PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The state of Rhode Island entered Phase 2 of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s reopening plan on Monday, June 1 — but what does that mean, exactly?
The public safety measures we’ve been following for weeks remain in place for the most part. You still need to wear a face covering in busy public areas, maintain social distancing, avoid crowds, and stay home if you’re sick.
However, Phase 2 will be a big step toward our “new normal” as the available options for businesses, services and activities will greatly expand.
Here’s a breakdown of the changes for Phase 2:
Limit on social gatherings increases to 15 people.
Previously, gatherings were restricted to five people or fewer.
Indoor dining can resume with restrictions.
Restaurants, cafés, bars, and other food service establishments are able to reopen their dining rooms at 50% seating capacity. Outdoor dining is still encouraged, along with takeout/delivery.
- Be separated by at least eight feet from table edge to table edge or to allow six feet
spacing between seated customers at different tables; and
- Be at least six feet away from areas with regular customer foot traffic (e.g. routes to
bathrooms, entrances, and exits).
- Tables may be closer together if physical, non-porous barriers (e.g. plexiglass, plastic
glass, etc.) of an appropriate height (tall enough to fully separate seated customers)
are installed between tables.
Bar seating is permitted, provided that either:
- There are no active work areas or working staff behind the bar; or
- There is a physical barrier (e.g. plexiglass) separating customers from the bar space.
Dishware and utensils must be disposable and discarded between parties or removed, sanitized and replaced between parties. Condiments should only be provided in single servings, and menus should be disposable, digital, or sanitized after each use.
Stores can allow more customers and malls can reopen.
Capacity for non-critical retailers should be limited to one customer for every 150 square feet. Stores are encouraged to have customers preorder and pick up purchases and hold exclusive browsing hours for members of at-risk populations.
Dressing rooms are to remain closed and product sampling should be discontinued.
Hair care and other personal services will be available.
Hairdressers, barbers, cosmeticians, tattoo artists, and massage therapists are able to resume operations on a limited basis during Phase 2. Safety regulations must be followed such as minimizing the time spent in close contact with customers, sanitizing tools and surfaces, and wearing masks.
Customers must also be pre-screened and have a scheduled appointment. Walk-ins should not be accepted.
Houses of worship can reopen with limited capacity.
Churches, mosques, temples, and other faith-based organizations can resume in-person services with occupancy capped at 25%. There needs to be at least six feet of space between individuals not of the same household, attendees should be required to sanitize their hands upon entry, and collection plates and other objects should not be passed.
The broadcasting and live streaming of services is strongly recommended.
Gyms and fitness studios will reopen on a limited basis.
The state released a list of requirements designed to protect members and staff. These include, but are not limited to:
- All visitors and employees must be screened upon entry, and contact tracing information must be gathered
- Masks must be worn unless at least six feet of social distancing can be maintained
- Communal areas such as locker rooms should be closed, along with water fountains and filling stations
- Class sizes need to be limited to 15 people, or 1 person per 150 square feet (whichever is less) and there should be adequate time between classes to clean the area and equipment
- No activities where social distancing cannot be easily and continuously maintained
Child care services resume, summer camps eventually open.
Every provider is required to have a state-approved COVID-19 Control Plan to deliver care.
- Maintain consistent groups of 12 (including staff) in dedicated spaces
- Maintain distance or barriers between those groups
- Require staff to wear face coverings
- Clean and sanitize equipment after each use
- Wash hands regularly (children and staff)
- Screen all entrants upon arrival
- Set up drop-off/pick-up protocols to reduce crowding
As for summer camps, the state hopes to have them open by June 29, as long as the public health data allows for it.
Youth sports can gradually resume.
Starting June 1, “stable groups” of up to 15 individuals can take part in practices and games. This includes children, coaches and other staff. Physical distancing is encouraged when possible.
League play and tournaments will not be permitted until at least Phase 3 to keep stable groups from mixing.
What about adult sports? Here are the new guidelines from the state »
All state beaches and parks will be open.
Parking will be limited to prevent crowding. Public restrooms can reopen with proper sanitization but indoor showers should remain closed.
At least six feet of distance must be maintained between household groups.
Domestic travel restrictions will be relaxed.
Only those arriving in Rhode Island from a place where a stay-at-home order is still in effect like will have to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Offices can bring more employees back.
Up to 33% of the workforce can return, as long as social distancing recommendations are followed. Anyone who can work from home should continue to do so.
Workplaces need to establish a COVID-19 Control Plan and follow state guidance on screening employees, wearing masks, and cleaning.