Petition Pleads: Don’t Reopen Compo And Longshore Yet

Town officials plan to open Compo Beach parking lots, and the Longshore golf course, on May 15.

Not so fast, warns Holly Maybruck

The Westport resident thinks that’s too early. She shared her concerns in a letter to the 1st selectman, Parks & Recreation staffers, RTM members and others.

She also created a Change.org position. As of 9 a.m. today, it had received 112 signatures. She hopes for 200.

The petition says:

We are asking for the Compo Beach (parking lots) and Longshore golf course not to be opened on May 15, 2020. Please see our signed petition.

We are very concerned about the opening up of the parking lots and beach area even at 50% capacity. It is apparent to myself and others that we can’t trust people to be compliant with social distancing on the boardwalks, paths and beaches.

Compo Beach cannons, before social distancing rules went into effect.  (Photos/Larry Untermeyer)

Just this past weekend there were clusters of teenagers and people, who were clearly not immediate family, together on the beach. People were not wearing masks and walking way too close together on sidewalks and boardwalks on the beach.

I know people are anxious to get to our beautiful beach but this virus thrives in social settings and people are less likely to wear masks in outdoor public spaces.

I feel that more needs to be done before opening these public areas to large groups of people. There is so much unknown about this virus. I know that the beach stickers, restaurants and golf course brings revenue to the town, but I strongly feel that lives and safety should be the focus.

Two people practice social distancing at Compo Beach. (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

Anyone can be a carrier and takes this virus with them wherever they go. I have photos from last weekend of the beach area and it was disturbing to see the large numbers of people not social distancing. Aside from adults and teens not complying, young children cannot understand the concept and can infect others as well.

Please see this letter posted on Westport Now. On May 4 there were reports that Westport COVID cases and deaths are up.

It just took one party in Westport to get the fire started. I ask you to please consider delaying the opening up of these until we have the following:

Key elements for safely re-opening:

  1. Capacity/capability to execute and perform contact tracing.
  2. Provide adequate resources and means for those who need to self-isolate.
  3. Monitor and reinforce social distancing.

These are the 3 elements that the community at large can contribute towards a safe re-opening.

Compo and other public gathering places of similar nature pose the 3 biggest risks to community transmission (hence, a larger 2nd wave):

  1. Ability to distance at a minimum of 6 feet.
  2. Duration of social gathering (hours vs. seconds/minutes)
  3. Number of individuals that will exposed to others (infected or not).

Thank you in advance for the consideration of the health and safety of our community.

Can there be social distancing on a golf course? (Photo/Dave Dellinger)

60 responses to “Petition Pleads: Don’t Reopen Compo And Longshore Yet

  1. Dave Eason

    No thanks.. If people can’t abide by the rules, it can all be shut down again.

    • Arline Gertzoff

      Thanks Dave Sherwood Island has been open all through the crisis I know it is a state facility of course Give people a chance to act responsibly at Compo If they fall it will be their fault it is again close
      Furthermore those who are
      Against opening can continue to stay at home.

  2. Erin Regan

    Based on the strong opposition to Holly’s petition I’d say Westporters are very eager to get back to the beach. My prediction is the beaches will be open only a short time before they have to be closed due to crowding and lack of social distancing. I’ll see how it plays out. I visit the beach as much as anyone in the summer but I’m already resigned that we may have to go without it for a summer. I hope I’m wrong but I’m glad the town is at least giving us a chance.

  3. Rich Vogel

    I’m eagerly awaiting the opening of our beautiful beach. I will be there early and often. Of course, like the overwhelming majority of Westporters I will abide by and follow ALL social distancing guidelines during my visits. After all, I only have one life to live and I plan to responsibly enjoy it. Let the doomsdayers stay in their bunkers.

    • Russell Gontar

      Then you stand a good chance of getting infected without knowing it, going home and infecting everyone in your family in addition to infecting others on the beach.

      Your desire to get out of your bunker doesn’t give you a free pass to infect everyone else in the process.

  4. Paloma Bima

    Compo beach is already open, just not accessible to all Westporters, since some of us have to drive there and therefore not be able to park (the only thing that stops many in town going right now is the closed parking lot)
    So let’s not divide the town, and allow everyone who lives in Westport to enjoy the waterfront.

  5. K.F. Spearen

    My opinion is like Davids … Let it open , then close it down if people don’t abide by the rules ..

  6. Francoise Jaffe

    Reposting the comment I made to the April 29 WestportNow article on reopening the beaches. Please note the last sentence–a public discussion about the need to balance safety and privacy/individual rights is sorely needed.
    Experts are recommending contact tracing and isolation as the best protective measures to contain the virus (Slavitt, Gottlieb, etc.) Use of the Town’s recreational facilities should be accompanied by some ability to implement contact tracing to identify and protect venue users exposed to the virus, and those with whom they come in contact. Technology and training to do contract tracing are becoming available, and a discussion on which methods to consider given the legitimate privacy and confidentiality concerns is sorely needed. The lack of debate on how to balance safety and privacy is only benefiting the virus, which continues to spread.

  7. Debbie Katz

    Not signing this. While it’s possible that things will open and then close again based on changes with the virus/people not social distancing (and remember, immediate families are allowed to clump together so don’t panic if you see groups!) /flagrant disregard for the policies put in place, the reality is that people are going to go to the beach anyway once the weather gets warm. Fresh air and sunshine are good, and especially necessary when trying to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. It may as well be mandated to open and then monitored. As long as everyone else is following the rules set forth, this is a great thing, and much needed!
    If some people are not comfortable with these places opening, they should absolutely stay home until they feel it’s ok for them to personally venture out. Until then, we need to begin to safely enjoy the open spaces!

  8. Yeah, no thanks. Thanks for the effort though, really inspiring.

  9. Charlie Haberstroh

    As Paloma said, Compo Beach has not ever been closed, just the parking. Longshore has never been closed and many residents have taken to walk on the beautiful Longshore links. As we open Longshore for the golfers, we are hoping that the walkers will go to Compo for a different, but still lovely venue, which is why we are opening at 50% parking capacity and have removed the picnic tables and grills to minimize the urge by some to congregate. Since we are only “opening” on May 15, we hope to learn from other municipalities which have opened their facilities already. It is important that Westporters (and Westonites) who have emblems responsibly adhere to the restrictions. I can assure Holly and everyone else that revenues were not a primary motivator in the partial opening of parking at Compo.

    Charlie Haberstroh
    Chairman
    Parks and Recreation Commission

    • Rich Vogel

      Hey Charlie, when are the badges going to be mailed? I payed for our badges last week but haven’t received them yet.

    • Diane Johnson

      Thank you, Charlie; we appreciate your longstanding dedication to the Parks and Rec Commission and we appreciate this additional information. I think opening up the Compo parking lot at 50% capacity allowing walkers to more easily enjoy Compo beach is a great idea. Let’s hope everyone adheres to wearing masks, social distancing, and all other recommended best practices … or we will all lose this benefit.

    • Holly Maybruck

      We now have 570 signers on the petition

  10. Marie Gross

    The upcoming opening of the beach parking lots and Longshore Golf Club are sure to be met with much anticipation. Not opening them would be a mistake in my mind. There are several golf courses open in Connecticut with very strict rules that encourage social distancing. This has been working extremely well at places like Sterling Farms in Stamford. Golf is a game of complex rules and etiquette. Most golfers are used to following rules – it is inherent in the game. Golfers, more than most, will adhere to the rules, if only to ensure that they will be allowed to play. Longshore has clearly stated on their website the rules under which they will operate when they open on May 15. These include, but aren’t limited to, how golfers will pay for greens fees, not allowing electric carts, not distributing scorecards or pencils, and rules on how to putt out your ball on the green. They have even installed a device to prohibit the ball from falling into the cup and therefore eliminating the need to place your hand in the cup to retrieve your ball. At Sterling Farms, there are rangers present and continuously monitoring the golfers to ensure they keep at least 6’ apart. These are remarkable times and everyone is feeling the pressure of being quarantined at home. Playing a round of golf with the new COVID-19 rules is safer than going to the grocery store and will provide much needed exercise and enjoyment in a safe environment. Please don’t take this privilage away!

  11. Wendy Stahl

    I think it would be more productive to have a petition to support following the guidelines– social distancing, masks, etc. so that everyone can safely enjoy the outdoor activities. It’s up to all of us to keep each other safe…..

  12. Mariana Servin

    Seems to me that we should consider using our open space in a way that prioritizes making it available to the maximum number of people that can enjoy it WHILE following the current safe distance guidelines. In this utilitarian community spirit, maybe it would make sense to keep Longshore Golf course as a “walking park” only for now, and NOT open it for golf… in addition, some of the main roads in the beach area could be closed to traffic and made pedestrian only (like NYC is doing). By having more walking space, more people can enjoy the area SAFELY. I know golfers won’t like this idea, but if you take all that space away from “walkers” the actual beach area and surrounding paths will likely get “too crowded” pretty quickly.

  13. Jessica Bram

    Here is the response I sent to Ms. Maybruck yesterday: “I disagree. This decision made after very careful and informed consideration by our Health Director. Anyone concerned about a lack of social distancing at the beach is free to stay home. Furthermore, the suggestion that town revenue has anything to do with this decision is insulting to our public officials, and deeply regrettable.”
    Jessica Bram
    RTM District 6
    Member, RTM Parks & Recreation Commitee

  14. T. Simmons

    Any guesses on the over/under for the number of days that pass before
    TOO MANY “it’s all about me” people don’t follow proper protocol and everything gets shut down once again?

    • Erin Regan

      Two to three weeks max. Or one 70 degree Saturday or Sunday. That’s my bet sadly.

  15. Jerome J. Cohen

    If you’re worried so much about keeping the beach open, Ms. Maybruck, you stay home. there is no need for others to do so as long as they keep within the guidelines

    • Jack Krayson

      Exactly,,,that is the essence of FREEDOM

      • Chris Grimm

        Yes, you want the freedom to pass the virus to your neighbors and family members.

        Just when I am sympathetic to people wanting to inch toward opening these spaces, someone complains about their freedom without even a hint of interest in public health and safety.

        That isn’t your freedom, that is (I guess I should write it in all-caps, like you) a PRIVILEDGE.

        Please, grow up.

  16. Leslie Wolf

    Assuming compo is opened how will a 50% level be accomplished? first come,first served;odd and even license plates on alternate days?. What about walk-ins. Monitoring a partial opening seems very difficult.

    • This is about the beach parking lots, not the number of people on the sand per se. Seems pretty straightforward. They know the capacity of the lots. When that’s reached, they stop admitting cars.

  17. Bill Kutik

    I dunno. I moved here 21 years ago to have the beach so close. I grew up a block-and-a-half from the open Atlantic in Rockaway. It is mother’s milk to me. But the chance that people will not gather into “conversational bouquets” (as Tom Wolfe wrote) when they see their friends on Compo is slim to nil. And do we have any of the three things the CDC says you need before re-opening anything? Not a single one. Just like the idiot Republican governors. So I’m sure the beach pass I ordered online will arrive in the mail before May 15; Compo will re-open then; I’ll go on a weekday; and it will be closed within two weeks — depending on the weather. Hope we can try again in June!

    • Jeff Arciola

      The idiot republican governors at least know how to run a state. The only thing the Democratic run states do is run them into bankruptcy. Connecticut, New York and California etc. I could keep going.
      Good thinking Bill.

      • Russell Gontar

        Right. Like the republican governors who support the presidents efforts to FORCE meatpacking plants to reopen and to FORCE their employees to return to work. In case it hasn’t been reported on foxnews, the highest rates of infection include the rates occurring at nursing homes and meatpacking plants. But I guess that’s okay with you.

        Good “thinking” Jeff.

    • Chris Grimm

      Absolutely nailed it, Bill.

  18. Regina Masterson

    Why should the majority of people suffer because a few can’t follow the rules? Let the golfers play, carefully following the strict guidelines set out on the Longshore website. Walkers can still use the roadways.

  19. Frannie Southworth

    I signed the petition. My neighbor had a big party in their driveway just a few days ago. Doctors and nurses are out in the front lines risking their health and lives to care for people that get sick, and then people behave like this. No one wears a mask walking out on the streets in my neighborhood. Many people are not following the guidelines set for CT during this public health crisis, so I don’t see why it would all of a sudden be different in regard to the beach. I would love to walk on my street or at the beach again, but I see what goes on and unfortunately it would not be safe for those who DO follow the rules and are trying to stay healthy.

  20. I live up the hill from Joeysontheshore/Elvira Mae’s which has been opened for less than a week.

    Almost no one is wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart when they pick up food; and they stay and hang out, often just seeing they have to order via app so they are hanging around, getting instructions and then waiting to pick up their food. It’s a party! (Not Joey’s fault; they are 100% adhering to strict rules.)

    And the people who do order in advance and MAYBE wear masks, oh, maybe not, other people do not stay 6 feet from them.

    Many Westport people have many sterling qualities but a large % of them DO NOT FOLLOW ORDERS WELL.

    And as for walking on the beach, many groups are not wearing masks and stop and talk to other groups not wearing masks. Weekend before last, i walked on the sidewalk, gingerly; people were not walking 6 feet from me; and a runner came from behind and brushed my shoulder. I moved from the sidewalk to the road, back and forth dodging cars. Maybe 80% not wearing masks and not staying 6 feet apart.

    And yes, I was that crazy lady yelling at people “Why aren’t you wearing masks?”

    “ We don’t have too. We’re staying 6 feet apart.”

    Tried a few F bombs; people didn’t like that, “Don’t talk like that in front of the children!”

    “You could be killing people and you don’t like F bombs in front of the children???”

    So I went home.

    Open the beach? Nah, bad idea. Look at how it is now when it is not officially open.

    If I’m this unhinged 8 weeks into lockdown, and I know I’m not the only one, think of how many people will be effected with an unnecessarily extended lockdown after this mock, oh let’s see if the people can follow directions deal.

  21. Elaine Marino

    How about if the occupants of all cars entering the parking lot are required to wear face masks? The parking attendants only have to look at the occupants (from six feet away) to confirm that each beach goer is wearing a mask. No mask – no entrance.

    • Werner Liepolt

      Mask checkers at the transfer station do this very well.

      “No Mask No Dump” is posted clearly and enforced.

      What’s wrong with “No Mask No Beach?”

  22. Mark Bachmann

    I agree with our town officials on this one – open the beach!

  23. Jose Cuevas

    Did anybody stop to think that if the majority of the people showed up without masks, then it must be that they have voted against wearing masks in open air parks? As Stephanie stated above, 80% of the people were not wearing masks. It is a bit tyrannical to require people to wear masks outside (I understand inside establishments and closed spaces), but outside? The data is extremely mixed on that and many studies indicate it can do more harm than good.

    • Chris Grimm

      No studies say masks do more harm than good.

      You have a pretty low personal bar for what constitutes “tyranny.”

  24. Joan Tricarico

    If you don’t feel comfortable going out then stay in.

  25. Linda Tesser

    Signed and shared.

  26. Werner Liepolt

    The part of the executive order requiring mask wearing follows:

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, NED LAMONT, Governor of the State of Connecticut, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Connecticut, do hereby ORDER AND DIRECT:
    1. Cloth Face Coverings or Higher Level of Protection Required in Public Wherever Close Contact is Unavoidable. Effective at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, April 20, 2020, any person in a public place in Connecticut who is unable to or does not maintain a safe social distance of approximately six feet from every other person shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face-covering. In addition, individuals shall use a mask or cloth face covering when using the services of any taxi, car, livery, ride-sharing or similar service or means of mass public transit, or while within any semi-enclosed transit stop or waiting area.

    I guess following or not following this order will make or break our use of Compo Beach for the duration.

  27. Please, if you have a differing opinion than someone else, be civil. Being unkind is only compounding what we need to work on so that we can hear all opinions and work together on solutions.

  28. I want Compo Beach parking lots open! This is going to go on for a long time, and we need our beautiful beaches. People keep their distance at Sherwood Island, and they will at Compo and Burying Hill as well.
    Judy Reid

  29. Eva Grundy

    I support opening the beach. Golfers will have the ability to enjoy a game of golf and walkers and runners should have the opportunity to get fresh air and exercise on the beach. Both will need to follow the rules. The folks who are concerned about exposure and infection should absolutely stay home and isolate. Please stay home! It’s your right. By the way I’ve walked by Elvira Mae’s several times this week, always on my own, and every single person I saw lining up for a pick up was wearing a mask.

  30. Francoise Jaffe

    It is truly disheartening to read some of the comments. “If you don’t like it, stay home” is an aggressive and dismissive response to a legitimate concern: keeping Westporters safe from a recurrence of the virus. Rules are in place, but there has been no mention of how they will be enforced–which is one of the difficult conversations that we need to have, and has been completely avoided so far. What will enforcement look like? We know what the reaction to the police drones was when it was announced a couple of weeks ago. The drones were an attempt to figure out a solution without both defining and discussing the problem: avoiding unsafe gatherings. It failed.
    Closing the beaches would both “punish” the rule followers and probably close the barn door after the horse has gone.
    Can we therefore all agree that rules without enforcement or compliance are useless, and that we need to figure out both what is reasonable given our knowledge of possible recurrence and what is feasible given that… this is Westport?

    • Jay Walshon MD

      To me what is most disheartening in these comments is that instead of”facts” being addressed and “opinions” being debated, instead the predominant expression is “I want”. So much like self centered children.

      Before making a decision the discussion should center on whether or not an action will or will not increase viral spread within the community -Westport and beyond – place people at increased risk of illness, needlessly increase deaths, or increase the demands upon the health care system. If yes, then don’t do it. If no, then do it. Currently the definitive answer might be unknown – but the best belief is that it will. Shaming residents and denigrating them with the implication that they are paranoid or “scardy cats” who should just stay home is not only unhelpful, but counterproductive to obtaining an optimal outcome.

      Remember, your rights end where it impacts others – that’s what this is really about.

      BTW, I strongly advise everyone to avoid the closed spaced portable toilets in which the virus has the ability to linger in the air within for up to 3 hours. Users may unwittingly place themselves at serious risk of contamination solely dependant upon who used it in the few hours prior. Do you really want to take that risk, have your children or parents take that risk? Always remember that the virus is invisible. Those unventilated closed public spaces are one of the most at risk public spaces around.

  31. Michael Isaacs

    People from Weston shouldn’t be allowed on the beach this summer. They don’t pay taxes in Westport.

  32. B. Franklin

    Westport, you have lost your way. Westport was once a community that accepted one another and avoided petty nonsense. Those were the good old days. Hardship and survival is life – learn and accept we are not all winners unfortunately. Embrace how the majority of our community will thrive and stop the pettiness of tearing each other down.

  33. Peter Barlow

    I’m curious to know – if they are limiting the number of cars with people going to the beach at Compo, are they also limiting the cars and people going to their boats at the Compo marina? How does that work?

  34. Juliana Sloane Fulbright

    I can’t believe there are people that want the beach closed. I say stay home if you want to . The couple that are close may be a couple, it’s hard to tell. I think people will follow the rules for staying well.

    • Chris Grimm

      Nobody *wants* the beach closed.

      We want to discourage people from behaving in ways that spread Coronavirus, so that these public spaces can fully open at the appropriate times.

  35. Wendy Batteau

    Please see Dr. Choi’s letter on Westport Now debunking the bunk. I thank him for providing facts and reason and for the nudge to ethical behavior based on both. Those who think the benefit of their own short-term gratification is worth the the overwhelming risk of jeopardizing individual and community health would do well to pay careful attention.

  36. Charles Haberstroh

    I want to make clear that the official state recommendation for toilets is for port-a-johns versus other options. That includes Sherwood Island State Park.

    Charlie Haberstroh
    Chair,
    Westport Parks and Rec. Commission

  37. Linda Tesser

    Stats from Westport Patch, 5/9/2020, 6:42 a.m.
    As of 5/9/2020, 6:42 a.m., the number of deaths across Connecticut remains high as another 77 were reported over the past 24 hours.

    Westport: 258 Confirmed cases,
    19 Deaths

  38. Frannie Southworth

    Unfortunately it is not as simple as saying, “stay home if you are not comfortable”. I wish it were, but we are truly all in this together. Even if I stay home, you not wearing a mask, and possibly spreading the virus is affecting your families, healthcare workers and me.This is an invisible virus as a Dr. Walshon pointed out a few comments ago, and If Westport gets another bout of coronavirus we all have to stay in longer. I understand a tight fitting mask is uncomfortable for runners, but why not wear a loose fitting bandana over your nose and mouth? I don’t see what the big deal is in wearing some sort of face covering when you leave your home to take a walk, or run in your neighborhood, or go to the beach where we know there will be lots of people, if it can help others not get this virus. Also research has shown that 6 feet is not far enough away if someone is laughing, coughing or breathing heavily as they do when running. Also that there is a slip stream of air when someone runs by outside that you can breathe in passing them. It would be so great if we looked out for one another. My sister’s friend’s 60 year old husband just died after being sick with this virus for only a week. She and her two kids tested positive and have no symptoms. Therein lies one big issue that we all have to keep in mind. Any one of us can be a carrier and of course mean no intentional harm in gathering or not wearing a mask. As the person who just gave us stats pointed out, this is real and very much here in our town and county. My clergy did 4 zoom funerals for COVID deaths just in the past 2 weeks! A little bit of inconvenience for the greater good has to be considered as we move forward. Everyone stay well!!!!