NORTH ATTLEBORO — The town is pushing back by a day its plans to reopen one of the town’s two beaches.
Originally planned for an opening on Wednesday, the conservation commission now says the Barbara Road beach on Falls Pond will open Thursday instead.
"We are still finalizing all details to ensure we are opening safely in accordance with the state guidelines to address Covid-19," Conservation Commissioner Shannon Palmer said in an email on Tuesday.
When it does open, new rules will limit the number of groups admitted to the Barbara Road facility as well as putting a time limit on access, the conservation commission has announced.
The boat launch at the Barbara Road site will also open, but the town’s other beach, at Whiting's Pond, will remain closed, as will the boat ramp there.
Earlier this month, the conservation commission voted to restrict access to the Barbara Road beach to town residents after several incidents of rowdy behavior and drinking.
Cars will only be admitted via the main gate and parking attendants will need to see proof of residency by a driver’s license, utility bill or other means. However, the $5 parking fee for residents will be waived this year. The boat ramp remains open to Massachusetts boaters.
Among the other new restrictions this season, the beach area will be limited to seven group spots that will be marked by stakes. Once those are occupied a sign will be posted.
Beach parking will be closed and no further access will be allowed until a space is open. In addition, groups will be limited to three hours per spot, depending on demand and the discretion of the staff.
The town is partnering with the YMCA again this summer. The Y will be staffing the beach with lifeguards and gate attendants from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with the hours subject to change, based on safety and other considerations.
Boat ramp hours will coincide with the beach hours and parking for trailers will be allowed in designated spots until all are full. Gate attendants will verify boat ramp users are state residents.
Signs will be posted outlining the new restrictions.
The Whitings Pond beach and boat ramp will remain closed until further notice, the commission announced on its website.
“We apologize for any inconvenience as we try to safely address the coronavirus pandemic amid budgetary contraints,” the commission said.
Whitings Pond had traditionally been limited to North Attleboro and Plainville residents.