RI State House to partially reopen next month; masks will still be required

Politics

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The public will once again be allowed in the Rhode Island State House starting next month, however, it will be on a limited basis.

The State House closed roughly one year ago because of the pandemic, and since then, only legislators and staff have been allowed inside.

A spokesperson for Gov. Dan McKee told 12 News Friday that the State House will be partially reopened on June 1.

The building will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Even though the state lifted its mask mandate for residents who are fully vaccinated, the State House is requiring everyone to wear masks in all common areas because they will not be requiring proof of vaccination for visitors and employees.

Visitors will also have to sign in and receive a temperature check before being allowed inside.

Most of the State House common areas will be open, however, some wings of the building will be roped off to ensure the building doesn’t exceed capacity.

Wedding and wedding photo appointments will also resume on June 1, while tours and other scheduled in-person activities may resume at the office’s discretion.

Due to the State House’s hours of operation, a spokesperson for the R.I. House of Representatives confirmed the public will not be allowed to attend any hearings, committee meetings or other events that take place past 3 p.m. Those hearings and events will be available on Capitol TV.

This comes after R.I. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea sent McKee a letter urging him to provide more guidance on the reopening of state offices.

“Our state is reopening so Rhode Islanders and businesses can begin returning to normal after more than a year of various restrictions in their daily lives,” Gorbea wrote. “If we are wiling to say businesses and their employees should return to their operations, how is state government not prepared to do so as well?”

Gorbea also reopened all of the offices under her own control before a date was set to partially reopen the State House.

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