Old Lyme to reopen beaches for Memorial Day weekend but with limitations

New London

OLD LYME, Conn. (WTNH)– Memorial Day weekend is now just a week away and Old Lyme beaches will reopen in time for the holiday. But don’t load up your car with beach gear just yet.

Sound View beach may still be shut down but Kokomo’s Restaurant is getting ready for a big Memorial Day weekend. 

“Lounges out here have been grouped in twos and threes and fours, so people can come sit on the beach,” said Drew McLachlan, general manager of Kokomo’s Restaurant.

He’s looking forward to the adjacent public beach reopening for the holiday weekend and working with the town of Old Lyme to expand his outdoor seating onto the sand.

“After removing tables from the patio and having them a least six feet apart, putting these tables here gives us another option to seat some more guests so we’re excited about that,” said McLachlan.

The town shut down its three public beaches indefinitely earlier this month to figure out how to control the crowds. It now has a plan in place for the two beaches at Sound View and the quieter beach at Hains Park.

“We’ll monitor people coming in,” said First Selectman (R) Tim Griswold. “We’ll want to have face masks as they’re in a crowd coming to the beach if there is a crowd.”

They are also limiting the number of people who can go onto the beaches.

“We’re calculating at about 110 square feet per person,” said Griswold.

That’s about seventy people for the beach at the end of Hartford Avenue and about 30 for the smaller beach at the end of Swan Avenue. They’ll also try to limit parking to fifty percent at public and private lots. 

Electronic signs on Rt. 156 and at the exit 70 off ramp which now warn visitors that the beaches in town are closed will be adjusted next week as well.

“The sign will say limited access,” said Griswold.

Kokomo’s also plans to put up several signs to remind people to social distance.

Because its beach is private property people can already come out and sit on that beach as long as they pay but it won’t be until Memorial Day Weekend that they can sit on the other side of the white fence for free.

“I think they need to otherwise what are they going to do with these establishments,” said one local resident.

Police along with rangers will remind people of the new rules. 

“Hopefully with a little guidance people will do the right thing,” said Griswold.

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