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Beach openings have been quiet so far. One lone swimmer came to Mudge Pond in Sharon on a sunny Saturday last week. Photo by Mary John

Public spaces and beaches in the area start to open for summer

With health and safety foremost in their minds, recreation directors are now opening public spaces and beaches in the Northwest Corner towns.

Salisbury opened the Grove on Friday, June 5, the first beach opening of the six area towns. Grove manager Stacey Dodge said the beach has averaged about 65 people a day since then. 

There are many new guidelines and restrictions. This year, only residents of Salisbury and its five villages can obtain beach passes (the villages are Salisbury, Lakeville, Taconic, Lime Rock and Amesville).

There is a time limit of three hours. The swim area has been decreased in size and recreation features including the two docks are not open for use.

The Salisbury Recreation Commission is offering several summer programs, such as hiking trips, but with restrictions in place. There will be more classes but with fewer people and there will be more time in between classes for cleaning up the materials and the class sites. At the soccer clinic, for example, participants must bring their own equipment and will only do skill drills, not game play, to minimize contact between players. 

Farther south in the region, Kent has decided to cancel Camp Kent, which usually hosts 24 campers for eight weeks, and also close the swimming area at Emery Park for the entire summer. However, the recreation commission’s summer concerts will continue, but the audience members will remain in their cars to minimize contact. 

Cornwall has decided to cancel the majority of its summer events and programs, including music nights and swim lessons. Hammond Beach and the tennis courts opened on Saturday, June 20, with restrictions in place. 

Marina Kotchoubey, the beach manager for Hammond Beach as well as a selectman, said the town has sectioned off the beach and children’s swimming area into plots set 15 feet apart. They will also restrict access to the beach to Cornwall residents and will put out a sign-in book, for contact tracing.  

The full list of restrictions can be found on the town website, www.cornwallct.org. 

Mudge Pond in Sharon, which opened on Saturday, June 13, is restricting beach passes to Sharon residents and has shut down access to the playground. The plan for now is not to have lifeguards this summer, because of the potential danger of rescuing someone who has been infected by COVID-19. 

The Little Rascals summer program at Mudge Pond has been canceled for this year. 

While Falls Village and North Canaan do not have beaches, the two towns are looking to open their pools within the next month. In North Canaan, the pool is currently undergoing routine maintenance repairs, which has delayed the opening to Saturday, July 4. The Falls Village pool is expected to open on Sunday, June 28. Both pools will limit attendance to 50% of normal capacity. All swimming lessons and teams have been canceled for the summer.

Anabelle Baum and Mary John contributed to this story.

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