HANNAWA FALLS — The COVID-19 pandemic coupled with a broken washroom water filtration system has kept Postwood Beach closed this summer, until final opening approval and permitting from the county Public Health Department was granted this week.
A new ultraviolet filtration system and design for the washroom was approved by the health department July 30, and after installation that day, water samples were lab tested for bacteria in Waddington and Syracuse and cleared this week.
Ropes and lifeguard chairs were set up Tuesday, and the beach at Postwood Park, on the east shore of the Raquette River, officially reopened Wednesday.
Potsdam Recreation Director Trey T. Smutz said his department and staff have appreciated the community’s patience and understanding, as work to replace the system and prepare beach equipment was completed.
Pandemic guidelines at both Postwood and Sandstoner Beach at Pine Street Arena, which opened last month in Potsdam, require beach capacity to be cut in half — to 175 total people at Postwood and 125 at Sandstoner. Masks are required when social distancing is not an option.
Potsdam Recreation asks the public to sign in with a name and phone number with beach staff before entering the waterfront areas so attendants can ensure accurate counts. The beach visitor log is designed to assist contact tracers in establishing potential contacts should a beachgoer test positive for COVID-19, Mr. Smutz said.
Daily beach hours at both locations are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and kayak and paddle board rentals can be arranged between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. Rentals for five or more people should be reserved at least 24 hours in advance by calling Potsdam Recreation at 315-265-4030.
Both Postwood and Sandstoner beaches are permitted to operate through Sept. 8, and Mr. Smutz said he hopes the waterfronts will be open until then, though availability of many college student lifeguards may impact the official closing date. A more definitive closing date is expected in the coming weeks.