Rhode Island

RI to Allow Summer Sports in Phase 3 of Reopening

Only two masked spectators per player will be allowed at games

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Gov. Gina Raimondo has announced no-contact and low-contact youth and adult sports will be allowed in Phase 3 of Rhode Island's economic reopening, which could begin some time next week.

During her Wednesday news conference, Raimondo said sports such as baseball, softball, tennis and golf will be allowed to be played in stable groups of the same players and coaches with no limit on overall group size.

Games will be able to be played between teams within Rhode Island and outside the state as long as there is no stay at home order in the other state, Raimondo said.

Spectators will be allowed at games but no more than two spectators per player and they must wear masks.

The governor said rules for fall interscholastic sports will be detailed later in the summer.

With more and more people heading to Ocean State beaches, the governor said state officials have decided to increase parking capacity to 75% this weekend. Rhode Island State Parks hopes to launch a site this week to help monitor parking so that people don't show up to a beach and find parking is already full.

People are also encouraged to use the Rhode Island State Parks website to buy beach passes to cut down on lines and person-to-person interaction, Raimondo said. Beachgoers are still being asked to wear masks while getting food at the pavillions and while visiting restrooms.

Last weekend, some 40,000 people visited state beaches, according to Raimondo. Park rangers needed to break up large congregations of people, although things were largely peaceful, she said.

Also during Wednesday's news conference, the governor also announced that Saturday will be the last day for rapid testing at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, which is staffed by the Rhode Island National Guard. Because test numbers are down and sites like Twin River were only temporary, the state is moving towards putting testing in the hands of community sites and pharmacies while still partnering with CVS to test at stores.

On Monday, Raimondo said that the state is encouraging all people to get tested, regardless of whether they have symptoms, and that a more comfortable test could help such efforts.

The governor said some 20% of the state's residents had been tested, a percentage she said leads the nation. She said she planned to "lean in" to testing to keep the virus at bay.

The state is currently in Phase 2 of its reopening process, during which the limit on outdoor gatherings is 15 people.

In a COVID-19 update, Gov. Gina Raimondo provides an update on summer camp openings.

As of Wednesday, the state's death toll from the coronavirus reached 912 as health officials announced six additional fatalities. The state has reported 16,606 cases overall.

The governor warned residents that even though Rhode Island's numbers have been improving, the state can't become complacent while pointing to the rising number of cases and hospitalizations in other states.

"If we get complacent we're going to be back in a mess," Raimondo said adding that the state could have to go back to closing the economy if numbers go back up. "Things can change quickly. I don't want that to be us."

Rhode Island is preparing to enter Phase 3 of its reopening plan around June 29.

Last week, Raimondo said that during Phase 3, the state would raise the limits for indoor social gatherings from 50 to 75 people and outdoor social gatherings from 75 to 150 people.

Those attending such events would still have to stay six feet apart from one another, wear cloth face masks, wash their hands frequently and stay home if they are sick, Raimondo said.

While most businesses have already been allowed to reopen in Phase 2, the governor said in Phase 3, "essentially everything will be reopened in some form or fashion."

In the next phase, movie theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, museums and cultural institutions will be able to reopen at 66% capacity or 100 square feet per person, Raimondo said.

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