PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that four Rhode Island state campgrounds are now open to visitors with new restrictions and procedures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. DEM's Division of Parks and Recreation recognizes the value of spending time in nature and is committed to ensuring visitors enjoy safe and memorable experiences at state campgrounds.
"We know campers are eager to get outdoors during the warmer weather and we are just as excited to welcome visitors back to state campgrounds," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "We have implemented new procedures to support a safe, accessible return to camping while supporting physical distancing standards. This year, we're asking campers to take additional steps to protect themselves, their families, and the people around them so everyone can safely enjoy the camping season."
The following State Campgrounds are now open daily:
• Burlingame State Campground, Charlestown
• Charlestown Breachway, Charlestown
• Fishermen's Memorial Campground, Narragansett
• George Washington Memorial Campground, Glocester
The campground at East Beach in Charlestown will not open this year. East Beach has only 20 campsites that are mostly reserved by non-residents. The Reopening RI guidance would have decreased the number of campsites to 10. DEM made the decision that staffing and monitoring just 10 campsites 24/7 does not make financial or practical sense.
In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, DEM has implemented new procedures to protect staff and visitor health and support a safe, accessible return to camping. In accordance with ReopeningRI guidance, DEM assessed the layout of each campground and has set limits on the number of campsites available for reservation to create more room between campsites so campers can maintain physical distancing from others. DEM's Division of Parks and Recreation has reviewed all campsites within the five campgrounds it operates and removed those sites that did not meet the spacing requirements.
DEM has notified campers with reservations at campsites that have been closed and worked to find alternative sites for all campers affected by these closures. DEM state campgrounds are popular destinations, and many are fully booked, particularly during peak times. The Department is providing a full refund to those campers who we are unable to accommodate. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Travel: If you are coming to Rhode Island from one of the states listed here with a positivity rate of COVID-19 greater than 5%, you will either have to self-quarantine for 14 days while in Rhode Island, or produce proof of a negative test for COVID-19 that was taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Rhode Island. If you receive a test after arriving in Rhode Island and get a negative test result, you can stop quarantining. Please note that you cannot quarantine at a Rhode Island state campground.
Campers Must Abide by Rules Regarding Social Distancing, Group Size to Safely Enjoy the Outdoors
DEM understands that this is a unique season and the camping experience will be different. The COVID-19 emergency has required us to implement new procedures to protect staff and visitor health and safety. Whether at check-in or at the camping site, campers will be required to follow social distancing guidelines and remain at least six feet from others outside their household. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, here are a few of the changes that campers will experience:
• The check-in process may be different as we explore contact-free procedures. Please watch for more information as your reservation date nears.
• Bathrooms will have occupancy limits and markings to promote physical distancing.
• All campers must wear a mask in communal spaces, such as camp stores, restrooms, and camp offices.
• Only six people may camp on one campsite. All campers' names must be accurately reported upon check-in. This policy will be strictly enforced.
• Campers will not be allowed to have visitors at the campground as we limit the total number of people in campgrounds to allow campers more space for physical distancing.
While enjoying outdoor spaces, residents must continue to follow the CDC and RI Department of Health guidelines for preventing the spread COVID-19:
• If you're not feeling well, stay home! Signs and symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
• Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet of distance between yourself and others, even when outdoors.
• For the safety of all visitors, please have a face covering with you and wear it in public areas and if you are within 6 feet of another person who is outside your household. The only exceptions from these rules are for people with disabilities, anyone whose health would be in jeopardy because of wearing a face covering, or any children under 2 years old.
• Avoid close contact with others outside your household, such as shaking hands, hugging, or high-fives.
• Bring and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces that are often touched, such as doorknobs and handrails.
DEM advises everyone to follow guidance about COVID-19 from Governor Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Health. More information about COVID-19 and Rhode Island's response can be found here: https://health.ri.gov/diseases/ncov2019/
For outdoor recreation updates, visit http://riparks.com/covid19
For updates on For information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.