Governor urges CT beachgoers to play it safe ahead of holiday weekend


MADISON, Conn. (WTNH)– Beaches, barbecues and get-togethers are traditional parts of the holiday weekend. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, this year will be different.

State parks and beaches will remain open for the Fourth of July weekend; however, Governor Ned Lamont and state leaders are urging people to play it safe, wear masks and maintain social distancing when visiting them.

The governor was at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison on Thursday to encourage people to continue to do their part to limit the spread of coronavirus in the state.

Officials are asking beachgoers to keep about 15 feet away from each other with their blankets and towels, and to bring masks and flip flops for when heading to the concessions or bathrooms.

“We encourage if you are having a picnic, bring a tablecloth and disinfectant,” said Commissioner Katie Dykes, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

However, some beachgoers told News 8 not everyone is keeping their spaces 15 feet apart, which is making it harder to enjoy the day.

“We are not comfortable with the social, lack of social distancing now,” said Cathy Dinnean, who drove an hour and a half with her husband to come to the beach. “We’re trying to keep our space but you know…more and more people are coming.”

Camping has also begun at at Hammonasset only for RVs with a bathroom, but next week tents will be allowed.

Related: State parks around CT closed temporarily to new visitors after reaching capacity

Additionally, officials are limiting capacity for parking so the beach fills up quickly and folks should check the status before they leave for the beach.

“Staycation, stay close to home,” Lamont said. “You got a Hammonasset or something like this 15 minutes away. It’s worth the visit and taking advantage of this beautiful state.”

If the parking is full, residents are told to not park on local roads. They will be towed.

After walking through the beach’s parking lot, Lamont also said that he was concerned about out of state people coming into Connecticut from coronavirus hot zones.

“As I was driving through looking for plates,” he said. “Seeing if there were any Florida plates or Arizona plates. We love you, but not this month, guys.”

If you are heading out this week, the state launched a new website called What’s Open Outdoors to give you an indication of which state parks are open.

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