The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is keeping public campgrounds and campsites it oversees closed through June 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and said that could be extended depending on the situation.
In a statement released Thursday, the department said they are monitoring public health guidance and determining any operational changes that will be necessary to safely reopen camping.
“It’s popular, you’re on the water, especially in the summertime, so it’s a great place to be. A great place to cool off,” said Gene Caputo of Madison.
He and his family have been starting their days during the pandemic with a morning walk along Hammonasset Beach State Park.
During that time, they’ve been wondering how state officials were going to handle campers this summer.
“It actually didn’t surprise us, to tell you the truth. The campground gets very crowded. You’d either have to cut the number of people who do come here,” his wife, Mary Pat Caputo, said.
Not too far from Hammonnasset Beach State Park, the owner of the Beach Donut Shop in Clinton, John Hussaini, said they’ll feel the impact of the extended closure more than they already are.
Summer business is so important to them.
“Campgrounds -- that’s a big help, especially during Memorial Day. More summer people come here because business goes up, “ said Hussaini.
But just as sweet as his homemade donuts, he said, the health of the community is his most important concern.
“I don’t care about the business. I care about the people. We lost our neighbors. It’s a disaster,” he said.
While it might not be the summer many families have dreamed about, Connecticut residents and visitors will have to make due with changes as we combat the coronavirus crisis in our state and around the country.
“I.m sure it’s going to be a bummer not to gather the way that we normally would, but I think if we can continue to just stick to the plan it’ll make it so we can gather sooner in the future,” said Sarah Caputo, who is staying with her parents in Madison to avoid the crowds in Washington, D.C.
All new camping and cabin reservations have been suspended for the 2020 season until further notice, according to DEEP officials.
Customers with current reservations will be refunded in full.
DEEP is not certain if additional closures to the camping season will be warranted but said they will work to carry out their mission and provide services while keeping both the public and our workforce safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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As of Thursday, there had been 31,784 cases of coronavirus in Connecticut. There have been 2,797 deaths and 1,385 people are hospitalized.