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Pedestrians, cyclists may use Fort Williams Park starting May 11

Fort Williams Park will reopen to pedestrians and cyclists beginning May 11, 2020.

Fort Williams Park restrictions

The Town Council on April 28, 2020 voted to amend its emergency order that had closed the park as part of the town's efforts to stem spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 disease. [news article]

The vote came just hours after Gov. Janet Mills announced a four-stage plan for reopening Maine businesses, services and public spaces after a month-long order for Mainers to stay at home.

Councilors agreed on April 28 to take a careful, deliberate approach to reopening the park, in step with the governor's plan. "I think we need to be very proscriptive and very deliberate about the measures that we take at the Fort before swinging any gates open – whether they're foot traffic gates or vehicle gates," said Councilor Jamie Garvin.

May 11, a Monday, was chosen to avoid reopening the park on a weekend, and to allow time for staff to mark playground areas, port-a-johns, binoculars and other equipment as off-limits. Face masks will not be required, but signage, park rangers and park greeters will remind visitors to maintain a 6-foot social distance.

Dogs will also be required to be on leashes. "If we're doing social distancing, I think a 6-foot leash is appropriate," said Councilor Valerie Deveraux. "People touch their dogs – if we have dogs off leash I think that could create a lot of problems," she said.

Ban on short-term rentals continue to June 30

Also consistent with the governor's order, councilors voted to continue Cape Elizabeth's emergency suspension of short-term rental operations to June 30.