CROMWELL, CT (WFSB) – More people are heading outside as Memorial Day weekend approaches.

This holiday, state leaders are asking people to change their yearly traditions to keep each other safe.

If this weekend’s weather is nice, the state is expecting parks and beaches to be crowded.

State leaders are asking people to stay close to home and use the parks in their neighborhood.

“We live in Cromwell and it’s just enjoyable. It’s three minutes from here,” said Glen Johnson.

Glen and Beth Johnson usually go to a cottage in Niantic for Memorial Day, but this year, they may stay in their own backyard.

“We may come down here because you can’t beat it,” Glen said.

With more than 100 state parks and beaches, DEEP officers will be closing them off when it gets too crowded. People will also be fined if they defy the closures.

There will also be reduced parking. Inland ponds and lakes will be closed, and people will have to maintain 15 feet of distance at shoreline beaches.

“This is a great time to get creative and consider some of the less popular locations,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes.

Group gatherings and picnics are also prohibited, but people say enjoying the local parks is still their best bet for a fun weekend.

“We’re getting to the point where we can enjoy a few things that have been closed down, so things are looking up,” said Lois Stevens.

The state has launched a new website for people to check before they leave their homes. 

It gives people real time updates on beaches and parks. 

"If you arrive at a park and find that a gate is closed because it's reached capacity, don't get into a debate with one of our staff. You'd be surprised, folks see the ENCON vehicle at the entrance and they still need to go up and ask if it's actually closed," Dykes said. 

Inland lakes and ponds will be closed for swimming this season, but state officials say that could change. 

For the website on state beaches, click here. The state also released another website to give people information on hiking trails, which could be found here


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