Virus Updates: Churches Can Open May 30; Goddard Park Now Open

by | May 18, 2020

Gov. Raimondo also to let East Matunuck and Scarborough beaches open on Memorial Day

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Deaths topped 500 in Rhode Island Monday, with 7 new deaths for a total of 506 two months after the first death took place. There were 121 new COVID-19 cases Monday, for a total 12,795. The number of hospitalizations dropped to 236, with 62 people in intensive care and, of those, 46 are on ventilators. You can find all the most recent data on the Dept. of Health’s data dashboard HERE.

East Matunuck, above, and Scarborough state beaches will open Monday, May 25.

Gov. Gina Raimondo had a grab bag of announcements at her regular COVID-19 press conference Monday afternoon, including that houses of worship can open May 30; two state beaches will open on Memorial Day – East Matunuck and Scarborough; Goddard Park is now open; and hair salons and barbershops look to be able to reopen by early June.

With houses of worship, the guidelines will be available later this week on the website HERE. Raimondo’s action follows the Massachusetts outline of how houses of worship will reopen there. The May 30 date allows Christian churches to hold services on Pentecost, one of high holy days in the Christian calendar, if they choose.

The decision to open two state beaches comes a little earlier than expected. Just last week, Raimondo said beaches would not open until after Memorial Day weekend. The Dept. of Environmental Management will limit parking capacity at the two beaches and while there will be staff on hand, there will be no lifeguards and pavilions and concessions will be closed. Because of the limited services, there will be no fees at those beaches for now.

“My expectation is that in Phase 2 – which we hope will be in early June – all state beaches will be fully staffed, and pavilions and concessions will be open,” Raimondo said in a press release later Monday.

Raimondo also said all state parks are now open, including Goddard Park. We are checking on whether or not the beach at Goddard Park is open. We will update as soon as we hear from DEM.

Finally, Raimondo said Rhode Island was working with Connecticut on a plan to reopen hair salons and barber shops in early June.  

“It’s my hope and expectation that we’ll be able to get them up and running as soon as we enter Phase 2,” she said.

Finger’s crossed.

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