Wilton’s Library, Historical Society and Y: What “Open” Means Now (Masks and More)

Following favorable COVID-19 case number trends and a recent announcement by Gov. Ned Lamont loosening some COVID-19 restrictions as of May 1 (and even more by May 19), a number of Wilton institutions have begun easing restrictions.

Just remember, while state-mandated restrictions may be easing, “guidance” will still be forthcoming from the CT Department of Health, notably on mask-wearing and crowd sizes.

Lamont has also said individual organizations are free to set their own policies for COVID safety going forward. “If they want to have a mask requirement, if they want people to get tested, if they want to say vaccinations, that’s up to the business, that’s up to the venue,” he said at an April 19 press conference.

GOOD Morning Wilton reached out to representatives of the Wilton Library, Wilton Historical Society and Wilton YMCA to understand their latest operations so you’ll be prepared for your next visit.

The Wilton Library

The Wilton Library has been open to patrons since March 29, Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

While adults and teens are free to browse at their leisure, appointments are still required for the children’s library (20-minute appointments may be made by calling 203.762.6336 during library hours) as well as for adult computers (one-hour appointments may be made by calling 203.762.6350).

Study rooms, meeting rooms, the reading area and the Innovation Station are not yet available for use.

Many safety protocols remain in place. The library requires anyone entering to wear masks that fully cover mouths and noses, maintain physical distances of at least six feet, and use hand sanitizers that are located throughout the building.

Janet Crystal, the Library’s marketing communications manager, told GOOD Morning Wilton the library is eagerly anticipating May 19 and believes the library may have more announcements soon. “We are very much looking forward to things opening up further,” she said.

She noted that Wilton Library’s virtual programming throughout the pandemic was extremely successful, and will continue for the time being. “Not everyone is comfortable yet” attending group events, Crystal said.

Registration is required for all virtual programs. Upcoming events ranging from storytime for toddlers to tax workshops for retirees can be found on the library’s website.

Wilton Library has one in-person, but outdoor, event planned for this Saturday, May 8, to welcome new residents to town. The library is inviting new residents to an ice cream social.

The College Creamery ice cream truck will be in the library parking lot from 12:30-2:30 p.m. where any member of the community can enjoy a free, individually-wrapped ice cream bar (while supplies last) courtesy of the Wilton Library’s Board of Trustees and through the generosity of Kim and Mike Healy.

The library’s drive-thru window is open with its usual schedule (weekdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.) for patrons to pick up materials they have reserved.

Of course, the Digital Library is always available for Wilton Library cardholders, with a vast collection of eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines, along with streaming movies, TV shows, and music.

If you’re new to Wilton (or just new to the library), you can register for a library card online or at the circulation desk.

Work on the Brubeck Room Collection (the archives of the late jazz legend and Wilton resident, Dave Brubeck) is also ongoing, Crystal said.

For more information, visit the Wilton Library website or contact the following departments: Adult Services at 203.762.6350; Teen Services at 203.762.6342; or Children’s Library 203.762.6336. The Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Rd.

Wilton Historical Society

The Wilton Historical Society’s website says it all.

“Welcome back friends and neighbors! We are so pleased to re-open our doors to you!”

That means exhibition galleries are open to the public. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Betts Store Museum Shop is also open.

Historical Society co-director Kim Mellin told GMW about one “hands-on” exception: Grandma’s Kitchen (from the “Just Like Grandma Used to Make: A Hands-on Experience of 300 Years of Kitchen History” exhibition) is not open.

One exhibit going on now is “Remembering Dave: A Brubeck Family Album” which will be open through July 31. Admission is free for members and children, $10 for non-member adults.

The Society is proud of its readiness for the public to return, and even consulted with Dr. Sten Vermund, dean of the Yale School of Public Health and renowned infectious disease expert, about its planning and precautions.

Masks and proper social distancing are required.

Small group, guided tours are once again available. Educational programs for school (as well as homeschool) and scout groups can also be arranged by email or by calling 203.762.7257.

As part of its mission to “shine a light on the making and meaning of history through Wilton’s stories and historic preservation,” the Historical Society is conducting “History Now: COVID-19,” a three-part project aimed at documenting this unprecedented time in history.

For organizations like the Historical Society, the pandemic has had a tremendous impact on fundraising. The Society has planned the first of three virtual fundraising events for next Wednesday, May 12, called “Objects of Desire: Sip + Support Winetasting with ‘Dr. Vino’ Tyler Colman and Parlor Pizza.”

Tickets can be purchased on the Historical Society’s website and will include a one-hour Zoom tasting event, two bottles of wine (one red and one white from a limited production, Piedmont vineyard) and two Parlor pizzas for pickup.

Sip + Support will be followed by two more events in the Objects of Desire fundraising campaign: Shop + Support” will be an online auction of items for the home and garden, and “Sweet + Support” will be a raffle for the coveted Rise Donuts.

For more information, visit the Wilton Historical Society website or call 203.762.7257. The Wilton Historical Society is located at 224 Danbury Rd.

Wilton YMCA

As one of the most widely-used facilities in the area, and with gyms particularly restricted due to COVID-19, the Wilton Y’s daily operations have had to change dramatically as the pandemic has unfolded.

The Y’s hours are back to a “normal” schedule: weekdays 5:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Saturday 6 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Michelle Wishna, the Y’s membership director, told GMW, “We’re excited restrictions are slowly lifting and looking forward to even more members returning this spring [and] summer.”

According to Wishna, the Y has recently increased capacity limits:  25 members are now allowed in the fitness center, 20 members in group fitness classes in the gymnasium, and 10–12 members in the studio classes.

Wishna also said temperature checks are no longer conducted upon arrival.

Reservations are still required for many activities, such as the fitness center, group exercise classes, lap swim, basketball and pickleball. Check the Y’s website for more reservation information.

Masks are still required (for ages 3 and older) at all times, regardless of vaccination status and even while working out. Swimmers should wear masks immediately before and after using the pool.

The Y is continuing to offer members virtual fitness programs. These include live-streaming of some classes as well as on-demand, prerecorded classes.

The Y will continue its long tradition of summer camp with Camp Gordyland again this year. But compared to non-COVID years, camp group sizes will be limited and children will stay with cohorts or pods.

Registration is open for a number of camp programs set on the Y’s 22-acre property making good use of the Y’s pools, pond, mini-golf course, ropes course, climbing wall, ball fields, fishing area, archery range and more.

Wishna reported that “camp is filling up, it’s already 90% full.”

For more information, visit the Wilton YMCA website or call 203.762.8384. The Wilton YMCA is located at 404 Danbury Rd.