Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19)

Updated: Wednesday, June 2, 2021

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 and all of our actions are in line with executive orders applicable to the state of Rhode Island.

Ninigret Park and the Frosty Drew campus are Fully Open:

Starting on Monday, May 21, 2021, Ninigret Park (home to the Frosty Drew campus) and the Frosty Drew campus has returned to regular operations. The State of Rhode Island has rolled back most pandemic related mandates, but Frosty Drew has, temporarily, kept some in place. What this means:

  • We ask that all out of state visitors arriving from a location that has high community spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the resulting COVID-19, to not visit for 14 days unless the visitor in question has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, has previously had COVID-19, or a negative result was received from an official COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to travel or after traveling. A list of states has been created that this request applies to. If your state is on the list, then this request applies to you. Please note that this list is always changing, so check it frequently.
  • If you are feeling under the weather and have symptoms of a contagion which do not clear up after taking allergy medication, then please do not visit the Frosty Drew campus until you are feeling better.
  • If visiting one night to observe the stars, photograph the night sky, or to setup a telescope, you must maintain on site social distancing requirements. This includes maintaining a 3'-6' perimeter between you and other visitors that are not in the group you arrived with.

It is not the responsibility of our astronomers, who are working, to manage visitors to the campus on nights that we are closed. As always, access to visitors on these nights is at the discretion of our astronomers on site. If our astronomers feel that you are not reasonably complying or co-operatively responding to their direction, you will be required to leave, immediately.

At this time, we are modifying our onsite events in the following ways:

  • Events will be restricted to up-to 250 visitors concurrently, depending on telescope availability.
  • Visitors may need to have tickets,
    • Not all events will require tickets. The event listing on our events calendar will note if tickets are required.
    • Tickets can be acquired through the event listing on our events calendar for that night. Ticket acquisition links will not be posted until the day of the event, if applicable. Visitors who do not have a ticket, when attending events that require a ticket, will not be granted admission to the Frosty Drew campus.
  • Visitors are permitted to set up their own telescopes, and equipment on or near the Frosty Drew campus in specially designated areas. Any visitor setting up equipment outside of these designated areas will be required to move the equipment.
  • The primary observatory 16" telescope will be open and the observatory building will service 15 visitors at a time. Depending on access restrictions coupled with the number of visitors on site, access to this telescope may not be available for all visitors in attendance. Availability will happen either on a first come - first serve basis, or based on ticket type, if applicable.
  • The Sky Theatre facility will remain closed to the public at this time.
  • The Science Center facility is open.
  • Up-to five telescopes will be setup in the observatory courtyard. Each telescope will be setup in a dedicated quadrant of the courtyard.
  • If weather does not permit an opening, an event cancellation notice will be posted on the day of the event.

All visitors are expected to adhere to the following behavioral requirements and guidelines:

  • We expect visitors to maintain a 3'-6' perimeter around themselves or around the group that they arrived with, when around other visitors and Frosty Drew team members.
  • Face coverings are NOT required to visit the Frosty Drew campus. Visitors with or without face coverings will not be discriminated against!
  • It is never acceptable for visitors attending our events to touch or handle our equipment. This has always been a requirement that visitors must be aware of. Now, it is even more important to understand this requirement. Any visitor that does not follow this requirement will be required to leave. Read and understand the Frosty Drew Equipment Usage Terms of Service!
  • Any visitor that engages in any type of discriminitive behavior towards another visitor or Frosty Drew team member will be required to leave immediately! This means that you need to keep your opinions about how others are conducting themselves to yourself. If you can’t, then don’t visit!
  • Visitors will need to display a reasonable level of patience when encountering these temporary restrictions and changes to our events and availability. Visitors who threaten, yell at, provoke, or otherwise engage in a demeaning, damaging, or hostile posture towards Frosty Drew team members or the Frosty Drew organization will be banned from the Frosty Drew campus for a period of one year, with severe offenders being banned for life. We have published a significant amount of information about visiting. Not adequately researching and preparing for your visit, is not our fault!

Regardless of your personal feelings about the global pandemic, 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!. At Frosty Drew we adhere to, and are compliant with, mandates applicable to RI non-profit organizations, as well as follow the guidance of the RI Department of Health. If that is not acceptable to you, or you are unable to keep your personal feelings 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 masks:

Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center is NOT requiring visitors to wear face coverings at this time. The Frosty Drew campus is a designated "Safe Space" that is free of discrimination of any kind. With that said, it is not our business why a person may or may not be wearing a mask when visiting our campus, and we will not ask why, demean, demand, or kick out a visitor on the sole basis of not wearing a mask. For the same reason that we do not ask why, demean, demand, or kick out a person who requires the use of assistive technology, or is accompanied by a service animal. That is between that person and their doctor. If this poses a concern for you, then please do not visit until you have completed a full vaccination regiment. Regardless, any person who engages in discriminitive behavior towards another person regarding a mask, will be required to leave the campus immediately.

Regarding restroom facility access, please note the following:

Restroom facility access will be limited to one gender neutral restroom and will require adherence to posted information. Only ticket holding visitors will be granted restroom access during events that require tickets. 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 it's a good ethic to keep your contagions reasonably 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 before completing a full vaccination regiment. 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 visiting Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center you are accepting the risks associated with attending events where other people are present. Including the potential to contract illnesses from visitors, Frosty Drew volunteers / staff, mosquitoes, and other possible sources of infection.

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 modify 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.

As this is still an evolving situation, we will post updates to our plan as they happen. For now, thank you for your understanding, and restrict your readings on the novel coronavirus to the 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.

What Happened:

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.

Starting on Saturday, May 23, 2020, Ninigret Park (home to the Frosty Drew campus) was reopened to limited public access. This allowed visitors to gain access to observe the night sky from the Frosty Drew campus as well.

On November 30, 2020, Rhode Island commenced a two week pause of Revised Phase III of the state's phased reopening plan. This pause will further limit Frosty Drew events.