Compliance ‘terrific’ for RI face-covering order

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Gina Raimondo’s executive order requiring Rhode Island employees to wear masks at businesses went into effect on Saturday.

In her briefing on Sunday, Raimondo said that the R.I. Department of Business Regulations (DBR) did spot checks at around 200 businesses Saturday and for the most part, “compliance was terrific” for both employers and customers.

During a follow-up call with reporters, Raimondo clarified she did not know how many of those businesses, if any, were not in compliance.

She said while many customers and employees had masks on inside businesses, the DBR inspectors found customers going to drive through windows were not wearing masks in their cars.

“To be crystal clear, every Rhode Islander is ordered to wear a cloth face covering, covering your nose and mouth every time you’re in any retail operation,” Raimondo said. “What I haven’t said, yet, is that the stores can throw you out if you’re a customer who doesn’t have a mask on.”

There are some exceptions, including children under two-years-old do not have to wear one, or if the cloth covering will put your health at risk.

“See how it covers my nose, covers my mouth? As the governor said, I wear this mask to protect you from me. Because here’s the problem. Sometimes people are carrying the COVID-19 virus, and we don’t have symptoms,” Dr. James McDonald of the Rhode Island Department of Health said. “So when you don’t know what you don’t know, you might hurt people.”

East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva signed an executive order requiring those who don’t meet the expectations to wear a mask, and if they don’t, businesses can turn them away.

In Massachusetts, some communities like Westport have their own rulings but wearing masks statewide is currently just an advisory.

Related: Face coverings now mandatory in Westport stores, public buildings

The Rhode Island Department of Health says in addition to wearing a cloth mask you should continue to practice these methods to protect yourself:

  • Practice social distancing at all times by remaining six-feet away from others when you have to leave your home for essential trips.
  • Stay home if you are sick and avoiding close contact with others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; using alcohol-based hand gel with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.

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