Two officials said they heard no reports of problems in the early going Saturday at reopened parks in Rockland County that had been shut down for weeks to help halt the coronovirus' spread.
A sunny, warm weekend brought people out to walk but staff at county-operated parks "haven't been seeing any real issues out there," John Lyon, communications director for Rockland County Executive Ed Day, said at about 12:30 p.m. "Our parks have been fairly busy for most of the day but people are wearing masks, people are social distancing."
County parks, which reopened Friday for walking only after being closed since April 7, include Haverstraw Bay, Kakiat and Kennedy Dells.
Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann cautioned it was still early but as of 10 a.m. Saturday "we haven't had any complaints" from Rockland Lake State Park, the 2,000 acres off Route 9W that opened after a two-week closure and includes Hook Mountain, Haverstraw Beach and Nyack Beach state parks. He planned to check with the police later on how things were going.
The town posted no-parking signs on roads around the state park to try to prevent parking on surrounding streets, a particular concern on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, Hoehmann said. Clarkstown police tweeted that parking will be reduced in some lots at the state park, urged people to follow social distancing and wear a face covering "when you cannot maintain social distance."
The busiest parking area at the state park, Lot 6 off Route 9W near the lake's north end, will be limited to 50% capacity to facilitate social distancing, Joshua R. Laird, the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission executive director, has said. All other lots are open
But West Nyack resident Susan Smolin, who said she arrived at Rockland Lake State Park about 9 a.m. with her husband Saturday morning, expressed several concerns about what they experienced.
"The first thing I noticed was that there were many people walking and running without masks on," Smolin said, adding that she did not notice any signs in the park telling people they must wear a mask or keep a distance.
Smolin, 71, and her husband used to go to Rockland Lake and another park to walk and were looking forward to Saturday. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, though, she said she had spent several weeks at home, was careful, did not go to supermarkets or stores, and walked in the neighborhood.
"This was terrible," she said of Saturday.
Concerns about social distancing led Clarkstown to close its town parks, while Rockland's other town parks are open though with limits on group gatherings and exceptions such as playgrounds.
At the county's Haverstraw Bay Park, Lyon said precautions taken include closing down an overflow lot and putting cones in every other space in the main lot to reduce the number of people who could be there
"There isn't a lot of space in Haverstraw Bay for people to spread out — there is a walking path that leads sort of all the way around," he said, and measures carried out include signage and an arrow pointing people to walk in one direction.
Lyon said Sunday could be warmer, hitting perhaps 75 degrees, which could mean more people coming to the parks than on Saturday.