The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing that it has closed the snack bar at Scarborough South State Beach in Narragansett after learning that an employee tested positive for the coronavirus.

The vendor that runs food concessions at state beaches notified DEM about the positive test result at 1:30 PM today and called the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) for guidance. RIDOH is investigating and will conduct contact tracing. The snack bar has plexiglass shields at the point of purchase and follows all CDC and RIDOH protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including employees wearing face masks and daily cleaning and disinfecting. The concession stand will remain closed until DEM has deep cleaned and disinfected it.

The employee testing positive last worked at the snack bar July 24. Because of health-care confidentiality laws, DEM will not release the employee’s name, gender, age, or hometown. RIDOH closed Scarborough South State Beach from July 21 until July 23 because of high bacteria levels. The beach reopened July 24.

As part of a multi-pronged effort to reduce risk of spread of COVID-19 and prevent crowds, DEM has limited parking at Scarborough, one of the most popular large state beaches, by 75%. Working with RIDOH, DEM also has been giving away masks to beach goers and is using signage and social media messages to encourage adherence to physical distancing and mask wearing.

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