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Communities taking different approaches to beach openings

The only thing you’re permitted to do at Fairfield's beaches is walk or jog. However, beaches in Old Lyme are closed, effective Saturday.

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Fairfield, which was among the first places in Connecticut impacted by COVID-19, is now ready to stick its collective toes back in the water. 

“So, what we’ve done is, with our emergency management team, I have watched the trends looking at the numbers and the case rates and decided to have a restricted opening,” said First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield)

And that holds true at the town’s public beaches, the public trails, the marina and golf courses.

The beaches, while public, will at least temporarily, only be open to Fairfield residents to limit crowds.

“We are going to have a police officer and staff from the Park and Recreation Department checking stickers, checking ID’s,” Kupchick said.

And, the only thing you’re permitted to do at Fairfield's beaches is walk or jog.

“No coolers, no chairs, no towels, no blankets no sporting activities on the beach,” she said.

But, nearly an hour east, in Old Lyme, they’ve decided to close public beaches, effective Saturday, because they expect good weekend weather would mean crowds hard to control.

“Particularly if Rocky Neck and Hammonassett were to close their beaches, due to maximum capacity, those folks might be looking to come to Old Lyme,” said First Selectman Tim Griswold (R-Old Lyme).

But, Kokomo’s Reataurant in Old Lyme, right next to popular Sound View Beach, will be open, for take out and to enjoy their small beach, at a social distance. 

“We own the property down to the main high tide line,” said Drew McLachlan

GM, Kokomo’s Restaurant. “So, that enables us to allow people to go onto the beach.”

Each community says their decisions remain fluid.

“I didn’t get a playbook about how to be a leader during pandemic,” said Kupchick.

Beaches in Fairfield’s neighboring town of Westport will be open with similar guidelines as Fairfield beginning May 15.