PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Dan McKee announced Friday that starting next Tuesday, May 18, fully vaccinated Rhode Islanders no longer need to wear masks or social distance in most situations, in accordance with CDC guidance.
McKee also said the reopening measures planned for Memorial Day weekend, such as the lifting of the limit on business capacities and social gatherings, will be moved up a week to Friday, May 21.
“So we reset Rhode Island at 100% capacity beginning May 21,” he said. “100% capacity in our retail stores, 100% capacity in our gyms, 100% capacity in our offices, and no limits to social gatherings.”
Effective May 21
|Indoor Dining||100% capacity; 3 feet of spacing indoors|
|Bar Areas||Indoor standing service; no plexiglass required|
|Catered Events||100% capacity with no cap; indoor standing bar service/cocktail hours; open dance floors|
|Houses of Worship||100% capacity; 3 feet of spacing indoors|
|Retail||100% capacity; 3 feet of spacing indoors|
|Gyms, Sports & Rec||100% capacity; 3 feet of spacing indoors|
|Personal Services||100% capacity; 3 feet of spacing indoors|
|Venues of Assembly||100% capacity with no cap; 3 feet of spacing indoors; DBR/municipal approval for 2,500+ attendees|
|Funeral Homes||100% capacity; 3 feet of spacing indoors|
|Offices||100% capacity; 3 feet of spacing indoors|
|Social Gatherings||No limit|
|Sports||Out-of-state teams can attend in-state tournaments|
“Vaccinated Rhode Islanders, I hope you hug a vaccinated friend, have a dinner at your favorite restaurant and support our local businesses,” he added.
McKee said the state will provide more specifics on the new guidelines, but ultimately, it will be up to individual businesses on how they decide to apply them.
The announcement came as Rhode Island surpassed 600,000 people who’ve gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with nearly 489,000 of those people having gotten both doses required for full vaccination, or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The R.I. Department of Health also reported 139 new cases on Friday and a 1.2% daily positivity rate.
The state’s death toll hit 2,700, with two more Rhode Islanders having died after contracting COVID-19.
Hospitalizations declined to 92, which is the fewest in more than seven months. Of those patients, 20 are in the intensive care unit and 14 are on ventilators, according to health officials.
During his weekly briefing on Thursday, McKee and state health officials continue to encourage people to get vaccinated, saying they will soon be setting up pop-up clinics in high-traffic areas like beaches, parks and the airport to make it as effortless as possible.
Additionally, the residency requirement will be removed next week so that people visiting Rhode Island will be able to get vaccinated as well.
While McKee and other state officials were on stage, the CDC relaxed its mask-wearing guidance for people who are fully vaccinated, saying they don’t need to be worn outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.
There is no COVID-19 briefing scheduled for next week.