HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware have come to an agreement on state beaches for Memorial Day Weekend. Even though Connecticut's state beaches were never closed, the rules could vary depending on where you are on the shoreline.
"Social distancing is the watchword," said Tom Tyler, the Director of Connecticut State Parks.
The watchword and newest rule to be added to Connecticut state beaches this summer.
"We recognize that we are not going to be able to welcome as many people as we can," said Tyler.
The multi-state agreement is to reopen state beaches on May 22nd under shared guidelines. The main purpose is to prevent overcrowding.
"We’ve come up with an agreement that accommodates all needs and it was done in good faith," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Those guidelines will include keeping gatherings to five or less, limiting park capacity, and keeping 15 feet of space or more between beach blankets. (Full guidelines)
· 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
Their best advice for those on hot summer days is to plan ahead.
"Make sure you come either really early in the morning or come late in the afternoon," said Tyler.
Connecticut State beaches like Rocky Neck in East Lyme are open now. Even though the campgrounds and pavilions will remain closed until at least mid-June, locals are still finding their way onto the beach.
"It’s just a great opportunity to be away from people but let the little one fly free," said Jeff Winters.
But as more and more people come to winters says he and his daughter Grace will stay at home.
"There’s just no taking chances with her," said Winters. "We’re just gonna be as safe as possible and ride this thing out till the end."
DEEP is working with local municipalities on their reopen guidelines which will ultimately be decided by the individual towns. Old Lyme has decided they will be reopening their beaches with reduced capacity on May 23rd. While Fairfield will limit beach access to only Fairfield residents.
With beaches also comes boats. DEEP says the over 100 boat launches in the state are open. That includes ones along rivers, ponds and lakes. For the first time ever, residents can register and take boating safety classes online. To signup, click here.