McKee, Matos discuss new mask mandates, Pride month during non-COVID briefing

Politics

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Dan McKee and Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos held their fourth non-COVID briefing on Tuesday.

The presser was held shortly after McKee and the Department of Health announced Rhode Islanders will no longer need to wear masks outdoors starting Wednesday.

“Fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals do not generally need to wear masks when outdoors in Rhode Island,” he said.

In April, the administration announced that after a year of holding news conferences on the pandemic, they wanted to give reporters a regular opportunity to ask them questions on topics unrelated to COVID-19.

“I did sign a proclamation recognizing June as Pride month,” McKee announced.

The governor said the Rhode Island State House will be lit up on Tuesday night in recognition of Pride month beginning.

The Rhode Island State House also partially reopened to the public Tuesday, as well as the Rhode Island District Court and Providence Municipal Court.

The governor was asked on Tuesday how he felt about R.I. Attorney General Peter Neronha’s announcement earlier in the day that he’s reached an agreement with the owner of Roger Williams Medical Center and Our Lady of Fatima Hospital.

“I’m pleased, because that’s what I asked that the conversations would continue and that we would arrive at a good place,” McKee said. “I think the general did a great job on this, he held his ground on behalf of the people in the state of Rhode Island.”

McKee stressed he has experience with negotiations when asked about the decision to take R.I. Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green out of the Providence teacher discussions.

“I didn’t think it was a good strategy to have a decision maker in the room during negotiations,” he said. “That doesn’t mean the commissioner is any less empowered than she was prior to, I just think that it make sense to follow good strategies in terms of how contracts can be negotiated.”

Tuesday also marks one year since the June 1 riot in Providence.

“We cannot forget that there are two different opinions out there,” Matos stressed.

The lieutenant governor said she has allocated $217,000 to Family Services of Rhode island to expand their gold team program, which she explains as a possible alternative to calling the police.

“I am not currently planning on taking any money away from the police,” she said.

Matos also announced she and the governor expect to be able to raise $75,000 to build a new memorial for the R.I. Gold Star Families.

“What they are asking us is not to forget their love ones that gave their all for all of us, for our freedom,” she said.

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