Plan for some parks to reopen, hospitals to begin elective surgeries again

PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) – Some parks are set to reopen as early as May 9 if the state’s COVID-19 cases continue to plateau or even decrease, according to Governor Gina Riamondo.

Raimondo announced the reopening of parks is part of the state’s Phase 1 reopening plan.

DEM hopes to reopen all parks by the end of May.  A second phase will involve the saltwater beaches.

Park visitors should keep to recreation activities such as walking, hiking, biking and avoid games and activities that require close contact, such as basketball, football, or soccer.

DEM also asks park visitors to follow social distancing practices and maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.

The following parks are likely to open when the first phase of reopening begins:

  • Beavertail State Park, Jamestown*
  • Black Regiment Monument, Portsmouth
  • Burlingame State Park, Charlestown*
  • Cocumcussoc Park, North Kingstown
  • Fort Adams State Park, Newport*
  • Fort Wetherill State Park, Jamestown*
  • Haines Memorial State Park, East Providence
  • John H. Chafee Nature Preserve, North Kingstown
  • J.L. Curran State Park, Cranston
  • Lehigh High Grove, Portsmouth
  • Lincoln Woods State Park, Lincoln
  • Meshanticut State Park, Cranston
  • Pulaski State Park, Glocester*
  • Purgatory Chasm, Middletown
  • Snake Den State Park, Johnston

DEM will be staggering park openings, reducing the size of parking areas, and restricting hours of operation and activities to prevent crowds.

Please note that public restrooms in parks will remain closed in Phase 1.  Porta johns may be available in some locations. Most indoor spaces including visitor centers, nature centers, and historic houses will remain closed.

Boat launch sites are open where conditions allow.  All campsites, cabins and pavilions/shelters are closed through May 31 and DEM has suspended all new camping reservations for the 2020 season until further notice.  All visitors with reservations through May 31 will be issued a full refund.

The Governor also set a target date of June 1 for the child care centers to reopen. Raimondo says she asked providers to submit their plans to the Department of Human Services by May 22. In order for the centers to reopen they will have to operate under new restrictions such as limitations on group sizes, and temperature screenings, she said.

On the note of hospitals reopening for non-critical procedures, Raimondo said that hospitals have submitted their plans and they are now being finalized. She added that elective procedures could start happening again either next week or the week after.

The Executive Chief of Medicine for Care New England (CNE), Dr. Raymond Powrie, said CNE facilities are gearing up for the return of elective surgeries.

“We have made immense strides in the past six weeks in terms of making hospitals safer than they’ve ever been. We screen every employee who comes in– checking for symptoms of COVID– checking their temperature,” said Dr. Powrie.

He said patients who come in for non-emergency procedures will also have their temperature checked and have to wear a face cover.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island