RI Commerce outlines what’s new for businesses in Phase 3

Business News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island entered Phase 3 earlier this week so the state’s Commerce Department has teamed up with the Department of Health to make sure businesses know how to safely reopen.

On Thursday, the two agencies held a live discussion and Q&A to provide guidance to business owners in different sectors.

Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor started with restaurant and bar owners, saying bars should look like restaurants with no standing service except for food pickup, using the states that have seen recent spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as an example of what they don’t want to see happen in Rhode Island.

“Other states around the country, some states are having big problems in restaurants and bars and they are closing them down,” he said. “We do not want to be one of those states.”

When it comes to entertainment, Pryor said seated venues such as movie theaters can now operate at 66% capacity, as long as customers are six feet apart.

The same regulations apply to religious and faith-based organizations, according to Pryor, though offering live-streamed services is still encouraged and the use of choirs should be limited.

“Choirs have been a problem across the world,” Pryor added. “When they sing, they project not only their voice, but pathogens.”

Public events and weddings are now permitted to have up to 125 people indoors and 250 people outdoors.

And while gyms and fitness studios were able to reopen during Phase 2, these facilities are now allowed to have one person per 100 square feet, compared to one person per 150 square feet.

Meanwhile, customers at barbershops and salons can remove their face mask when getting a closer service like a facial or makeup application, but employees must wear an N95 or KN95 mask.

Offices can welcome back up to 66% of their workforce, but the state continues to encourage people who can work from home to do so.

Watch the full discussion below or on Facebook.

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