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I am grateful to announce that Madison has no new COVID-19 cases over the past week, and has only 5 active cases out of 161 in total. As we watch national trends continue in a different direction, we should be cautiously proud of our current status. Let’s protect our state and town from resurgence by continuing to exercise social distancing, wearing masks in public when distancing is not possible, and washing hands frequently.
Throughout this entire public health emergency, our goal has been to implement policies that will protect the health and safety of our community while staying within legal mandates issued by State Government. This includes the policies for our beaches, where we are seeing a dramatic increase in car and foot traffic. This is primarily driven by significant parking restrictions at Hammonasset State Park and a growing number of people in our region who are choosing "staycations" in our local communities. The Governor’s recent pause on the roll-out of Phase 3, coupled with new quarantine restrictions for travelers, has compelled many people to find recreation options closer to home - they are choosing Madison’s beaches as an alternative.
The Town is tracking this and, over the last week, saw a sizable increase in the number of cars being turned away at our beach gates, which ultimately resulted in an influx of people parking on side streets and walking into our facilities. In particular last Sunday, East Wharf was approaching a visitor level that made social distancing problematic. I was there and witnessed it.
In light of these changing circumstances and in order to ensure a safe environment for beach goers going forward, we will be implementing a number of new initiatives:
Finally, I would like to assure the public that our gate staff is strictly enforcing all beach parking sticker requirements. Please note that our town has many summer property owners with out-of-state license plates who are eligible as tax payers or long-term renters to buy a beach parking sticker. Daily guest passes are only available to non-residents Monday through Thursday as per Executive Order.
We ask the public for your continued patience and understanding as we work through these unprecedented, stressful times. We aspire to deliver to the public a safe and enjoyable beach going experience despite challenging circumstances. However, we are also doing this at a time when the goal posts keep shifting by forces outside of our control; this includes national trends and state public health directives and policies. We will continually evaluate and update our policies to address both community and public health concerns as they evolve in this fluid situation.
We are all in this together as a community. Let’s stay safe and healthy Madison.
Peggy LyonsFirst Selectwoman