PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Across the country and around the world, coronavirus cases are on the rise.
Here in Rhode Island, Gov. Gina Raimondo is warning the state may have to go back to Phase 2 if the upward trend in cases continues.
“We are, I think, within weeks of having to go back to phase two,” Raimondo said. “That’s going to be a tough dose of reality for Rhode Island if that has to happen.”
Raimondo says people are not wearing masks as much as they should and according to the R.I. Department of Health, that is the main reason cases are rising.
“The reality is it shouldn’t happen, but we’re just getting a lot of pushback from folks, justifiably, who are having social gatherings in their home and not wearing masks, wanting to go ahead and have a baby shower and not wear their masks, and not surprisingly, we’re seeing the cases go through the roof,” the governor said.
Rhode Island has been in Phase 3 since June 30, which loosened up some restrictions on restaurant and store capacity, as well as the social gathering size for weddings, events, and sporting events.
Phase 2 occurred from June 1 to June 30 when gyms and daycares could slowly start to reopen, indoor dining was restricted to 50% capacity, and workplaces could have just one-third of their workforce in the office.
Makeup artists and other close contact jobs had to stay closed during Phase 2 when other businesses were allowed to reopen.
12 News spoke with Joseph Wendelken, spokesperson for RIDOH, on what needs to happen to prevent the state from moving back to Phase 2.
“People need to be wearing their masks. Any time you are around anyone you don’t live with, you need to be wearing your mask,” Wendelken said. “If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you need to get tested you should call your healthcare provider and make sure you get tested and tell the people around you that you’re getting tested because you have symptoms of COVID-19.”
Wendelken said we are seeing increases in cases in all age groups and in every community.
“The important point is this: it’s not a forgone conclusion that we’ll have to go back to Phase 2,” Raimondo said. “We all have the opportunity right now to take action. It’s absolutely within our control.”
Raimondo’s next coronavirus briefing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday.