Bristol 4th of July parade committee rushes to comply with governor’s new guidelines
BRISTOL, R.I. (WLNE) – On Monday, Governor Gina Raimondo announced new guidance for reopening Rhode Island in Phase 3.
She announced gathering sizes will be much smaller in Phase 3 than she originally said last week. Initially, she said outdoor events could have an unlimited number of people.
However, with the rising number of coronavirus cases around the country, the governor changed that plan, and announced outdoor events can have a maximum of 250 people in Phase 3.
These events include 4th of July celebrations like parades and fireworks.
“Someone said to me, ‘Are you worried about 4th of July?’ Absolutely. Yes. I am worried about 4th of July,” said Raimondo at Monday’s press briefing.
This updated information has left the Bristol Fourth of July Committee scrambling to comply with the new guidance, with just days left until the parade.
“Everything seems to change from day to day,” said Judy Squires of the Bristol Fourth of July Committee.
Events that expect more than 250 people, like the parade, must have a safety plan submitted to the state for approval.
“Everything is changing. I just got an email that I have to fill out a report on how we’re going to do patriotic exercises and it has to go to the state to be approved. And here we are, it’s Monday, and we have patriotic exercises on Saturday,” said Squires.
To conform to the new guidelines, the committee plans on changing the parade to a drive-by procession, so no one will be walking along the route this year.
Roughly 60 cars and flatbeds will drive parade participants around the route.
In accordance with state guidelines, all parade participants and attendees must wear a face mask. The town will also hand out masks to those who need them.
Police will be on hand to enforce mask wearing and social distancing.
The parade and patriotic exercises will be live streamed to encourage people to watch from home.
“Let’s do the right thing. Let’s show an example to the town that we can do it safely and have a good time,” said Chuck MacDonough, with the Bristol 4th of July Committee.
All plans must be approved by the Department of Business Regulation before they can be fulfilled.
The fireworks have been moved to August, 29th.