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What You Need to Know About Beaches and Parks for Memorial Day Weekend

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Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer and this year will not be filled with big backyard parties and barbecues because of the coronavirus pandemic.

While many people might be heading outside at home, others will be heading out to explore the state’s beaches or parks.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has issued restrictions at state-run beaches and parks and they could limit your plans or require you to have a backup plan in case your favorite place is closes.

The state's parts and beaches are open, with restrictions in place due to the pandemic.

Here is what you need to know:

Shoreline Parks and Beaches:

State parks with beaches along the shoreline are open with capacity limitations and visitors are advised to follow social distancing guidelines.

A DEEP spokesperson tells NBC Connecticut that the department is not setting specific capacity limits ahead of time. Determinations about capacity will be based on observations of usage amounts, but it is prepared to limit capacity by as low as 25% of normal capacity.

Capacity is expected to be reached Sunday and Monday "quite early," DEEP tells us.

Historically, beaches can close by 10 a.m. on nice weather days but it is possible closures could begin even earlier this weekend.

Kent Falls State Park and Seaside State Park in Waterford  will remain closed.

The boardwalk at Hammonasset Beach State Park and the boardwalk connector from the parking lot at Silver Sands State Park are closed.  Park visitors will have access to the beach area and are to abide by directional signage posted at the parks.For up-to-date information on park closures, follow @CTStateParks on Twitter.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is allowing swimming only at shoreline state parks, not inland state park swim areas.

Parks open at 8 a.m.

Residents are encouraged to look at a list of the 142 state parks and forests in Connecticut and to consider visiting a less-traveled park during peak busy times.

Social Distancing:

Visitors to shoreline parks must maintain 15-feet of space from other beach goers -- blanket-to-blanket -- to allow for a 6-foot radius around each person or family and a 3-foot walkway in between groups.

At least six feet of social distancing must be maintained between people and groups over five are prohibited. Visitors should recreate with members of their immediate household and not meet up with others.

Out of town visitors won't be allowed on the beaches in Milford this Memorial Day weekend

Masks:

Visitors should bring face coverings and use them whenever they are in proximity to others. Face coverings should not be worn in the water.

Restrooms:

Indoor spaces at state parks and forests are closed. Public restrooms will be closed at most state parks because of concerns that they will not be able to be cleaned regularly enough to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Be prepared before you leave and time outings so that you are not dependent on public restrooms.

Most locations will have portable toilets available.

Bring Beverages, Trash Bags:

Bring water or drinks. Public drinking fountains may be disabled and should not be used, even if operable.

Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash, take everything out to protect park workers.

Parking:

DEEP will reduce parking capacity and close beaches for the day if social distancing cannot be maintained.

Lifeguards

Lifeguards will not be on shoreline beaches early in the season and “No Lifeguards on Duty” signs are posted.

Inland Parks and Beaches

DEEP will close beaches at inland state parks and prohibit swimming at inland state parks.

Camping Season Postponed:

The opening of camping season at Connecticut State Parks and Forests is postponed until at least June 12,.

Learn more here.

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