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Paré: ‘We will shut them down’ if restaurants allow dining in

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence police officers are being asked to respond to restaurants and bars if there is a suspicion that they are allowing patrons to dine in.

“We are going to monitor our bars and restaurants in the coming week to ensure there is no on-site consumption,” Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steve Paré said Tuesday. “Our patrol officers will be reporting if we see any and if there are restaurants open and people sitting and consuming we will shut them down.”

Providence police officers have responded to eating establishments already, but Pare said they have not had to close any yet.

“We have the authority to do it — it’s case by case,” he said. “We’ll get some resources, some additional officers there, so if they are violating it, we’ll disperse all the patrons.”

Over the weekend, a handful of clubs were closed for violating Mayor Jorge Elorza’s executive order revoking all entertainment licenses in the city.

On Monday Gov. Gina Raimondo announced dine-in food and beverage service will be shut down for all restaurants, bars, coffee shops and other businesses in Rhode Island until at least Monday, March 30. Drive-through, delivery and takeout services can remain open.

“We shut four clubs down over the weekend and two Sunday night for violating the entertainment restrictions,” Paré said. “The governor’s executive order shutting down bars and restaurants but for takeout food started today, and we will monitor it and do the same.”

Paré said overall call volume is down and he has not called in extra officers or fire personnel. But they are also encouraging people to report “less urgent” calls online. (He used a broken windshield as an example.)

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

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