Raimondo increases parking capacity at state beaches, remains the same for parks

If you're looking to head to the beach this weekend there will be more parking.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) –  If you’re looking to head to the beach this weekend there will be more parking.

Governor Gina Raimondo announced Wednesday they will be increasing capacity in the parking lots at state
beaches from 50 percent to 75 percent capacity.

“What we found was we had half the lots but some of the biggest crowds we’d seen in a long time,” said DEM Public Affairs Office Mike Healey. “So people worked around it by getting dropped off or piling more people into a car.”

As for state parks, their 60 percent capacity limit for parking lots will remain the same for now.

Many of the state beaches, and Lincoln Woods State Park had to shut down early last weekend because there wasn’t enough space.

Signs cover the beach at Lincoln Woods to remind you to keep your distance from those you don’t know.

Families say they’re doing their best to avoid crowds at all outdoor spaces.

“If it looks too busy, then that’s not where we go for that day,” said Lincoln resident Sarah Brown. “Kind of try to keep away
from the crowds as much as possible.”

Wednesday the beach at Lincoln Woods only had a few dozen people on it. But locals say things tend to change on the weekends, including this past Father’s Day weekend when the park had to shut down early in the day because they had reached capacity limits.

It was a similar scene at beaches in South County.

“Very hard because we usually have to park down all the way over there and walk for a long time just to get to the beach,” described Woonsocket resident Brihanna Brown of a typically crowded day. “And then we have to wait 15 minutes to get on to the beach.”

“I was all the way in the corner and I barely had the six feet,” said Pawtucket resident Bryan Lopez, who was at Lincoln Woods this past weekend.

Sarah brown tells ABC 6 she brings her kids here all the time but only during the week.

“I wasn’t here this past weekend but I heard it was very busy,” said Brown. “I only ever come on the weekdays for that very reason.”

Governor Raimondo also said she was slightly nervous to possibly allow more people to gather  at the beaches. She said she would be monitoring things each weekend.

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