening plan
Delaware reopening plan

There will be a Board of Commissioners public meeting on Tuesday to discuss reopening.  A survey has been circulated by Rehoboth Beach Main Street, which is an association of many of the downtown Rehoboth Beach businesses, asking for opinions about when and how reopening should happen. On May 16, a group is planning a protest accompanied by acts of civil disobedience on the beach, though if the City opens up the beach sooner, then I suppose chairs and towels on the beach will no longer be civilly disobedient.

So! Fun week ahead!

I should note that Dewey Beach to the south was just reopened for exercise and dog walking, though not for chairs, beach blankets, or for anyone inclined to a brisk swim. Cape Henlopen State Park to the north was never closed completely, and has the same restrictions as Dewey. The beach at Rehoboth Beach remains completely closed as of today, but the protest planned for May 16 is indicative of the pressure building for it to reopen like its neighbors to the north and south.

My main concern has been that planning take place to reopen our city. I’m disappointed that the planning process started so late, but hey, better late than never. Rehoboth Beach Main Street asked for advice from me, and I have also been in communication with several of the Commissioners and with the Mayor. I’ve proposed to all of them how I think planning should take place, and have even offered them “model” plans as starting points for discussions among experts — I was a planner for the federal government for essentially all of my career before retiring.

As to which specific direction the City takes, I’m somewhat agnostic, so long as the Mayor and the Board of Commissioners take that direction thoughtfully and fully informed by a well structured and implemented planning process.  Of course, I’d be inclined to favor plans that allow us and our guests to enjoy our apartment on the boardwalk, so long as that can be done with reasonable safety.

That begs the question: What is “reasonable” safety? There is no easy answer to that question. These are tough days not only for health workers but also for public officials. If you have a chance to communicate with any of them, whatever you may think about what they are doing, do express your support for their willingness to serve.

2020 05 10 at 10am. Cool temps, sunny skies, no people, but changes are afoot.

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