Holiday weekend may test Greenwich’s beach, park restrictions
GREENWICH — With the arrival of the long Memorial Day weekend, First Selectman Fred Camillo reminded residents to be safe and adhere to social distancing protocols when visiting town parks and beaches as well as shops and restaurants.
Restrictions remain in place at the reopened town parks and beaches to guard against the spread of the coronavirus. Some parks also have limits on the number of visitors and use of the paths. And residents can walk, run and bicycle at Greenwich Point and Byram Beach — but they may not swim or lie out on the sand.
Based on what he has seen so far with the partial reopening of parks and businesses, Camillo said Friday he was not necessarily expecting huge crowds.
“It’s hard to predict what the turnout will be,” he said. “We didn’t have a surge with the partial reopening of businesses, and I believe people will be careful and cautious. Time will tell.”
Camillo said “we will be ready” when it comes to enforcing rules at the beaches and parks. Residents are asked to continue to stay 6 feet apart and wear masks when close to other people.
The concession stands at Greenwich Point and Byram Beach reopened Friday but will offer only limited grab-and-go items for now.
“All visitors are reminded to maintain social distancing and to wear face masks when using the concessions,” Camillo said. “Hopefully common sense will prevail, and people will just keep their distance.”
At Greenwich Point, only the south concession stand is open. The concession stand at the Susie Baker Pavilion will remain closed until further notice along with all grills, picnic tables and restrooms.
Overall, Camillo said the partial reopening of town businesses on Wednesday along with allowing access to town beaches, parks, marinas, golf course, tennis courts and skate park have been handled well.
There was a small spike in the number of coronavirus cases among residents, with 19 more residents testing positive since Wednesday and bringing the total during the pandemic to 774 cases, according to the town Department of Health.
At the same time, the number of hospitalizations continued to decrease. On Friday, Greenwich Hospital was treating 18 patients with coronavirus, which is a reduction of two since Wednesday.
And the number of patients who have been discharged from the hospital rose Friday to 502, an increase of eight since Wednesday.
The number of reported deaths of Greenwich residents who were diagnosed with coronavirus remained at 45 as of Friday.
Barbara Heins, executive assistant to the first selectman, said there had been some delay in getting numbers from the state, which could be part of the reason for the spike. And town Director of Health Caroline Baisley said she had been told by the state that once it starts testing all nursing home patients in Connecticut, there could be an increase in cases in town.
Baisley said that could be the reason for the rise and also offered that it could be a “slight increase” due to the openings of the town beaches and parks from a few weeks back,
“I think we can get a better handle on the increases over the next several weeks,” Baisley said.
Camillo said the town would continue to monitor the numbers.
“This is something that caught my eye, too,” he said. “Certainly it has nothing to do with the reopening of the businesses, and we are looking at what’s going on. We’re going to be watching everything and seeing if there are going to be spikes. You’ve got to be vigilant and keep on it.”
Residents who see others not following town safety protocols on the coronavirus can call the Greenwich Police Department’s non-emergency phone number at 203-622-8004.