Guilford reopens select athletic facilities — with supervisors
GUILFORD — Public tennis courts and playing fields opened back up in Guilford Tuesday, as did the town’s golf course, marina, high school track and certain other town properties, according to a release from First Selectman Matthew Hoey’s office.
But the facilities won’t look exactly as they did before the coronavirus pandemic began.
Instead, town employees will monitor the sites to ensure residents follow proper social distancing guidelines and wear masks, Hoey’s release said, adding that the town has instructed the supervisors to call local police if visitors ignore their requests.
“This [the reopening] will give residents the opportunity to enjoy some beneficial outdoor exercise as the weather improves,” Hoey said in the release. “We just please ask that they cooperate with social distancing so everyone can enjoy these facilities in the safest way possible.”
Hoey issued an executive order reopening the facilities after consulting with Guilford’s directors of health and parks and recreation, he indicated in an announcement sent via the town’s mass notification system.
“I want to stress that we put a lot of thought into this. We don’t feel it’s careless,” said Director of Health Dennis Johnson.
Given that the pandemic has put a strain on mental health, the measure may provide a much needed reprieve for residents, Johnson said.
“It provides an opportunity for people to get outdoors and safely recreate,” he said, noting that the order allows only limited recreation.
The activities that Guilford has opted to permit — such as tennis and pickleball — are ones that can be played while practicing social distancing, according to Johnson, who added that the monitors will act as an extra safeguard.
The executive order, available on the town’s website, includes a full list of reopened facilities as well as restrictions associated with their use.
One rule asks residents who do not feel well to stay home, adding that those who visit the facilities while exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms “may be expelled from the use of such Town properties.”
Another says residents must remain six feet apart from one another.
Pick-up games, use of playground equipment and swimming at the properties still are prohibited, according to the order.
The town also released a comprehensive set of guidelines for those who wish to use the Guilford Lakes Golf Course. The guidelines emphasize a ban on gatherings at the course and indicate that golfers must bring their own pull carts.
“Twosomes only for now. Spread out and use common sense please. Also don’t touch the pins or someone else’s ball,” the guidelines say.
They also ask residents to call 203-453-8214 to reserve a tee time in advance.
As of Thursday, Guilford had recorded 80 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two coronavirus-related fatalities, according to the first selectman.