CHLA - Covid Guidance

CHLA Summer 2020 News

Preliminary Meeting: The Preliminary Meeting will be held on Saturday, June 27 at 11:00 a.m. via Zoom. Meeting details and related information will follow in a separate email.

Coronavirus Pandemic: The Executive Committee has been meeting weekly since early May to prepare for a summer of safe tennis, swimming, boating, and picnicking in the midst of a pandemic. We have consulted with experts and have received guidelines and recommendations for opening from the State Department of Public Health. Our goal this summer is to provide a way for members to safely visit CHLA. Several changes have been made to our normal operation to achieve this. Following our new practices is crucial to minimizing the impact of COVID-19 on our community and keeping CHLA open this year.

If you visit CHLA, it is at your own risk. COVID-19 is extremely contagious and can be spread by asymptomatic people of all ages. We cannot keep our environment free of people or the virus. You must take your own precautions to protect yourselves and others around you. Wear masks, keep your hands clean, don’t linger, and keep social distance from those not in your family household’s circle. It is also important that children and young adults understand the CHLA rules, so please take the time to inform them and explain why following the rules is important for reducing our risk of spreading the virus at CHLA.

CHLA Crew: There will be no lifeguards on duty for the time being. Starting on June 20, some staff who typically work as lifeguards will instead be employed to monitor the grounds, take attendance, and encourage social distancing. They will be wiping down and sanitizing high touch areas periodically. They will also enforce safety rules on the waterfront, such as no boats in the swimming area, no fishing off the dock, and proper life jacket use. Executive Committee members will also be present most afternoons to support the crew.

Check-in: CHLA members will be expected to check in with a crew member upon their arrival. Crew members will note each person that enters and the time. Club members, children (over 2 years), and their guests must be wearing masks for entry and to talk with the crew. The check-in allows us to keep a record of who has visited CHLA, and to encourage those who have been there the longest to consider leaving should it become crowded. It also allows CHLA to notify members if there is new information, such as a new case of COVID-19 among a person(s) who attended the lake or updated safety rules.

Social Distancing: Social distancing is the key to keeping our facility safe and open this summer. Please keep at least 6 feet away from others who are not in your household or ‘social bubble’. If you are within 6 of others, you are expected to wear a mask. To help make this easier, we have rearranged the picnic tables to open the lawn areas and to encourage spreading out. White dots have been placed 6 feet apart on the dock, benches, and rafts to help you gauge distance. If the grounds become crowded and social distancing becomes difficult, then the crew will address this. Members will be asked to move, or those who have been there the longest that day may be asked to leave in order to create more space for others who want to safely enjoy time at the lake.

Masks: Masks prevent those who are wearing them from spreading coronavirus to others. Members and their guests must be wearing a mask on entry. You are expected to wear one to speak to the crew when you check in. The CHLA Crew will have a limited number of masks to provide to those who don’t have one. However, we strongly suggest that you bring your own mask as those who do not have a mask, including small children, will not be able to enter. Crew members can ask everyone to wear masks at any time at their discretion. Masks are a key part of stopping the spread of the virus, and CHLA’s expectation is to see members wearing them (except to swim or play tennis) whenever they are within 6 feet of others. Since masks often can’t be worn in the lake, members must maintain 6 feet of physical distance from those outside their family or social bubble while wading, playing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding or relaxing on the docks.

Clubhouse, bathrooms and hand washing: The Clubhouse will remain closed for the summer. We have installed a portable bathroom in the parking lot which will be sanitized frequently. There is a working sink and flushable toilet in the portable bathroom. We chose to go this route because a portable bathroom is easier to sanitize, allows for frequent air exchange, and is more conveniently located. We are also planning to install an outdoor hand washing sink near the clay tennis courts, and hand sanitizer dispensers will be on the tennis courts and dock. To minimize bathroom use, we suggest reminding all family members to use the bathroom before coming to the lake. Frequent hand washing is an effective way to prevent yourself from becoming infected with coronavirus.

Swimming access: To help minimize interactions, we are going to cordon off an area of the dock for those members who just want to go for a swim off the low dock. There will be no lounging or sunbathing permitted in this area. Adult members wishing to go for a swim from the low dock may enter the dock via the boathouse access path. A light and handrail have been installed to guide the way through. This allows a separate access to the protected area of the dock if you would rather not walk over the main dock area. If confused about this walkway, ask a crew member to show you the way.

Boating: The kayaks and canoes on the beach are still available for use by members. A sanitizing spray will be available in the boating area for use on kayaks and lifejackets. The rules for life jacket use have not changed. For your own safety, we strongly advise that you bring your own life jacket and paddle. There will be some life jackets available near the boats, but we will not be able to guarantee that they are virus free.

Picnicking: The grills have been put away for now. The tables have been spread out throughout the grounds to allow household picnics and to promote social distancing. Please do not rearrange the tables.

Tennis: The clay courts should be open soon for play. Dean Saccardi will be rolling the courts this summer. The tennis courts will be open as permitted by the state, under the guidelines established by the USTA. Sign up is now online only, starting at 8:00 am the day before. (So, Monday after 8:00 a.m. for Tuesday reservations.) Here are the instructions for setting up your account. Here are the guidelines for safe play. These are subject to change as time goes on, we will keep you updated. So far, the online system has been a great success. The tennis committee will be communicating with the membership very soon about tennis clinics, tennis ladders and other activities.

Our young adults: This pandemic has brought our teens and young adults home to Cornwall. Their school year was disrupted, summer plans have been put on hold, and here they are. Old enough to be out and about on their own, young enough to pay less heed to the virus. This is going to be a challenge for us, and we are going to have to work together as a community to make sure they have a place at CHLA, yet practice safe and responsible pandemic behavior. The crew and others will be monitoring their social distancing and mask wearing. It will be a season with more young people around, but we will meet the challenge with education and reminders. Parents, please help to reinforce our messages around the importance of safety.

Items to bring with you: There will be very few community items available for use. We encourage you to bring your own kayak paddles, life jackets, swimming floats, ping pong paddles and balls, and children’s sand toys--and to not share them with others outside of your household.

Yelping Hill: We have received word that our members are migrating over to the Yelping Hill beach and docks. As they too are concerned with overcrowding and social distancing, please stay off of their property.

Dogs: Dogs, including puppies, are not permitted at any time at CHLA.

A Warning: We have developed these new rules and procedures to adhere to state requirements for opening an outdoor recreation area, as outlined in Governor Lamont’s executive orders and the Department of Public Health. We all need to adhere to these requirements, or we may be subject to closure. Let’s work together to maintain a safe area for recreation to reduce the risk for our entire community. Social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing are the tools we have available to avoid infection and community spread, and still be able to enjoy CHLA.

Bear with us, remember that we have never had to do this before. We may do some things well, and flub others. We may have to change things when we see how the season unfolds. Please give us feedback and make suggestions.

As always, the safety and well-being of our membership is our priority. We look forward to being apart together and enjoying all that CHLA has to offer in this challenging time. We thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.

All the best,

Your Executive Committee: Susie Ott, Lory Bevans, Tory Jadow, Greg Choa, Denis Nash, Annie Kosciusko, Evie Piker, Phill West, Martha Bruehl and Josh Tyson.

May 13, 2020

CHLA Spring 2020 News

Pandemic Edition #1

Your Executive Committee, Tennis Committee and Building and Grounds Committee have spent quite a bit of time and effort this past month planning for a summer at CHLA during this strange time. CHLA provides outdoor recreation opportunities that are important to all of us. However, the increased traffic of members on our property also increases the chances of spreading COVID-19.

If you visit CHLA, it is at your own risk. COVID-19 is extremely contagious and can be spread by asymptomatic people. We cannot keep our grounds free of people or the virus. You must take your own precautions. Wear masks, keep your hands clean, don’t linger, and keep social distance from those not in your family household’s circle.

Tennis: The Omni courts will be open for play by the end of the week. The clay courts will be open for play as soon as they are reconditioned, most likely by the end of the month. The current orders from the State allow for outdoor tennis courts to open as long as the guidelines set forth by the United States Tennis Association are followed. Online sign-up to reserve courts will start as soon as the nets are put up. Be on the lookout for a separate email with all of the necessary information for safe tennis play at CHLA.

Dues: We do expect you to pay your dues this year. Our grounds will be open to the extent that we are permitted to open this season. We are still responsible to pay for insurance, taxes, maintenance, court conditioning, etc. If we cannot safely have our lifeguards on duty, those funds will be spent on the endless list of repairs to the buildings and grounds. We will also have some COVID-19 related expenses. If a member expects to have difficulty paying their dues this year, there are options already established, please email

Clubhouse: The Clubhouse will remain closed and locked until it is permitted to be opened, and opened safely. This may not happen this summer. We are looking into alternative hand washing and toilet options. Frankly, how to safely open bathrooms is a prominent concern. We are working on safe solutions. We have toilet paper, (thanks to Todd Piker), but sanitizing supplies and PPE are difficult to procure.

Waterfront: Community items are not available for use. The swim tubes, paddles, and lifejackets have been put away for now. Please bring your own items for your own use if you plan to use the kayaks or go swimming. We all should assume that the kayaks have contaminated surfaces, so bring wipes or cleaner of some sort as we are not sanitizing them.

Grounds: The grills have been put away too, for now. Connecticut is still under a restriction of gatherings of no more than 5 people, and that will be extended past May 20. Masks should be worn if other members are around. Please do not bring your dogs.

Finally, please understand that we will be taking guidance for opening from the State of CT, Torrington Area Health District, and our local officials.

Thank you for coming together to make the most out of a complicated time in history, for your continuing support of our endeavors and for providing us with your good ideas and feedback.

Be smart, stay safe.

The Executive Committee

April 11, 2020

Dear Members:

Yesterday, our governor extended the duration of the executive orders for the restriction on “in-person interactions in social, recreational, athletic, business and entertainment settings” as they “continue to pose a risk of transmission of COVID-19”. The current order also includes the extension of the ban on social and recreational gatherings of more than 5 people, with social distancing to be observed in groups of 5 or less. These orders are now in place until May 20.

What does this mean for CHLA members?

The Clubhouse will soon be closed and locked, and the bathrooms and changing rooms will be unavailable. The Clubhouse will not be opened until public health officials determine it is safe to do so. Life jackets, swim tubes, paddles and other such community items will be taken out of circulation.

The grounds will be open for “solitary recreation”, in the same manner that are the areas of outdoor public recreation in Connecticut and New York. This means short visits to CHLA, no prolonged intermingling of members, and adherence to social distancing.

Please wear a mask if visiting the grounds. The combination of the asymptomatic spread of this virus and the majority of our membership potentially traveling from a COVID-19 hotspot is definitely a recipe for unwitting transmission. A mask or face covering can help decrease the spread. Take care with what you touch, consider any public surface contaminated, don’t touch your face, and sanitize your hands after touching any public surface. Video

As for tennis, here are the recommendations of the USTA. The USTA “believes that it is in the best interest of society to take a collective pause from playing the sport we love”. Their rationale is “Although there are no specific studies on tennis and COVID-19, medical advisors believe there is the possibility that the virus responsible for COVID-19 could be transmitted through common sharing and handling of tennis balls, gate handles, benches, net posts and even court surfaces”.

It is unclear what will happen as the summer season approaches. We will continue to maintain the grounds, the building, and the tennis courts in hope that circumstances will improve and we will be able to open in some fashion during the summer. Please continue to do your part in mitigating the spread, but remember, as Dr. Fauci said, “the virus makes the timeline.”

Stay safe-

The Executive Committee