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COVID-19 Updates, News, University News

Rhode Island to initiate stricter public health restrictions following COVID-19 case climb

Gov. Raimondo announces two-week stay-at-home advisory, social gathering restrictions to roll out Sunday

By
Science and Research Section Editor
Thursday, November 5, 2020

Gov. Gina Raimondo implemented a stay-at-home advisory and shortened some in-person business operating hours, among other measures, Thursday.

Gov. Gina Raimondo announced adjustments to Rhode Island’s Phase 3 public health guidelines Thursday, which will begin Nov. 8 and last at least two weeks as a precautionary measure against the continuing climb in COVId-19 cases. Rhode Island saw 566 positive COVID-19 test results Nov. 4, according to WPRI.

Raimondo implemented a stay-at-home advisory and shortened some in-person business operating hours, among other measures. 

As of Nov. 5, Rhode Island’s daily positivity rate stood at 3.6 percent for the 15,785 tests administered Nov. 4, according to Rhode Island’s COVID-19 Response Data. The elevated impact extends beyond the state’s borders and has pervaded the nation: “Yesterday, the United States saw its first day with more than 100,000 new cases,” Raimondo said at a press conference Nov. 5. 

“We’ve been working for the past few days with Massachusetts and Connecticut so we have an aligned approach in our region,” she added.

Starting Sunday, Raimondo is advising everyone in the state to stay home after 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and after 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays until 5 a.m., unless necessary, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health

“The later the night goes on, the more people put their guard down,” Raimondo said. “We get too close to people, maybe we share food, we don’t wear our mask, and that’s what we have to try … to cut down on or frankly eliminate.”

Certain businesses must adjust their in-person hours accordingly and aim to close by these times, including gyms, bars and restaurants, though people can still order takeout during these hours.

“We’re not going to have a heavy-handed approach on enforcement if you’re out after 10, … but it’s a big signal to all of us, it’s a wake up call,” Raimondo said. Still, if people largely do not adhere to the requirements, the state may enforce the measures more strictly, she added.

People must continue to wear masks when around anyone outside of one’s household, and Raimondo said retailers are obligated to enforce this regulation. 

People should also limit essential group gatherings to 10 other close contacts, as per the guidelines instituted last Friday. 

Indoor and outdoor capacities for events, such as performances or worship, are being cut to 125 and 150 people, respectively. Catered indoor and outdoor activities will be capped at 25 and 75 people. But the state may grant exceptions for some major pre-scheduled events. Large retailers must limit capacity to one person for every 150 sq. ft. at a time, as was the case during Phase 2, according to Raimondo.

Another addition to the guidelines is forgoing travel for work if it is not essential.

“If over the course of the next two weeks, the seven regulations result in lower mobility, fewer crowds, better mask wearing, fewer parties, fewer people out and about, then we’ll have confidence that they’re going to lead to the results we need,” Raimondo said. Otherwise, she acknowledged that further measures may be necessary.

In regard to sports, the temporary closure of indoor athletic facilities will be lifted Nov. 9. While people were originally prohibited from watching games in person by the mandate announced Oct. 30, according to WPRI, two people will be permitted to attend for every player under 18 beginning Monday, with masks required for all players and attendees, according to RIDOH.

Recognizing the public’s exhaustion with the list of regulations, Raimondo still maintained, “I’m confident that these targeted interventions are going to make a difference, but it’s only true if you guys take it to heart.”

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