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

Updated: Friday, March 12, 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.

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:

  • In compliance with RI Executive Order 20-95 section 6, all out of state visitors arriving from a location that has high community spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the resulting COVID-19, must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days unless 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 mandate applies to. If this is applies to you, or your state is on the list, then we should not see you on the Frosty Drew campus until restrictions on your community have been lifted, you receive a negative result on an official COVID-19 test, or you have completed a 14-day self quarantine! Please note that this list is always changing, so check it frequently.
  • If visiting one night to observe the stars, photograph the night sky, or to setup a telescope, you must maintain social distancing requirements. This includes maintaining a 6' perimeter between you and other visitors that are not in your immediate household. Additionally, it's advisable to visit with only your immediate household members.

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.

Onsite events are currently happening and will continue in a limited fashion, if weather is acceptable.

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

  • Events will be restricted to up-to 100 visitors, depending on telescope availability.
  • Visitors may need to have tickets,
    • Not all events will require tickets during the months of February - May. 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. Tickets 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.
    • Tickets will be available in groups of 10-20. Each group will have a different time listed. This is the line-up time to check-in at the Greeter's Table during the event. All tickets will grant access to our campus and all ticket holding visitors can stay for the entire length of the event.
  • Visitors will not be permitted to set up their own telescopes, or equipment aside from handheld devices on or near the Frosty Drew campus. Photographic equipment may be permitted onto the campus on a per event basis.
  • The primary observatory 16" telescope will be open and the observatory building will service two visitors / households (up to a max of 4 people) 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 not be available at this time and will be closed to the public.
  • The Science Center facility will be open with strict social distancing rules in place, facilitated by the standard type floor markings and directional indicators that you are used to seeing in public establishments.
  • Visitors will only be allowed to enter the courtyard through the main observatory gate. Visitors will only be allowed to exit the courtyard though the equipment loading gate, unless emergency conditions require otherwise.
  • 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 six foot perimeter around themselves or around the group that they arrived with, when around other visitors and Frosty Drew team members.
  • The RI governor would like us to remind visitors to wear a face covering if a six foot perimeter cannot be maintained, unless doing so would damage the physical or mental health of the visitor, or the visitor is incapable of managing their own face covering. A full list of exemptions is available under Section 1 of Executive Order 20-94.
  • Numerous signs have been posted to our campus that will offer direction and flow dynamics. Upon arriving, please familiarize yourself with all posted information.
  • 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 are trying our best to offer access to our facilities during this difficult time, and we are REQUIRED to follow mandates put forth by the State of Rhode Island. 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 has the required signage to remind visitors that they should wear a mask, per published Rhode Island documentation. 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 either you are no longer concerned or the pandemic is better understood. Regardless, any person who engages in discriminitive behavior towards another person regarding a mask, will be required to leave the campus immediately.

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 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.

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.

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.

Regarding restroom facility access, please note the following:

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 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. 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 diminish 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 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.