REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - In Rehoboth Beach, preparations are now underway for the upcoming tourist season, but with the new season comes new rules, which affect anyone visiting for some sand and surf.
Stan Mills, a Rehoboth Beach Commissioner says, "over the years visitors, property owners, and the beach patrol especially have complained about the proliferation of non-traditional shading devices."
Mills is talking about a recent increase of tents and beach umbrellas.
"They're starting to block access to the beach, blocking site-lines for the lifeguards, as well as an esthetic aspect, but safety is number one,"says Mills.
While tents and larger umbrellas help shade beach-goers, Mills says it has created challenges for first responders when they are tending to an emergency on the beach. This had lead the city to adopt new rules that limit the size of umbrellas and tents on Rehoboth's beach.
"The only thing allowed on the beach will be umbrellas under 8 ft of diameter, and under 7.5 ft in height, and also allowed would be baby tents used for shading babies that are under 1 cubic foot in size," says Mills.
The city also hopes the move will deter illegal activity.
"Smoking, drinking, nudity," says Mills.
Mills says the main enforcers will be local law enforcement, and the important thing now is to get the message out.
Melissa Williams, the Store Manager at Sunsations, says visitors from out of state could be left in the dark.
"I'm sure for the first couple of years people coming back who have been here before or haven't heard it, there will be some disappointment and have to spend more money on an umbrella or not have anything," says Williams.
Mills says they won't ticket people right away, the city will focus on educating the public first. However, if folks continue to not comply, they will receive a $25 ticket.
In addition to the limits on tents and umbrellas on the beach, officials will no longer be allowing folks to cook or grill either.
All these new rules will take into effect by mid-May.
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