PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Governor Gina Raimondo is now apologizing for violating her own executive order relating to cloth face coverings when she made an impromptu appearance at Friday night’s peaceful protest in Providence.
Tensions were rising between protesters and police on Friday night when Raimondo appeared on the steps of the Rhode Island State House.
She had previously said she would be unable to attend the massive Black Lives Matter protest, but unexpectedly arrived after 9 p.m. to make a speech to those gathered and ask them to continue to be peaceful.
The governor encouraged everyone to go home as curfew approached, but first invited them to pray with her, grasping the hands of those standing nearby. While some applauded the move, others criticized the governor for breaking her own coronavirus-related mandates which currently prohibit social gatherings larger than 15 people and mandate the use of cloth face coverings in public. She’s also repeatedly urged Rhode Islanders to stay at least 6 feet apart, famously telling those who haven’t adhered to her guidelines to “knock it off.”
The governor on Saturday addressed the fact that she broke her own rules.
“The late hours in front of the State House last night were tense and hectic, and in that moment I neglected to put on a mask,” she said. “That was wrong, it was counter to our public health guidance, and I apologize. I have worked today to track down the names of those I was in contact with so that they can be added to my contact tracing notebook.”
Public health officials have said they will be watching carefully in the coming days and weeks to see if there is a spike in COVID-19 cases associated with the rallies.
A spokesperson for Raimondo said the governor will not self-quarantine since the state’s public health guidance only requires someone to do so if they are sick or have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.