Even before the sun fully rose, Connecticut residents were getting ready.
“To be the first ones on the beach,” said Ashley Wheeler of Southington.
With limited parking spaces during the pandemic, she and her neighbors were the first in line to do just that Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison. .
“We left around 5:30 this morning,” said Jennifer Gonzalez of Southington. “We got tents to set up around us so you know we have enough socially distance from everybody else. You know stay in our little group and try to stay safe.”
“I’m not nervous about the crowds. I love the crowds. Even with all the social distance. It’ll be fun and i’d like to be out of the house,” said Wheeler.
Others were up bright & early for the same reason, “Just to have a little bit of fun with the kids. Tired of being in the house,” said a father from Bristol.
And it wasn’t just beach space people were vying for, “First to get a decent spot on the jedy to fish,” said Jason Stanhope of Enfield.
Not everyone we spoke to planned on spending the day at the park.
Others will be watching the sky’s for potential rain showers.
Like everywhere around the state, the coronavirus pandemic has hurt businesses like Shore Discount Liquor in Clinton.
Shore Discount Liquor owner, Dipesh Patel is hoping to make up the difference, quenching many beach goers and campers thirsts this weekend and throughout the summer. “We are located on the shoreline obviously the more business you can do in the summertime the better. People come to vacation. They come to the beach.”
While celebrations this 4th of july may look different, some say masks and social distance may help them enjoy the day even more.
“You have your own little space. It’s just relaxing,” said Alyssa Gonzalez of Southington.
DEEP has limited the parking capacity at state parks and beaches it oversees and is closing them when they reach that capacity. Residents are urged not to walk onto closed beaches, but to come back another day.