Dozens protested in Old Orchard Beach on Sunday to pressure town officials to allow people to sit and gather in groups. Credit: CBS 13 | WGME

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Dozens protested in Old Orchard Beach on Sunday to pressure town officials to allow people to sit and gather in groups on beaches.

Last week, the town manager opened local beaches for “moving activities” only to stop large groups from gathering and slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

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Local business owners said the walking-only rule could hurt their business.

“On the whole, what it really does is it sends the message that we’re not in business, that we’re not interested in you being here. It means we’re not very friendly,” said Peter Guidi, an Old Orchard Beach business owner.

The beach will be a walking-only beach until other beaches in Maine and New Hampshire begin to reopen, according to the town’s website.

The town is also allowing those who are unable to walk to use its beach wheelchairs.