Virus Revolt? RI Beach Town Considers Ignoring Restrictions

Gov. Raimondo warned that Narragansett's proposal was a "huge mistake" and isn't based in science or any public health recommendations

Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett
David Goldman/AP, File

A popular Rhode Island beach town is considering openly ignoring the state's coronavirus restrictions as the traditional Memorial Day start of the summer season approaches, but Gov. Gina Raimondo warns the move would be "selfish" and "reckless."

Narragansett Town Council President Matthew Mannix has proposed a resolution allowing the police department and other local law enforcement agencies to "exercise their discretion" and not assess fines or violations to Raimondo's virus-related executive orders, which include limiting gatherings to no more than five people.

The non-partisan town council is slated to vote Monday on the proposal, which says the governor's social and economic mandates have had a negative impact on "the First Amendment right to worship, the "constitutionally recognized right to travel" and "our free enterprise economy."

Raimondo, a Democrat, warned Friday that the proposal was a "huge mistake" and isn't based in science or any public health recommendations.

"It's so selfish to all the people of Rhode Island who have worked so hard for so long, putting their lives on hold so that we can all be safe," she said Friday. "That is a reckless thing to do and I really hope they don't do it."

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced that restaurants will be allowed to offer outdoor dining on May 18.

Mannix didn't respond to an email seeking comment.

Public beaches and swimming areas remain closed and the Raimondo administration says it's still developing plans for how to address the summer tourist season.

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