Above: Beavertail State Park in Jamestown.
More on Raimondo’s reasoning for cancelling large summer events while still in April
By Elizabeth F. McNamara
There were 341 new COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing the total number of Rhode Island confirmed cases to 8,962. There were 13 new deaths; to date, 279 people have died in the state. The daily test number was 2,938; so far the state has conducted 66,648 tests. The number of people in the hospital was up slightly over Thursday (to 352) but the number of people in the ICU (76) and on ventilators (51) were both down. East Greenwich now has 44 confirmed COVID-19 cases, ranking 17th per capita. Find the Dept. of Health’s data dashboard HERE.
Gov. Gina Raimondo said a number of state parks would reopen, including Beavertail in Jamestown and Lincoln Woods in Lincoln, on May 9, albeit with fewer parking spaces reduce crowding. Goddard Park is not on that list, presumably because of the beach there. State beaches will not reopen until the end of May at the earliest. “One of the best things about Rhode Island are our parks and beaches,” Raimondo said during her daily press briefing at the State House Friday. “We’re planning for a phased reopening.”
You will be able to drive to a state park, take a run or walk with people in your small circle but there will be no pickup football and no cookouts. If you pass nearby other people, you will need to make sure you remain at least 6 feet apart.
“Take it easy. Go slow. Test the waters. Gently get back out there,” she said. “In Phase II, we’ll relax some of that guidance.”
As for beaches, she said, “Can we go to the beach this summer? The answer is yes, assuming we continue on this path.” But figuring out how to reopen beaches is more complicated, hence the later reopen date, she said. When asked about social distancing at beaches, Raimondo said people would need to maintain that 6-foot distance, which would mean capacity limits. How that will be implemented and other issues, like procedures around bathrooms – those are questions the governor said the administration would be working on. Find the state park policy HERE.
Raimondo also expanded on comments she made earlier this week, effectively cancelling large festivals, parades and weddings this summer. The governor has been riding high in recent weeks for her handling of the COVID-19 crisis, but after she made those remarks about the summer, there was frustrated grumbling on social media.
EG real estate broker Greg Dantas touched off a lively conversation on his Facebook page when he commented, “Up until April 29, I thought our governor was making responsibly informed decisions managing the crisis. Too soon to cancel summer. Not being up for re-election is no excuse to decimate our already fragile state economy.”
Several people on his page agreed.
When asked Friday for more details about why in late April she cancelled events in July, Raimondo said, “I’d been hearing a lot from organizers of these events. ‘Gov, you’ve got to give us some guidance here. We need to know.’”
Now is the time many event organizers are spending money to make these events happen. She said she didn’t want to have them incur a lot of expenses only to have the events cancelled. She noted Gillette Stadium had cancelled or postponed events through July and that music festivals had been cancelled across the country.
Raimondo encouraged organizers looking for guidance to reach out to her office. For instance, she said, the Bristol Fourth of July Parade cannot happen the way it usually does. But perhaps there’s a way for it to take place in some fashion, since it is after all, the oldest continuing Fourth of July parade in the country.
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