DEM passes out masks at the beach this holiday weekend

South County

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is distributing face masks this weekend to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Cleverly set up next to a Del’s Lemonade stand, RIDEM staff passed out masks to anyone without one this Fourth of July.

“If they don’t have a mask with them, they’ve been taking one,” RIDEM Director Janet Coit. “If they have one with them and they see us, they have been putting it up.”

DEM increased messaging across state beaches, with social distancing guidelines posted at various locations at the beach.

A plane flew over several state beaches carrying a banner that read, “6 feet apart? If not, cover your face.”

Parking lots were allowed up to 75% car capacity to reduce crowding. To help reduce the wait times, an online tool was launched Friday to let visitors know if parking lots are full at five state beaches.

Director Janet Coit says wearing a mask is the civic-minded thing to do, even at the beach.

“We thought why don’t we go to the beach and try to help role model for people and help them learn how to wear a mask in public,” Coit said.

Visitors are asked to buy beach passes in advance to cut down on the lines.

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