The Meriden Police Department will be using a drone to monitor trails and parks to ensure social distancing.
In a Facebook post Monday, Mayor Kevin Scarpati explained the department will be using the drone as it becomes warmer and more people are outside.
"We’re doing our best to keep our parks open, but at times it’s been a challenge, especially given the weather, which we anticipate today to be a beautiful day," Scarpati said. "People will turn out to our parks, but for the most part, respect social distancing nonetheless you’ll have several -- 100 people -- at say Hubbard Park, which is a gem in our city and it’s become difficult to police at times when you have that number of people."
The mayor said Meriden Police have the authority to enforce the Governor's Order for social gatherings and distancing, but he hoped it wouldn't come to that.
"The parks are open and we want people to enjoy them, we just want them to respect what’s going on in the country right now," Sgt. Darrin McKay, of the Meriden Police Department, said in a statement.
Police trained on using a drone several months ago, which allows them to reach a large number of people.
"The drone is not only equipped with video equipment, which I think a lot of people affiliate drone with, but also a PA announcement system, so we’ll be able to fly across the park to make announcements if we do see for example large gatherings," the mayor said.
Scarpati said that at least 145 Meriden residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and eight have died. Midstate Medical Center is treating at least 30 COVID-19 patients, 15 of which are in the ICU.
The mayor has encouraged people to stay home when possible, and practice social distancing.