NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk’s beaches and Cranbury Park are likely to reopen to vehicular traffic on May 20, Mayor Harry Rilling said Tuesday.
Rilling released the Reopen Norwalk Plan, focused only on municipal services and facilities, in a press release. The four-phase plan will align with the State of Connecticut Reopening Plan; the full 22-page plan is available here.
You will not be able to swim, fish or use the beach amenities, including splash pad, picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and playgrounds. “Summer concerts, movies, softball, volleyball, bocce ball leagues and all events, including the Fourth of July Fireworks, have been canceled,” the plan states.
Similar restrictions are planned for other Norwalk parks.
The plan hinges on hospitalizations continuing to decrease, Rilling said at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, via Zoom. He cautioned that the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 is unpredictable and knowledge of its affects is evolving.
“Just yesterday, I found that some people were walking into an emergency room … (with) a dangerously low level of oxygen in their bloodstream, to a point where they should have been experiencing organ failure, but they weren’t,” Rilling said. “They were speaking, they were coherent. They were ambulatory. So, we don’t know how this is going to affect us.”
He referred to children being treated at Yale-New Haven Hospital; at least six children are being treated for “the mysterious new severe inflammatory illness that doctors believe is connected to COVID-19 and has caused alarm across the country,” the Hartford Courant reported Tuesday.
“We do not have a guidebook on how to handle this,” Rilling said. “We have to learn on a daily basis, every single day …We want to make sure that we understand how dangerous this situation is.”
Phase One of Norwalk’s reopening will limit parking at the beaches and Cranbury Park to 50 percent capacity. At Calf Pasture, there will be a new designated non-resident parking area with a limit of 150 vehicles. At Cranbury Parks, the playgrounds and disc golf course will be closed. Dogs will be permitted but only on a leash.
“All athletic courts, playgrounds, and athletic fields will remain closed during Phase One,” the City’s press release said. “City Hall and the Norwalk Public Library will also remain closed to the public throughout Phase One. Norwalk Public Schools remain closed for the academic year following the Governor’s executive order, however free meal distribution will continue through at least June 30.”
Timing of the reopening will be coordinated with the State and plans may shift as the health crisis changes.
“Gathering sizes, physical distancing measures, and the use of masks or face coverings are to be determined by the State,” and Norwalk Police may fine citizens who are not following the guidelines, the press release said.
“I know this is a very frustrating time for all of us,” Rilling said at the Council meeting. “We would like nothing better than to open up the City of Norwalk again, to get back to some degree of normalcy. But if we do that too quickly, I fear that it would be a mistake.”