reopening connecticut

Finding Ways To Cool Off During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Public swimming pools are starting to open along with beaches and local swimming holes.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Monday marked Connecticut's first official heat wave of the summer. As temperatures reached 90 degrees for the third day in a row, people across the state looked for ways to cool off.

From public swimming pools to beaches, safety protocols are in place for people looking to beat the heat. This is what you can expect.

Public Swimming Pools

Town pools in both Avon and Simsbury are now open, but with restrictions and changes. The pools are open for residents only and are operating at a limited capacity to ensure social distancing.

"If we were not comfortable and able to provide a safe environment, we would not have opened," said Ruth Checko, Director of Recreation and Parks for the Town of Avon.

Checko said that day passes are not available for the pool. People need to purchase a membership online. Safety signs are hanging through out the facility and guests have to wear masks while walking around.

Staff members will be monitored for symptoms of COVID-19 and, according to Checko, high touch areas will be disinfected often. People are also asked to follow distancing markers on the ground. A full list of rules can be viewed here.

Simsbury guests are also asked to follow distancing markers put in place throughout the facility. Admission to the pool is by pre-paid reservation only. There are no walk-up visitors allowed, according to the town's website.

New London's Ocean Beach Park

New London's Ocean Beach Park has had a busy season so far. The beach is open for the summer at a limited capacity.

"It is unbelievable. We are seeing people enjoy themselves. I never realized how much I missed it," said David Sugrue, Manager of Ocean Beach Park. "It is just a little bit of normalcy. It is so appreciated."

People at the beach are asked to wear face coverings while visiting the concessions, in the restrooms or at any of the attractions. While lifeguards are focused on the water, Sugrue said that other staff members are monitoring the beach to make sure people are staying 15 feet apart from other groups of beach-goers.

The beach is open at 30 percent capacity, but the swimming pool is not open.

"The pool attracts too many people, especially from out of town. If we open that we are just going to attract masses," said Sugrue. "It is also challenging to operate under the guidelines right now. You have to guarantee social distancing.”

No rides are open at this point, but Sugrue said that by next week they hope to have some of the rides and the water slides operational.

The park has been reaching capacity on a regular basis. Sugrue said that they keep their phone lines and Facebook page updated with information so that people know when the beach has reached capacity.

"Our message is don’t come here from a distance because we are spending a lot of time directing people away from the park and there is nothing worse than seeing kids in the back seat and I have to be the guy to tell them no," said Sugrue.

The beach is open to anyone, not just residents of New London. There is a fee.

Spaulding Pond Beach in Norwich

The only public swimming hole in the City of Norwich opened last week for the summer season. There is now a COVID-19 seating plan in place at Spaulding Pond Beach. Groups are asked to sit at orange stakes which are spaced out 15 feet apart.

Signs from the state and from the Ledge Light Health District line the beach area, reminding guests to stay home if they do not feel well. People can use a changing room, but they have to see a lifeguard in order to use it. The changing rooms are cleaned between use.

The beach is open to both residents of Norwich and non-residents. There is no fee.

State Parks

Shoreline state park beaches are the only state swimming areas open for the 2020 swimming season at this point. According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Inland swimming areas are closed and will not be tested for water quality reports.

Click here for a complete breakdown of what Connecticut beaches and swim areas are open. The list is maintained by DEEP and the Connecticut Recreation and Parks Association.

Contact Us