After officials closed the parking lot to Grand Haven State Park, a group is planning a demonstration at the beach this Saturday in response. It’s being billed as the "Beach Bash" on Facebook, and organizers say, they are inviting residents to Grand Haven State Park to join them in protest.
Brandon Hall is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics, and is the event’s main organizer.
“The message is to Governor Whitmer: that you will never shut us out of beaches,” Hall said. “It doesn’t matter what you do, or what you say, or who you send.”
Hall argues that closing the parking lot, is punishing area seniors.
“(It) just hurts the most elderly and vulnerable among us who go into that parking lot--to sit, to people watch, to look at the water, and look at the sunset,” Hall said. “Anyone else can just walk in from somewhere else.”
The event promises free food, games and a speech from Michigan State House Representative Steve Johnson.
Rep. Johnson did not respond to interview requests for this story.
Kristina Weighmink is the public information officer for Ottawa County Public Health and offers the department’s official response to the event:
“Our community has been working so hard, and contributing so much to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Weighmink said. “We understand that many people are eager to gather with friends and family, but we must stay focused on disease prevention methods. To minimize the risk of further infection, and to make sure our health system is not overburdened."
Ottawa County threated Hall with a $500 fine if the event takes place.
Hall said, he would see the Public Health Department in court.