Snake Pond Beach

Beachgoers enjoy the start of the summer season at Snake Pond. This summer, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, town officials have designated all of the town’s freshwater beaches resident-only.

This summer will be no day at the beach for town officials or for out-of-town visitors hoping to plunge into one of Sandwich’s freshwater ponds.

All town beaches open officially Friday, June 26, but in an effort to cut down on coronavirus transmission, all freshwater beaches—including the public beaches on Wakeby Pond, Snake Pond and the town’s Oak Crest Cove property on Peter’s Pond—will be open only to Sandwich residents with stickers.

There will be plenty of other restrictions at all town beaches this season.

Lifeguards and gate attendants will staff the entryways, starting Friday, June 26, Recreation Director Guy Boucher said this week.

The gatekeepers will accept no cash, Mr. Boucher said. Day passes for Town Neck Beach must be paid by credit card.

While lifeguards will be on duty at the ponds, they will not be policing social distancing or mask wearing.

“Be respectful, keep your distance,” Mr. Boucher said.

Masks must be worn when nearing other people, beach towels must be 12 feet apart and, when possible, beachgoers must stay six feet away from other people, Mr. Boucher has said.

Portable bathrooms facilities will be provided at beaches, but only one person at a time is allowed inside a portable bath house at Town Neck Beach. The facilities will be cleaned once a day.

Sandwich Natural Resources Director David J. DeConto also reminded people this week that no dogs are allowed on the beaches at this time of year.

“Please, please, please do not bring the dog to the beach,” he said.

Dogs are welcome on conservation land trails, but waste bags must be used.

“Dispose of your dog’s waste. If no waste receptacle is available, take the baggy home,” Mr. DeConto said, adding that no cook fires will be allowed on the beach until at least July 6 and possibly later.

No fireworks will be allowed on the beach—or anywhere else in town—on the July 4 holiday. The town’s fireworks display has been canceled, and the beaches will be closed that night at 6 PM, the board of selectmen said last week.

“Please be respectful and patient with each other. Everybody’s been cooped up. There’s plenty of outdoors for everybody,” Mr. DeConto said.

If the rules are not respected, the town will close the beaches, selectmen said last week. They authorized Town Manager George H. (Bud) Dunham to close the beaches quickly, at any time, if he feels people or protected property are in jeopardy.

Sandwich Health Director David B. Mason said the success or failure of the summer season is entirely in the hands of beachgoers.

“Your enjoyment at the beaches is dependent upon your behavior at those beaches. Don’t give us a reason to close them,” he said.

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