By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
In accordance with federal, state and local guidelines, the city reopened beaches, the shoreline boardwalk and beach parking lots Friday, but with restrictions, Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and city Health Director Maureen B. Lillis announced.
“The good news is that our efforts, including “Stay Safe, Stay Home” and social distancing, are working to a point where we can begin carefully opening the city, effective May 22,” Rossi said. “West Haven residents have really excelled with following the various federal, state and local directives. I sincerely thank you for your cooperation!”
For now, the restrictions will cover May and June, Rossi said.
During those months, parking at all beach lots is for West Haven residents only and is “limited to capacity levels that maintain a safe, reduced volume of visitors to the beaches and allows for the practicing of any applicable social distancing directives,” Rossi said.
A West Haven resident beach sticker, with the vehicle’s license plate number printed on it, is required to park in each lot and is only valid if affixed to the inside lower left corner of the vehicle’s windshield. If no sticker is present, the resident driver must show a valid driver’s license and registration, both of which must have the same city address.
Rossi said the city plans to mail the new resident beach stickers with the July tax bills.
For the boardwalk, people must maintain social distancing and wear face masks at all times, Lillis said. Social distancing includes staying at least 6 feet away from others.
“The boardwalk is not wide enough to ensure safe distancing, so face coverings will be required,” Rossi said. “This is to protect the health and safety of all individuals who use our beautiful resources.”
Also, no bikes are allowed on the boardwalk until further notice.
According to Rossi, Police Chief Joseph S. Perno has the authority to remove and ban from the city’s beaches, boardwalk and parks anyone failing to comply with measures restricting gatherings to no more than five people or maintaining social distancing. To report a social distancing complaint, call the Police Department’s nonemergency line at 203-937-3900.
Rossi added that in the coming months, residents can do their part by helping to keep West Haven’s 3 miles of public beaches clean and litter-free, saying, “Whatever you bring in, bring out.”
For the boat launch on April Street, authorities will monitor the area daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Use of the launch is for West Haven residents only. Residents must comply with COVID-19 boating guidelines from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Lillis said.
Rossi said that other restrictions implemented amid the coronavirus pandemic will remain in effect until further notice, including the cancellation of sports and the closure of playgrounds and piers.
Although piers are closed, fishing is allowed, provided that anglers maintain social distancing and comply with COVID-19 fishing guidelines from DEEP, Lillis said.
The municipal compost site at 1 Kimberly Ave. reopened today.
Rossi said the city plans to update new guidelines for July and beyond.
“As Gov. Lamont issues additional guidance, the city will continue to make the necessary changes to our directives,” Rossi said. “Please stay safe and continue looking out for each other.”
Watch the mayor’s video message on West Haven’s official YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAeBVStrzEY.