In a typical summer, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are popular tourist destinations, and a big reason for that is their miles of beautiful coastline and beaches.
But this year, due to the ongoing pandemic, both states have a number of restrictions in place in order to reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Here’s a breakdown of the rules and regulations currently in place in both states:
When Phase 3 began at the end of June, Gov. Gina Raimondo put new travel restrictions in place, which included a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone coming into Rhode Island from a state with a positivity rate of 5% or higher. A running list of those states can be found here, which is updated weekly and currently consists of 32 states and Puerto Rico.
Anyone who can show they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours is exempt. Travelers, even if asymptomatic, can sign up for a free test here.
If you get tested after entering Rhode Island, the state asks that you quarantine until you receive your results.
Starting on Sunday, anyone from those states who checks in at a hotel or rental property will need to sign a certificate of compliance stating they have had a negative test result or intend to quarantine.
The following people are also exempt from the restrictions, according to Raimondo’s office:
- Public health, public safety or healthcare workers
- People traveling for medical treatment
- Traveling to attend a funeral or memorial service
- Obtaining necessities such as groceries, gas or medication
- Dropping off or picking up children from day care and summer camps
- Anyone who must work on their boat
As of August 4, Rhode Islanders are no longer exempt from the travel orders in place in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey due to increases in the state’s positive test rate and cases per 100,000.
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Beginning August 1, anyone entering Massachusetts (visitors and returning residents alike) from a state considered “high-risk” for COVID-19 has to fill out a travel form and self-quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative test result.
Those found to be in violation of the order could be fined $500 per day.
There are exemptions, which include people traveling from one of six “lower-risk states” – most of New England, New York, New Jersey and Hawaii – along with people commuting to work or school, people receiving specialized medical treatment, and military personnel.
However, workers or students who travel out-of-state for personal or leisure reasons cannot rely on that exemption, according to Massachusetts officials.
Rhode Island was removed from that list on Tuesday, August 4, due to increases in the state’s positive test rate and cases per 100,000.
COVID-19 Travel Order: List of requirements and exemptions »
To be considered lower-risk, a state’s average daily cases must be below six per 100,000 people and the positive test rate has to be below 5%. The Mass. Department of Public Health will continue to update the list based on public health data.
Visit Mass.gov or text “MATraveler” to 888-777 for more information.
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The parking lots at state beaches are currently limited to 75% capacity with the exception of Misquamicut and Scarborough, which are capped at 25% due to recurring reports of overcrowding.
Real-time parking information is posted on RIParks.com.
Beachgoers must maintain at least six feet of distance from other household groups, which should be limited to 15 people.
Visitors should also have a face covering handy and wear it when in the vicinity of others, such as in the restrooms or at the snack bar.
And if you feel sick – stay home.
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All state beaches are open to the public but may have reduced parking areas to limit crowds.
“Beach blanket groups” should be no larger than 10 people and spaced at least 12 feet apart, while visitors are required to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between other beachgoers.
Picnic areas should be closed if adequate social distancing cannot be maintained, and shuttle services to the beach may operate at 50% capacity.
Face coverings are required but should not be worn while swimming.