PROVIDENCE — On Tuesday, Rhode Island’s economy and society is moving into Governor Gina M. Raimondo’s Phase 3 COVID-19 pandemic plan, with some alterations to the approach outlined last week.
“Given what we’ve learned about the picture of this virus across the country in recent days, we’ve made some changes to what this phase will look like,” Raimondo wrote, announcing the move.
Raimondo and Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health provided details of the adjusted approach during Raimondo’s Monday afternoon pandemic press briefing:
- Social gatherings: Social gatherings can be no larger than 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors. For social gatherings like weddings where there is a licensed caterer involved (which makes the setting more like a restaurant) gatherings can be as large as 50 people indoors or up to 100 people outdoors.
- Public events: Public events can be up to 125 people indoors or up to 250 people outdoors. Any organizers planning to host a group of more than 100 people will need to submit plans to Commerce RI.
- Indoor settings: All indoor settings operating at a square footage capacity can increase up to one person per 100 square feet, provided that everyone maintains six feet of social distance. All indoor settings currently operating at a percent capacity cap can still increase up to 66% capacity provided that everyone maintains six feet of social distance. This includes places like offices and restaurants. Seated venues can open at up to 66% capacity, and free-flowing venues can open at 100 square feet per person, provided that everyone maintains six feet of social distance.
- Travel: Rhode Island will implement a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone coming to Rhode Island from any state with 5% or greater positivity rate. (Positivity rates are calculated using the average daily positivity rate for the last seven days.) As an exception, people will not have to quarantine if they have had a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours. (If someone is tested after arriving in Rhode Island and gets a negative result, that person can stop quarantining.) The list of states with a percent positive rate of 5% or higher will be published today on RIDOH’s website and will be updated weekly.
Raimondo also announced she is extending the following executive orders till Aug. 3:
- Face coverings: Face coverings must be worn in public—both indoors and outdoors—whenever six feet of social distance cannot be maintained. Exceptions are made for children under two years of age and anyone whose health would be negatively impacted by wearing a face covering.
- Telemedicine: Health insurers must cover telemedicine for primary care, specialty care, and mental and behavioral health care conducted over the phone or by videoconference. Reimbursement rates for providers must be the same as reimbursement rates for in-office visits.
- Disaster declaration: The state of emergency declaration ensures that Rhode Island has access to all the necessary resources to support our response to this pandemic.
- Firearms: In keeping with a request from the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association, the Governor has extended the time period that law enforcement has to complete a background for a gun permit from seven days to 30 days.
- Quarantine: People must follow the State’s quarantine and isolation guidance.