Ahead of what would have normally been one of the busiest weekends of the summer, the City of Newport today announced it is again taking steps to increase its COVID-19 related enforcement measures.
Historically, the last weekend in July has marked the kickoff to the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals, with the City welcoming tens of thousands of music fans to historic Fort Adams and Newport Harbor. And while this year’s festivals have gone virtual, City officials say that they are still preparing for an influx of visitors that is expected to quickly fill up the City’s downtown shopping district, harbor, and beaches.
Once again, City staff and volunteers will be out in force distributing disposable face masks at various points throughout the City this weekend, while additional trash cans and litter patrols have been put in place to crack down on an uptick in trash left on City sidewalks.
Meanwhile, beach staff will be strictly enforcing social distancing requirements at Easton’s Beach and drone and police patrols can be expected at Bailey’s Beach East, commonly known as Reject’s Beach.
Newport Harbor, which continues to attract vessels from ports near and far, will also see stepped up patrols for boaters violating the City’s No Wake Zones and other operator violations. And for those visiting for the weekend, Zoning officials will be monitoring for violations related to the City’s short-term rental regulations and cracking down on crowds that exceed the Governor’s Executive Order on mass gatherings which currently prohibit groups of 15 or more/
Police and other City personnel will be paying particular attention to individuals who are not wearing face coverings while in public, the City writes in a press release.
The City’s face mask requirement will be reinforced across the City through signage, public announcements, and public safety personnel who will be on hand throughout the weekend. Police will be patrolling not only Easton’s Beach, but also Bailey’s Beach East, the Cliff Walk, and the downtown corridor to monitor for individuals who are not abiding by State and Local COVID-19 related guidelines.
City officials are also advising that all travelers and residents must follow all City and State guidelines while visiting Newport, including adhering to the Governor’s mandatory quarantine order for travelers visiting from states with high infection rates, including but not limited to:
· South Carolina
· North Carolina
· And 20 other states plus Puerto Rico
As a reminder, face masks are required while in Newport’s downtown commercial district between the hours of 12 p.m. and 10 p.m. Visitors to the Cliff Walk are also required to wear masks when social distancing is not possible and police will be taking notice.
Restaurant and bar owners are also being asked to ensure strict compliance with all relevant State health guidelines to ensure a safe dining environment for their patrons and employees.
All those visiting Easton’s Beach will be urged to be mindful of social distancing rules and to wear a face mask while walking to and from their vehicles or while visiting the snack bar and restrooms.
Because the beach is still operating at a reduced capacity, beachgoers are also advised to plan to arrive to early as parking will be limited. Parking lots will be open and lifeguards on staff from 8 a.m., with gates be locked promptly at 9 p.m.
If you plan to use picnic tables, the City asks that you please bring your own table covering or sanitizing wipes and be mindful of those around you.
For the time being, the carousel, Save the Bay Aquarium and showers remain closed. Access to the Easton’s Beach playground and Rotunda Ballroom will also be off-limits.
For those traveling to the beach by car, daily parking rates for the weekend will be set at $25 per car on Saturday and Sunday. Parking fees will be collected by debit or credit card only through the City’s new contactless electronic ticket machines.