The state of Rhode Island continues to work to discourage Connecticut and Massachusetts residents from visiting its beaches in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus, according to the state's Department of Environmental Management.
The state, which announced the request of Connecticut residents prior to last weekend, continues to limit parking at Misquamicut and Scarborough state beaches.
“By keeping crowds down and allowing for physical distancing on the sand, we are trying to protect public health and safety – in Rhode Island and other states,” said Janet Coit, director of the Department of Environmental Management. “We also are trying to help our beach communities alleviate the heavy traffic that they have been experiencing this summer.”
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Rhode Island made the announcement with temperatures this weekend again expected to be in the 90's.
Misquamicut is known to attract large amounts of out-of-staters, particularly from Connecticut, according to an economic impact study done by the University of Rhode Island in 2016. The same study found that overall almost half of visitors to Rhode Island beaches come from out of the state.
Environmental police officers will be at the entry booths of state beaches again this week. They will be coordinating with the state police to close parking lot entrances when they are full and to prevent illegal street parking near the beaches.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management said in June they saw a 79% increase in visitors to their beaches from the same time last year, and that few beachgoers are wearing masks. By reducing parking capacity and asking out-of-state visitors to reconsider a trip, state officials hope to keep the crowds to a more reasonable size.
"As we've seen on recent weekends, crowds at the beaches have been too large and tightly packed, especially at high tide. At the same time, we recognize that fighting COVID by limiting parking strains the resources of the local beach communities that are our partners," Dean Hoxsie, Chief of DEM's Division of Law Enforcement (DLE) said.