Orange Beach and Gulf Shores Remain Closed After Hurricane
Alabama's premier tourist beaches are delaying reopening as cleanup in the wake of Hurricane Sally takes longer than expected. The beaches were supposed to reopen this Saturday, but will instead remain closed an extra six days to allow crews to continue recovery efforts.
Both Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are dealing with dangerous erosion from the storms that made landfall last week. Cleanup crews remain on site, removing debris from the coastline, buildings, and roads.
The water is contaminated with floating debris and spillage. Double red flags are raised, warning people to stay away.
Officials are desperate to finish cleaning in time for the fall tourism season, especially after the financial hit from the forced closures of beaches back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Gulf Shores website, the beach attracts over 5 million visitors each year, and generates nearly $3 billion into the local economy.
The beaches won't reopen until October 2nd, which is the same day that Governor Ivey's statewide mask mandate is set to expire. However, Ivey has previously stated she will continue to extend the order until a vaccine is in place.