New guidelines released to limit crowds at RI stores

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Stores across the Ocean State will now have to follow stricter guidelines due to COVID-19 starting Thursday evening.

Stores created “senior shopping hours” to help those at higher risk grab what they need but Gov. Gina Raimondo says more has to be done.

The Department of Business Regulations is asking stores to lower crowds entering their buildings. They want no more than 20% of the posted Fire Marshal Capacity inside at one time.

“It’s easier to keep your space and people can feel more comfortable,” one shopper said.

Staff are required to be outside every taking count of who goes in and who comes out of the store. Raimondo acknowledges that this may result in lines outside stores, and said people would be asked to space themselves out in line as they wait to go inside.

Stores must also have clearly marked six feet spacing for checkout lines and limit the amount of time shoppers are inside.

“Emergency regulations, greater penalties, closing more stores and we really don’t want to go there,” Raimondo says of how she will be enforcing the new rule.

Raimondo added that these new orders will be enforced by State Police who will perform spot checks on businesses throughout the state to ensure they are following the latest rules.

The new guidelines will be instituted beginning at 5 p.m.

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