WILTON — A popular outdoor community park has reopened but with major restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Merwin Meadows on Lovers Lane opened on June 20 as part of the town’s Phase 2 reopening plan.

Swimming in the pond, which is popular with young children, is discouraged, as no lifeguards are on duty. The bathhouse is closed and no public bathrooms are available. There is also no use of the pavilion, benches, picnic tables, or grills. The playground is also closed.

“We are running things differently due to COVID,” said First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice.

She said Merwin Meadows is only open as a park at this time. “We are not encouraging people to swim,” she said.

There are no lifeguards on duty, she said, because “lifeguarding can require mouth-to-mouth contact and other close contact, which can spread the COVID-19 virus and create a health risk to the individuals involved and the Wilton community at large. If you swim or allow your child to swim, you do so at your own risk,” she said.

The fact of the matter, she said, is Merwin Meadows has never had lifeguards 24/7, although people still went there to swim before and after lifeguards were there.

“Bathrooms at the park will also be closed in July, so plan accordingly,” she said.

Operating hours at Merwin Meadows are sunrise to sunset. A “No Lifeguard On Duty” sign is posted at the park along with a sign explaining social distancing in public parks and trails.

Merwin Meadows is open to Wilton residents only. No more than 100 residents are allowed in the park at any one time. Monitors will be at the park seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to ensure compliance with the capacity limit and the residency requirement.

There is no fee to use the park, but a resident park pass will be required. With proof of residency, passes may be obtained at the park during normal operating hours through July 1.

Passes are available throughout the summer via the Parks & Recreation e-Trak online registration system. Passes obtained in this manner can be picked up Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the drop box outside Comstock Community Center.

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