The touchless dispensers are in place as a precaution to keep beachgoers safe from COVID-19.

By Alison Fox
July 16, 2020
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Rhode Island is installing free, touch-free sunscreen dispensers at state beaches and parks in an effort to help people stay safe from both COVID-19 as well as sunburn.

The dispensers, installed on 17 beaches and parks and filled with sunscreen by Raw Elements, have been updated this year to be touchless in light of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the state government and the company. The effort comes as Rhode Island has reopened its state parks and beaches while still requiring face masks to be worn in public (including in restrooms and on boardwalks, but not in the water).

“As we continue to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 public health crisis, we also must remember to use sunscreen to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer," Governor Gina M. Raimondo said in a statement. "I'm proud that we'll be offering no-cost sunscreen stations at our parks and beaches again this year.”

This is the second year Rhode Island has offered free sunscreen dispensers, partnering with Raw Elements, a reef-safe sunscreen that also happens to be Non-GMO verified and cruelty free. The sunscreen is also broad spectrum SPF 30+ and is water resistant for 80 minutes.

Courtesy of Raw Elements

“We have worked incredibly hard to find the best automatic, touch-free dispensers out there in order to ensure we were able to keep protecting Rhode Island for 2020," Brian Guadagno, the founder of Raw Elements Natural Sunscreen, said in a statement. "As a longtime Narraganset ocean lifeguard, this initiative is close to home. It feels great to help everyone in the state protect themselves and our oceans."

Rhode Island entered Phase 3 of its reopening plan on June 30, allowing restaurants with indoor dining and movie theaters to operate at 66 percent capacity limits. Retailers have also been allowed to reopen.

The state, however, requires anyone coming from a state with more than a 5 percent positivity rate to either self-quarantine for 14 days or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival.

In total, the state has recorded more than 17,600 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the State of Rhode Island Department of Health, but has seen a downward trend when it comes to both new cases and hospitalizations.