Governor Ned Lamont today announced that Connecticut state parks that feature beaches along the state’s shoreline will be open Friday, May 22, though with capacity limitations. Visitors are advised to follow social distancing guidelines.
Earlier today, Governor Lamont, along with the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, announced a multi-state agreement to open beaches in their respective states effective May 22. Connecticut’s shoreline state park beaches were never closed, and have remained open with capacity restrictions, which will remain in place.
“Our beaches are some of our most beautiful and treasured assets,” Governor Lamont said. “We want to make sure they are enjoyed up and down the east coast in the safest possible way, especially as the summer season begins. Working together as states to make sure they can be enjoyed responsibly makes sense.”
Residents are encouraged to select locations closest to home, and consider visiting early in the morning before crowds gather. At least six feet of social distancing must be maintained, and groups over five are prohibited. Residents should recreate with members of their immediate household and not meet up with others. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) will reduce parking capacity and close beaches for the day if social distancing cannot be maintained, and will make adjustments to operations and consider longer-term closures the situation warrants. Updates on closures are posted on the Connecticut State Parks’ Twitter account, @CTStateParks.
“I want to thank our DEEP staff for their work to maintain access to these special places for the public,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “I am asking the public to plan ahead and practice social distancing so that we can continue to keep these places open going forward.”
Connecticut municipalities continue to make decisions regarding the local beaches and swimming areas they oversee. DEEP will publish a detailed operations plan early next week that municipalities may adapt to their needs, which will be published online at www.ct.gov/DEEP/Parks. Recommendations to promote safe enjoyment of beaches include:
- No public gatherings or groups of over five
- Face coverings worn when in proximity to others
- Set parking capacity limits at each beach based on observations of levels needed to maintain social distancing
- Daily closures when social distancing cannot be maintained
- Use of social media and other communications to inform the public when capacity is restricted so they can plan to go elsewhere
- Spacing of 15 feet or more between beach blankets
Currently, the Connecticut Department of Public Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that there is no current evidence of COVID-19 transmission through recreational freshwater or saltwater swimming.