PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has extended the statewide pause for another week.
The pause, which now lasts through Sunday, Dec. 20, was put in place to reduce community transmission of the coronavirus by limiting mobility and social gatherings. Raimondo said the temporary restrictions and closures are key in stemming the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Here’s a breakdown of what the pause entails:
The social gathering size has been lowered to a single household — meaning only the people you live with. Any adult who lives alone, or is a single parent, can gather with one other household as long as the gathering is not more than five people.
“I know that this isn’t easy — I’m going to be missing seeing my extended family in-person this year too. But the amount of community transmission is too high right now to take a chance, no matter how safe you may feel. Choosing to gather across multiple households puts yourself, the people you are with, and anyone you interact with for the next two weeks in danger of getting the virus. So while this may not be easy, it’s necessary, and I hope that you’ll find a way to celebrate with friends and family remotely. If we all do it, we can turn things around and save lives. We’re all in this together.”Gov. Gina Raimondo
High schools are being asked to move to their “limited” in-person plans, with 25% capacity. This would mean distance learning for most students, with certain populations such as English learners, at-risk students, and those with individualized education plans attending school in person.
Students in pre-school through eighth grade can continue full-in person and hybrid schooling plans.
In-person instruction has stopped at colleges and universities. Most out-of-state college students went home before Thanksgiving and are not expected to return to Rhode Island until the new year.
Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants are required to limit their indoor dining to 33% capacity during the pause and all bar areas must be closed.
For indoor dining, restaurants can only seat one household per table. For outdoor dining, restaurants can seat up to two households per table, and the maximum number of people per table is eight. Those in charge of seating guests must ask beforehand whether the group consists of more than one household.
The statewide curfew for restaurants remains 10 p.m., however, takeout and delivery can continue later into the night.
All retailers can remain open, but are restricted when it comes to how many customers are allowed inside. Small retail stores are limited to one person per 100 square feet, while big box stores will be allowed one person for every 150 square feet.
Big box stores must keep a close eye on their capacity limits by monitoring and counting the people coming in and out of the building.
The number of people allowed inside a store must be posted at the entrance. The state has also ordered all dressing rooms closed during the pause.
Malls and other multi-tenant retailers are allowed to remain open during the pause, but common areas must be closed to the public. The malls and multi-tenant retailers must also monitor their overall structure capacity, since it must comply with the state’s limits.
Offices and other businesses
All businesses with office space are being encouraged to have as many employees working remotely as possible. In-person workplaces such as manufacturing, construction and personal services do not have to close. Both health care and child care centers will also remain open during the pause.
Nursing homes remain open, however, visitor access will be limited. Those looking to visit a loved one in a nursing home during the pause are encouraged to call ahead and ask for an update on their visitation policies.
Sporting Facilities and School Sports
Throughout the pause, all indoor operations at gyms and fitness centers, including group classes, are prohibited. Indoor one-on-one training is also not permitted. Outdoor gym and fitness activities are still allowed, though group classes can’t occur under any circumstances.
The state has ordered all indoor athletic facilities including, but not limited to, swimming pools, karate studios, climbing gyms, gymnastics studios and roller-skating and ice-skating rinks to shut down.
All amateur and youth sports — both indoor and outdoor — are prohibited during the pause and are not allowed to practice, scrimmage or compete. Sports camps and classes must also temporarily cease operations.
The pause does not affect collegiate or professional sports.
The closures also apply to recreational venues including but not limited to casinos, movie theaters, arcades and bowling alleys.
Live performance venues, such as ones that host theatrical performances, concerts, conferences or conventions, must also cease operations for the time being.
There will be limited exceptions for virtual performances and drive-up or car-based events.
In-person audiences will not be allowed to attend virtual events. Those organizing a virtual performance or event must ensure that only the performers and presenters are present, as well as a limited number of people who will be in charge of broadcasting or live-streaming it.
Houses of Worship
All houses of worship will be allowed to hold services during the pause, however, the capacity of their services must be limited to 25%, with a maximum of 125 people. Offering virtual services is strongly encouraged.
The capacity limits are also required for funerals taking place during the pause. Indoor wakes and group-based activities will not be allowed during the pause, though outdoor gravesite services may occur with up to five people in attendance.