Taking advantage of the weather, Gov. Ned Lamont held his daily briefing this morning at Gay City State Park in Hebron to promote what residents can expect this summer at Connecticut’s beaches and parks.
State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Katie Dykes announced that swimming will be allowed only at Connecticut’s shoreline, not at inland parks, lakes and ponds this year.
Lifeguards will not be on patrol, while restrooms and concessions will remain closed, although they may reopen as the summer goes on; plans are for portable toilets to be available at some sites.
Dykes said that in addition to the 6-foot social distancing mandate, DEEP will require a 15-foot space between beach blankets to be maintained: 6 feet on either side, and 3 feet on either end. Face masks will be required unless one is swimming, or is more than 6 feet away from others.
Campsites at beaches and parks will remain closed until at least June 11, she said.
Dykes further recommended that visitors arrive early in the day or come on weekdays to avoid crowds. Noting that there are over 100 state parks, boat launches and land trusts that are open, she encouraged residents to consider alternatives to the state’s most popular beaches and parks. DEEP will include information about those sites, as well as what is open, on its website.
Lamont takes questions
Acknowledging some state Republican pushback on his executive order to allow absentee voting for all registered voters in the Aug. 11 primary, Lamont said he plans to sit down with legislative leaders to further discuss the situation. He noted that if a vaccine has been released by that date, his executive order would be rescinded.
As for the Nov. 3 general election, the governor said it was his understanding that he had less executive power to mandate absentee voting, but that he hoped a bipartisan agreement could be reached on the matter.
Lamont said he still doesn’t want people 65 and older and those with pre-existing conditions going out to vote in person, but that they should not be deprived of their voting rights. Due to his own age – 66 – Lamont said he would “probably” submit an absentee ballot for the primary.
The governor said the state expects to know if the May 20 reopening has led to significant spikes in COVID-19 within two to three weeks.
While he has not spoken with tribal leaders since before yesterday, when they announced their determination to reopen the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos on June 1, Lamont said he remains skeptical about what will happen on that date. Either potential patrons will not arrive due to safety fears or they will show up and spread infections, he predicted. “It’s too early right now,” he said about the casinos reopening.
Since last night, the state conducted another 5,729 tests and recorded 191 more positive cases, bringing those respective totals to 196,447 and 39,208. Hospitalizations fell by 71 to 816, while deaths increased by 53 to 3,582.
Fairfield County recorded another 32 positive cases and 13 deaths, bringing those respective totals to 14,751 and 1,180. Hospitalizations dropped by 31 to 241.
Stamford arguably still has the most positive COVID-19 cases in the state. The Connecticut Department of Health said the city had recorded 3,063 cases yesterday, but according to today’s data it had just 3,051. A request for clarity was not immediately granted.
Bridgeport has 3,057 cases, followed by New Haven (2,284), Hartford (2,036), Norwalk (1,928), Waterbury (1,775), Danbury (1,639), West Haven (986), Hamden (890), New Britain (825), Greenwich (764), and Stratford (737).
As of this writing, there are over 1.55 million positive cases and more than 93,400 virus-related deaths in the U.S., with over 301,000 recovered. Globally, there are over 5 million positive cases and about 329,000 deaths, with over 1.9 million recovered.