PROVIDENCE, RI — Gov. Gina R. Raimondo has signed an executive order requiring everyone in a public place – whether indoors or outdoors – to wear a cloth face covering, effective Friday.
The order sets the stage for the beginning of Raimondo’s Phase 1 re-opening plan
According to the order, people in Rhode Island are required to wear masks or cloth face coverings at all times when inside grocery stores, pharmacies or other retail stores. All persons are also required to wear masks or cloth face coverings when providing or using the services of any taxi, car, livery, ride-sharing, or similar service or any means of mass public transit, or while within an enclosed or semi-enclosed transit stop or waiting area.
The only exceptions are for children younger than two years of age and anyone whose health would be negatively affected by wearing a face covering.
Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the RI Department of Health, has encouraged Rhode Islanders to consider wearing cloth face covers when in public since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.
A cloth face cover could be sewn by hand or improvised from household items such as scarves or T-shirts. (Face covers are different than N95 facemasks. The primary role of a cloth face cover is to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes. Cloth face covers are not substitutes for physical distancing, washing your hands, and staying home when ill.
Such cloth face coverings should cover the nose and mouth, according to RIDOH. A cloth face cover could be sewn by hand or improvised from household items such as scarves or T-shirts.
A number of how-two videos and posts show how to craft your own masks at home with simple items:
- No-sew mask option: This article provides a non-sewing step-by-step guide to making a home made mask.
- Sewn HEPA filter mask option: This post lists five tutorials on mask making, starting with sewn mask with a slot for a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter.
- Additional mask reading: The Washington Post has a brief guide on the science behind the advice, as well as the creation (including the best material) and use of face masks.
State services in Phase 1
- In the first phase of reopening, state customer services—including HealthSourceRI, the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS), and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT)—will continue to serve the public through call centers and online services.
- However, the state is planning to open more in-person services at the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by appointment only in Phase 1.
COVID-19 Data Update
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced 281 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. This brings Rhode Island’s case count to 9,933. Rhode RIDOH also announced 14 new COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 355. A full data summary for Rhode Island is posted online.
COVID-19 pandemic notes
- Anyone who is sick should stay home and self-isolate (unless going out for testing or healthcare).
- The people who live with that person and who have been in direct close contact with that person should self-quarantine for 14 days after the last day that that person was in isolation. Direct close contact means being within approximately 6 feet of a person for a prolonged period.
- Help is available for people living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Visit www.RIDelivers.com [ridelivers.com] for connections to groceries, home supplies, restaurants, and mutual aid groups. People can also call 2-1-1.
- When people are in public, they should wear a cloth face covering. A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It could be sewn by hand or improvised from household items such as scarves, T-shirts, or bandanas.
- Groups of more than five people should not be gathering. Always avoid close personal contact with other people in public.
- Healthcare workers should not be going to work if they are sick (even with mild symptoms).
- People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. Do not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless you are experiencing a medical emergency).
- People with general, non-medical questions about COVID-19 can visit www.health.ri.gov/covid, write to RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov, or call 401-222-8022. This is the COVID-19 Hotline that RIDOH has available to the public.