CHARLESTOWN — As neighboring cities opened their seashores, Charlestown opened its two city seashores and Ninigret Park this morning.
The openings had been finished quietly — and with a level of trepidation.
The 2 state-run seashores, East Seaside and Quonochontaug, together with the boat launch, will stay closed.
Blue Shutters, Charlestown Seaside and Little Nini pond are absolutely staffed and restrooms are open, however there can be fewer parking areas, and coronavirus protocols, similar to social distancing, can be enforced.
City Council President Virginia Lee mentioned she trusted that beachgoers can be cautious and respectful.
“I’m sure people will be respectful of one another’s health,” she mentioned. “I know that the lifeguards have been all hired and trained and the police are doubling up, so the town is well-prepared for this. And, it’s wise to see how it goes.”
City Administrator Mark Stankiewicz mentioned the city had mustered its whole police division in addition to Parks and Recreation employees. All city workers interacting with the general public can be carrying masks.
“We will have extra officers on duty, we’ll have full staff available from Parks and Rec and we’re going to, of course, position informational signs, sandwich boards, posting rules, social distancing, all that other stuff,” he mentioned. “We’ve also configured the credit cards, so that way, you don’t have to punch in your number, you just slide your credit card, so people don’t have to touch anything.”
One challenge for Charlestown’s seashores, Stankiewicz mentioned, is their accessibility. With Misquamicut State Seaside nonetheless closed, there was a priority that Charlestown Seaside is perhaps overwhelmed with guests.
“The beach layout and the lack of being able to secure the border, so to speak, it’s a little more tricky for us than other communities, because you can walk into the community. You can walk along the shoreline. It’s not as if it’s limited access.” he mentioned.
Then there’s the problem of individuals’s conduct as soon as they get to the seashore.
“We’re all worried about our ability to enforce social distancing, and quite frankly, that’s going to be very challenging because there are exceptions; family members, those types of things,” Stankiewicz mentioned.
Charlestown Emergency Administration Director Kevin Gallup mentioned he understood why folks can be anxious to get outdoors and benefit from the seashores.
“I hope it goes well, but everybody’s fuses are short, everybody is aggravated by the whole situation. Hopefully we can do do this in a safe manner and everybody can benefit,” he mentioned.
Officers had been respiration a collective sigh of aid with Saturday’s climate forecast calling for clouds and rain, which was anticipated to maintain the crowds away.
“I am confident that we can do this well, and the weather will cooperate, I think, to dampen huge attendance on Saturday,” Lee mentioned. “It’s presupposed to be cloudy at the very least. So it’s a great way to have a trial run, see the way it goes. If all of it goes effectively and individuals are respectful of each other, then we’ll keep open. If it doesn’t go effectively, we’ll shut them down.”