Five-year-old Cora Mackey was unfazed by the strong winds Thursday as she built a sandcastle at the Yaman Park beach in Cortland.
It was the first time she had been to the beach, said Kaylie Mackey, Cora’s mother. And it may not be her last.
“It feels really good to get outside and enjoy the warm weather and cool off,” Kaylie Mackey said.
As COVID restrictions have mostly dropped in the state, swimming facilities in the greater Cortland area are reacting differently to the changes.
At the Yaman Park beach and Wickwire Pool, COVID-19 guidelines such as required mask wearing when not in the water, screening group limits were initiated in the spring, according to guidelines from the Cortland Youth Bureau earlier this year. They’ve since been eased a bit.
The changes were instituted after both the pool and the beach were closed last summer.
Further changes were made following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions last week as the state hit 70% of the population receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
At the Yaman Park beach and Wickwire Pool, masks are no longer required outdoors, but people are encouraged to wear them when inside buildings, said John McNerney, the director of the Cortland Youth Bureau. Reservations for Wickwire Pool are not required anymore and contact tracing won’t be needed.
However, a capacity limit of 250 people set a few months ago will still be kept in place, McNerney said.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said.
McNerney said the changes were made after discussions last week with officials from the Cortland County Health Department.
The beach has been open since late May; Wickwire Pool will open Saturday. The pool will be open from noon to 7 p.m. with a daily cleaning from 3:30 to 4 p.m.
The beach will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., according to the Cortland Youth Bureau Facebook page.
In McGraw, the beach at the village recreation park will be closed this summer due to lack of time to train lifeguards, said Village Clerk Lori Aiken, as well as the changing restrictions and the need to dredge the facility.
Groton’s pool is open to town and village residents and their guests only for the second year, according to a posting this week from the Groton Recreation Department Facebook page.
Member registration, which is required, will be done on site. The pool will be available for lap swim from noon to 1 p.m. daily and open swim from 1 to 5 p.m.
Jennifer Jones, the village and town director of recreation, could not be reached for comment Thursday.