Lake Paran to officially open gates

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NORTH BENNINGTON — After having to postpone its opening due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the board of Paran Recreations is opening the Lake Paran site today.

The chairman of the board of directors, Alisa Del Tufo, said that the lake usually opens on Memorial Day weekend but that those plans changed because of coronavirus concerns.

"We will be open officially for the first time starting [today] after the loosening of the COVID restrictions by the governor," Del Tufo said.

According to the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD), Gov. Phil Scott on June 26 loosened the restrictions for outdoor events to allow 150 people for an outdoor gathering.

"We have lifeguards and new rules to comply with the regulations," Del Tufo said.

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People coming to the lake have to follow COVID protocols beforehand. Some of those include signing in and out each day, wearing a wrist band and providing contact information for potential contact tracing if necessary.

"We wouldn't ask for that other than having the requirement for contact tracing," Del Tufo said.

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People are asked to maintain social distancing and to use masks when needed. Children under 12 must have a responsible adult with them as well.

The gate will be unlocked and opened from noon to 6 p.m.

"We're trying to ease into this, we want to make sure our lifeguards can manage the crowd," Del Tufo said. "We might not be able to let everyone in."

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The cost for a daily pass is $3.50 for adults and $1 for children under 18. Membership prices vary: $25 for an individual, $40 for a couple and $65 for a family.

If there are any changes, Del Tufo said they would be made on the Lake Paran Facebook page.

Just because there are more restrictions, Del Tufo said she doesn't want it to take away from the experience.

"We want people to enjoy the lake," Del Tufo said.

Though today marks the official opening of the lake, the gates were not locked until after what North Bennington leaders had described as "racist incidents" on June 4. Police said earlier this month that a local man will be issued a municipal citation for disorderly conduct, but said they found no racial motivation behind his behavior.


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