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RI Begins Phase 2 Pandemic Reopening

[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] The RI State House. RIDOH warns COVID-19 masks are a must as spread is likely outside the home. Gov. Raimondo also announced new small business aid through a $10M loan program with Goldman Sachs.

[CREDIT: RI.gov] The health and scientific metrics Gov. Gina M. Raimondo set establishing when moving the state to Phase 2 of its reopening plan would begin.
[CREDIT: RI.gov] The health and scientific metrics Gov. Gina M. Raimondo set establishing when moving the state to Phase 2 of its reopening plan would begin.
PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island begins Phase 2 of its COVID-19 pandemic reopening plan today, allowing restaurants some indoor service and also allowing limited child care, personal services, restaurants, and youth sports.

The decision was guided by the four key metrics the Governor had previously said would guide decisions about further reopening: hospital capacity at less than 70 percent, new hospitalizations at 30 or less daily, a rate of spread at .07 percent (lower than 1.1 percent) and a declining doubling rate of hospitalizations, now doubling every 30 days.

Restaurant guidelines

• An establishment’s indoor dining capacity is limited to 50 percent of an establishment’s regular seating capacity.

• Outdoor dining is still encouraged as long as the restaurant does not service more than its normal operating capacity and physical distancing can be maintained. Additionally, if an establishment has established extra outdoor dining capacity in Phase I, that additional outdoor capacity may remain in Phase II if the municipality continues to approve such additional capacity (in accordance with the municipality’s approval processes).

Child care guidelines

  • Child care must be carried out in stable groups of 10 children or fewer, with no more than a maximum group of 12 individuals in the home at the same time, including children, providers, assistants, and household members.  “Stable groups” are defined as the same children in the same care group each day.
  • The current capacity of Family Child Care Homes is one provider and six children at any time, if the provider does not have an assistant. This is not changing. If there is an assistant, the number of children in care may increase to eight.

Gym guidelines

  • Activities where social distancing cannot be easily, continuously, or measurably maintained are not permitted in Phase II. Activity involving physical contact between individuals is not permitted (e.g. boxing, wrestling, contact martial arts).
  • Reservations for member and attendees to sign up for classes or workout sessions in advance are strongly recommended (i.e. discourage “walk-ins”). It is suggested that businesses develop a digital or telephonic system that enables customers to schedule appointments in advance. o Gyms may also consider implementing an outdoor reservation station for taking walk-in customers.
  • The outdoor reservation station may consist of the following elements: a plexiglass barrier (or similar material that separates staff from walk-in customers); demarcated 6-ft spacing for walk-in customers in line; limiting lines to 10 individuals at a time; and staffing lines to ensure that walk-in customers comply with social distancing requirements.

Office guidelines

  • Separate desks and workstations to ensure 6 feet of physical distancing (or, as necessary, use every other or every third workstation to maintain 6 feet of physical distance between stations). Side-by-side cubicles may be utilized as long as the distance measured chair-to-chair allows for proper social distancing to be established.
  • Add partitions to open floor plans when needed. Physical, nonporous barriers (e.g. plexiglass) of an appropriate height (tall enough to fully separate seated workers) can be installed between workstations as an alternative to 6 feet of physical distance (only where such distance cannot otherwise be obtained).
  • Permit no more than 15 individuals per conference room and ensure 6 feet of physical distancing within a conference room; however, video-conferencing should be utilized both on and off premises to the furthest extent possible to accommodate social distancing measures.
  • Regulate cafeterias or dining rooms in accordance with the rules, regulations and guidance issued for restaurants.
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Youth Sports guidelines

The State prepared a checklist to assist businesses and organizations meet the requirements outlined in RIDOH regulations. Summer Youth Sports organizations must comply with RIDOH regulations and active executive orders.

Summer Youth Sports organizations should refer to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on youth sports and guidance on visiting parks and recreational facilities. In addition, Summer Youth Sports organizations offering summer camps are subject to the State’s Summer Camp Regulations and guidance.

The following additional guidelines also apply:

•Stable groups: Participants are required to be organized in “stable groups” of a maximum of 15 people. The term “stable groups” means the same individuals, including children, staff and any adult leaders, remain in the same group over the course of the entire program. Children shall not change from one group to another, and groups should occupy the same physical space. Parents and caregivers should choose one stable group for their child per season. o It should be noted that coming into close proximity with someone outside your household increases your risk and should be limited as much as possible.

• Physical distancing: Physical distancing is encouraged, but not required within each stable group; however, activities where at least six feet of distance can be maintained are encouraged and 14 feet of distance is preferred. When not engaged in active play, members of a stable group should maintain physical distance of six feet between each person.

• Space between stable groups: Stable groups are required to maintain a minimum of 14 feet between the outer limit of their group play and any other stable group or passersby.

• Quarantine: All out-of-state participants in Summer Youth Sports should be advised of and adhere to any executive orders regarding the need to quarantine prior to participation in Summer Youth Sports. • Screening: Screen adult leaders and youth participants prior to the activity for any symptoms of COVID-19.

A screening tool is available, in English and Spanish, to aid with proper screening at https://health.ri.gov/covid/for/business/.

Any person exhibiting signs of illness or who have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 must be excluded from the activity in accordance with CDC and RI Department of Health guidelines at: https://health.ri.gov/diseases/ncov2019/

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Personal services guidelines

This guidance describes procedures for personal service providers including:

  • Barbers, hairdressers, cosmeticians, manicurists, estheticians, and instructors (216-RICR-40-05-04); • Tattoo artists, tattoo parlors, and body piercers, (216-RICR-40-10-15);
  • Tanning facilities, and
  • Massage therapists (216-RICR-40-05-10)

The following guidelines apply to these businesses/services:

  • Reducing the time spent in contact, and close contact, with clients. The risk of contracting COVID-19 increases with the amount of time spent in contact, and particularly close contact, with someone who has the virus. • Minimizing interactions when professionals are facing clients.
  • Increasing the distance between the client and the professional. Even with a mask, professionals and clients are safer when they are farther apart and are not close to one another’s faces. Although maintaining 6 feet of distance between individuals may not be possible during the service, professionals should increase their distance and limit the time spent near the client.
  • Increasing outdoor air ventilation by opening doors and windows.

In Phase II, the following services are not allowed:

• Services where a client or a professional removes their mask when they are not easily, continuously, and measurably 6 feet from others. Examples of personal services that are not permitted in phase II 05.28.20 include facials, hot towel facials, and facial hair services (e.g. beard, mustache, upper lip shaving, trimming/waxing), lip piercings, and certain face tattoos.

• Services in shared or communal facilities, enclosed spaces, or where it is inherently difficult to wear a mask continuously. Examples of services not allowed in phase II include saunas and steam rooms.

• Services involving shared objects or surfaces that are not sanitized between uses. Services allowed in Phase II must be able to follow all guidelines, including the requirement

Blow drying discouraged:

It is recommended that blow drying services not occur in Phase II. If this service is ordinarily offered as an option, professionals are encouraged to recommend against the service. If services that require blow drying can be completed in a separate room (such as a treatment room or unused space) this is a preferred option in Phase II. Please provide fresh air (access to outdoor air by opening a window or door), if possible, in such a separate room.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at editor@warwickpost.com with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.