Rhode Island communities unveil plans for beach openings

Saint Thomas Catholic Church in Providence is seen in this March 31, 2020 photo. File photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — With two state-run beaches about to reopen in time for Memorial Day, some Rhode Island communities are making plans to open municipally-run beaches that were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Newport is planning to open Easton’s Beach on or around June 4, City Manager Joseph Nicholson told the City Council during its weekly COVID-19 update Tuesday.

A reopening plan had been in the works and that plan fell in line with the state guidelines regarding beaches, Nicholson said according to The Newport Daily News.

Under that plan, parking capacity for the month of June would be capped at 33% and no bathrooms or showers will be available at first.

Third Beach’s boat ramp and parking areas have been closed to the public since early April, but people are still allowed to walk on the beach.

Gov. Gina Raimondo announced this week that East Matunuck Beach in South Kingstown and Scarborough Beach in Narragansett will be open with free but limited parking starting Monday.

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MASS RESUMES MAY 30

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence announced Wednesday that churches can resume in-person Mass again on May 30, with restrictions in place to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.

Those restrictions include hand sanitizing immediately upon entering a church; the wearing of masks except when receiving communion; and appropriate social distancing in the pews.

Bishop Thomas Tobin said in a statement that Catholics are still allowed to miss in-person Mass until further notice if they feel their health is at risk.

Public Masses were suspended on March 17 in response to the pandemic.

“The reopening of our churches for public worship, even with the necessary restrictions, is a moment of grace for all of us,” Tobin said.

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HELP FOR GRIEVING FAMILIES

Rhode Island families struggling with the loss of a loved one to COVID-19 have a new resource for assistance.

The American Red Cross in Rhode Island on Wednesday announced the launch of a Virtual Family Assistance Center that offers special virtual programs, information, referrals and services to support grieving families. The Red Cross’ virtual team includes specially trained mental health, spiritual care and health services volunteers.

The grief of losing a loved one is often made worse by a bereavement process complicated by coronavirus-related restrictions, the organization said.

The program can be reached either online or by phone.