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Burlington beaches packed with students spark trash, COVID concerns

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 5:58 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 13, 2021 at 6:15 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Saturday’s sunny weather meant a busy day at Burlington’s North Beach. Not only was it packed, but it was also trashed.

City officials say volunteers picked up a truckload of garbage on Sunday morning.

The situation is leaving some anxious over COVID and frustrated over the beachgoers’ behavior.

Mayor Miro Weinberger says his administration did reach out to both the University of Vermont and Champlain College on Saturday evening, which led to students receiving messages about the guidelines they should be following.

City officials estimate there were around 1,000 students at North Beach on Saturday, and still around 100 by 4 a.m. Sunday.

The city welcomes students to the beaches but they are asking that people be a little more responsible when they visit.

Monday, the mayor said the upkeep of public areas can be addressed and he urged people to continue following COVID protocols until things get back to normal.

“There’s a couple levels of concern. One is just public spaces being kept in good shape, and of course, that can be addressed. The larger point is the end of the pandemic is in sight, and just because it is in sight does not mean that we’re there, just because the end is in sight doesn’t mean people can let up and stop taking the precautions, especially if they have not been vaccinated,” said Weinberger, D-Burlington.

I tried getting some more specific details on exactly how to address keeping public spaces clean, but the mayor’s office did not have any further comment on that this evening. The city did thank volunteers who helped pick up.

We also spoke with Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Director Cindi Wight over the weekend who told us that this is not the time of year they are fully staffed or are prepared for a large number of guests, leading to a lack of parking, trash cans and bathroom facilities. She said they are working on getting the beaches up and going earlier to be ready for unseasonably warm days.

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