PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, new restrictions in Rhode Island took effect Sunday night, which includes a stay-at-home advisory in the overnight hours.
Rhode Islanders are asked to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
The advisory is in effect for two weeks, though essential activities, such as going to work or the doctor’s office, are exempt.
Gov. Gina Raimondo made the changes to her Phase 3 guidelines after a recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state.
“It’s an advisory. I am strongly advising you and asking you to stay home in your own house. Not your friend’s, not at a party at someone else’s house – in your house,” she said in her weekly briefing on Thursday.
“We’re not going to be pulling cars over, we’re not going to have a heavy-handed approach on enforcement if you’re out after 10,” Raimondo added. “Not at this stage. Hopefully, never.”
Raimondo continued saying that restaurants and bars can still offer takeout after that time, though some restaurants tell 12 News the restrictions are yet another financial burden they’re struggling to deal with.
At Pub on Park in Cranston, owner Marshall D’Ambrosio says they typically offer live entertainment seven days a week, but they’ve already had to cancel at least one scheduled performance.
“I can understand somewhat of the reasoning of closing us down early, but the bottom line is our expenses are still continuing, our insurances come up, our leases come up, our taxes are always due,” D’Ambrosio said.
“Basically all we’re doing right now is treading water, paying our bills. We aren’t making any money and we don’t want to slide,” D’Ambrosio continued.
Raimondo also announced those who demonstrate a loss of business due to the early closure will be eligible for grants of $2,000 to $10,000. Those details will be posted Monday on the Division of Taxation’s website.
On Friday, the Rhode Island Department of Health reported the state’s highest one-day total of new coronavirus cases with 630, one day after topping the previous record.
More than 16,400 tests were administered the previous day, putting Friday’s positivity rate at 3.8%.
Health officials also announced two more COVID-19-related deaths, bringing Rhode Island’s reported total to 1,224.
Additionally, the governor reduced the capacity limit for big box stores, indoor and outdoor venues, and catered events. She did, however, say that previously scheduled weddings and other special events can request an exemption through the Department of Business Regulation.
Raimondo urged Rhode Islanders to adhere to these changes now so she doesn’t have to resort to more strict measures down the road, should the data continue trending upward.
“We have to take our medicine. We can take our medicine now, or we can take our medicine later,” she said. “If we take the medicine now, change our behavior and rein in our social activity, the medicine’s not going to be that bad and isn’t going to have to last that long. If we wait, if we try to outrun the virus, we’re going to take the medicine later and it’s going to be much stronger medicine.”