Updated: Tuesday, June 30, 2020
At Frosty Drew Observatory we recognize the risks associated with the novel (new) coronavirus in the general area. We offer an educational, scientific service to the public with an overall message of hope. We believe that during this difficult and rapidly changing situation we can take solace in the cosmos, the night sky, and the natural world. We are also a science based organization, and will approach this situation with the same adherence to science that we exercise with all of our decisions. This is part of our basis for the actions we have taken to date. During the month of March 2020, the RI Office of the Governor enacted a series of executive orders that restrict public gatherings, with an additional executive order issued on March 28, 2020 that resulted in park closures across the state, as well as non-critical businesses (to our dismay and embarrassment firearms stores are considered "critical retail businesses" in RI). This resulted in the suspension of all publicly accessible onsite events including our Friday Stargazing Nights event.
In late May, 2020, Rhode Island began a phased reopening of the state. This approach will allow for specific benchmarks to be met, as well as close monitoring of the state's current status regarding the novel coronavirus. Phase I was implemented prior to Memorial Day weekend, which allowed for limited openings.
Limited access is currently granted to Ninigret Park and the Frosty Drew campus:
Starting on Saturday, May 23, 2020, Ninigret Park (home to the Frosty Drew campus) has been reopened to limited public access. This will allow visitors to gain access to observe the night sky from the Frosty Drew campus as well. This is not a green light to go back to normal! RI regulations regarding these limited reopenings must be adhered to. What this means:
As RI slowly reopens it is important to make an acceptable effort to follow current stipulations and mandates. If visitors are not in compliance, the park will likely be returned to a closed state and access for everybody will be denied. Additionally, it is not the responsibility of our astronomers, who are working, to manage visitors to the campus on nights that we are closed. If our astronomers feel that you are not reasonably complying with the requirements listed above, or are not co-operatively responding to their direction, you will be required to leave, immediately.
On June 30, 2020, Rhode Island commenced Phase III of the state's phased reopening plan. This alongside the May 23, 2020 reopening of Ninigret Park (home to the Frosty Drew campus) has allowed for Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center to expand our reopening plans and preparations.
Onsite events are happening and will continue in a limited fashion, if weather is acceptable.
At this time, we are modifying our Stargazing Nights event in the following ways:
All visitors are expected to adhere to the following behavioral requirements and guidelines:
We understand that these are significant changes and we share your frustrations. Though this is us working on a feasible plan to reopen in a manner that is accessible to all. We are frequently reading updates to Rhode Island regulations and how they apply to Frosty Drew. These updates are critical to our planning and will enable us to further ease on site restrictions. Additionally, the response we receive from our visitors and the general public will serve as an important indicator of where we stand and the direction we can take. We thank you for your understanding and for sticking with us through the global pandemic.
We understand that to many this may appear either ridiculous or not stringent enough. Regardless of your personal feelings, we need to maintain a reasonable adherence to regulations, as well as to being kind. We will not, under any circumstance, tolerate any discrimination in regards to this novel coronavirus on the Frosty Drew campus!. If you are unable to keep your personal views to yourself about how others are conducting themselves, then do not visit the Frosty Drew campus until you are able to restrain yourself. Any visitor that engages in discriminative behavior towards another visitor or team member will be required to leave, immediately!
Regarding restroom facility access, please note the following:
We need to stay compliant with RI state requirements in regards to the novel coronavirus. This will certainly disrupt our regular restroom availability. Restroom facility access will be limited to one gender neutral restroom and will require stringent adherence to posted information. Facilitation of restroom access will happen in concert with our Science Center access plan. If we are experiencing problems, misuse, theft of items, or concerns with our restroom and restroom access policy, we will discontinue allowing restroom access. Only ticket holding visitors will be granted restroom access. Restroom facility access will not be available on nights that we are closed, regardless if Frosty Drew astronomers are present.
We have added a section to our Visiting the Observatory page that speaks to Health and Wellness. This section was added on March 3, 2020. We ask that any potential visitor who is experiencing symptoms of any contagion (cough, fever, shortness of breath, etc) to stay home and postpone your visit. Being outside under the stars is fabulous and healthy, but if you are already experiencing symptoms of illness, exposure to the outdoors and the environment at Frosty Drew Observatory will not make you feel better. On the contrary, exposure will exacerbate your existing symptoms, which will make you more likely to transmit the contagion to others, including our team members. Frosty Drew Observatory will be here when you get better and our team members will be happy to see you well.
Lastly, it is your responsibility to keep yourself healthy and to keep your contagions away from others, whether you realize you have them or not. If you are concerned about vulnerabilities you may have to the novel coronavirus or any other contagion, then you need to evaluate the risk you expose to yourself by visiting Frosty Drew Observatory. Additionally, if you are concerned that you may be carrying a contagion, then you need to evaluate the risk you pose to others who may be more vulnerable than you. By modifying our events, we are attempting to stop the spread of any contagion among visitors at Frosty Drew Observatory, while continuing to offer whatever escape we can from our daily stresses to a place where we can reach for the stars.
As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we will post updates to our plan as they happen. For now, thank you for your understanding, stay positive, and restrict your readings on the novel coronavirus to the CDC, WHO, State Health Departments, and stay away from false information – which is just as dangerous as any contagion currently effecting our region.
This notice supersedes all other documents that may be in conflict regarding visiting the Frosty Drew campus until such time as we can remove this notice.