Fairfield officials loosen coronavirus restrictions on some public spaces

FAIRFIELD — Starting Friday, some of the town’s public parks and beaches will be opened on a restricted bases, according to officials.

Fairfield’s parks, beaches and public spaces were closed on March 16 through an executive order by First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a press conference Wednesday, Parks and Recreation Department Director Anthony Calebrese said all five beaches will be open to Fairfield residents who have a valid 2020 town-issued beach sticker beginning Friday.

“We will have reduced parking at Jennings, Southport and Sasco beaches,” Calebrese said, adding that the beach sticker was required to park at them. “These three parking lots will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.”

Calebrese said the beaches will be open for walking only, and that the town would not be allowing beach blankets, chairs, grills or other items. He added that police would be monitoring all open spaces to enforce the rules; social distancing guidelines will remain in effect.

The director also said both the South Benson Marina and Ye Yacht Yard would also be open on a restricted basis. The marinas would be open on Friday for boaters with a 2020 “M” sticker; the Ash Creek open space parking lot would be open only to those with the sticker.

As with the beaches, Calebrese said, social distancing guidelines remain in effect and the marinas would be monitored by law enforcement.

The Carl Dickman Par 3 Golf Course and the H. Smith Richardson Driving Range will also be open starting Friday, according to Calebrese. He said tee times must be made in advance and that carts would not be allowed.

“H. Smith Richardson will be open as soon as our construction of the parking lot has been completed,” he said. “When the course opens, it will require tee times in advance of playing, and will be restricted to walkers only.”

Calebrese said the town’s goal for the golf courses was to have residents arrive, play and depart.

The walking trails at Lake Mohegan are also included in the soft reopening of public places, Calebrese said.

“Only those Fairfield residents with a valid 2020 Fairfield resident beach sticker, or a drivers license with a valid Fairfield address, will be permitted to park in the main lot,” he said. “The main parking lot will have reduced parking and only be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.”

Health Department Director Sands Cleary said, as of Wednesday, there were 365 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Fairfield and that 44 residents had died after contracting the disease. He said 157 people had reported that they recovered.

Even with the loosening of restriction, Kupchick said it was not the time for people to let their guard down.

“The last thing we want to do is have us revert backwards because of a spike in infections,” she said.