RI businesses brace for closures ahead of Raimondo’s 2-week ‘pause’

Business News

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ When it comes to Gov. Gina Raimondo’s two-week “pause” following Thanksgiving, which will temporarily shutter certain businesses deemed high-risk for coronavirus transmission, a manager at an East Providence bowling alley only had one thing to say: “It’s going to hurt a little bit.”

Raimondo prepared Rhode Islanders for the upcoming restrictions during her weekly coronavirus briefing on Thursday, which includes the closure of gyms, colleges, offices, bars and recreational venues ranging from casinos to bowling alleys.

“We’ve got to shut it down for those two weeks,” Raimondo said.

East Providence Lanes manager Michael Sedoma believes recreational businesses are being singled out.

“Restaurants can open, but we’re not allowed to,” Sedoma said. “They have us do a lot of extra cleaning and that’s all money that needs to be spent, and now we’ll have no income coming in, so once we reopen we really need to establish our base again to keep going.”

With cases and hospitalizations on the rise, Raimondo said the upcoming restrictions are an effort to flatten the curve.

“I am trying to get us through the end of the year without overwhelming our health care system,” she said. “This is only going to work if we do it.”

An IBM analysis of contact-tracing data in Rhode Island revealed only 11% of cases occurred at recreational sites. Sedoma said so far, there haven’t been any employees nor customers who have tested positive for the virus.

The Providence Children’s Museum recently reopened after being closed for eight months. Executive Director Caroline Payson said although the two-week “pause” is an inconvenience, she understands why it has to be done.

“I get it,” she said. “With the numbers going up, I think something needs to be done.”

Payson said the museum is encouraging children to take their virtual courses.

“We hope they can continue to play with us online and I think myself and the rest of us are hoping that the two-week pause means that we can then move forward and get a little closer to normal,” she said.

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