Commerce RI: Retailers can accept cash, need to have a plan before reopening

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As Rhode Island prepares to begin Phase 1 of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s plan to reopen the economy, many retail stores are wondering what they should do before allowing customers inside.

Raimondo announced Thursday that she plans to lift the stay-at-home order on Saturday, which will allow certain non-critical businesses to reopen, including retailers.

Here’s how Raimondo’s plan to gradually reopen RI’s economy works »

Hundreds tuned in as state leaders addressed many of those concerns on Facebook live. The stream was hosted by Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor and Dr. James MacDonald, chief administrative officer of the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Pryor said businesses must have a COVID-19 plan before reopening, and that plan must be made available to all employees.

“We are enabling you to open even while you are producing your plan so long as you are already taking on and abiding by the fundamentals of that plan,” Pryor said.

The plans must be completed by May 18, but Pryor said they do not need to be submitted to the state.

Another concern among viewers involved store capacity restrictions. Pryor said customers must be limited to one for every 300 square feet.

One viewer asked whether gloves should be provided to customers as they walk into the store. McDonald said hand sanitizer is a much better option.

“A nice bottle of hand sanitizer by the cash register, that’s a new way to say ‘Welcome to my business,'” he said.

Another viewer asked whether cash would still be accepted. Pryor said while credit or debit cards are preferred, cash will still be allowed.

Pryor said the live stream is one of many that will occur once the economy begins to reopen, and they plan to answer as many questions as they can.

The webinar can be re-watched on Commerce RI’s Facebook page, where future ones will also be streamed.

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