PROVIDENCE – Gov. Gina Raimondo lifted the state’s stay-at-home order on Saturday, May 9, but things won’t be back to normal just yet in the ocean state as restrictions on large gatherings, restaurant services and other businesses remain in place.
The governor announced Phase I of her plan to reopen some elements of the state during her press briefing on Thursday, May 7.
The news comes even as the number of positive cases of COVID 19 throughout Rhode Island continues to rise. According to data from the Rhode Island Department of Health, there were 10,530 confirmed cases as of Monday, May 4.
In northern Rhode Island, 73 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Burrillville, and 43 in North Smithfield. In Woonsocket, the count hit 331 this week.
Raimondo said that some non-critical retailers will be able to open with restrictions this weekend, and that restaurants can now sell mixed drinks with takeout and delivery orders. Some state parks will open, with limited parking.
But the ban on dine-in services will remain in place, and social gatherings will be limited to no more than five people until at least May 22. People who are able to work from home should continue to do so, Raimondo said.
The governor said that she may allow outdoor dining to begin later in Phase 1.
“We have to play it safe,” Raimondo said. “My focus is to get people back to work.”
The governor’s latest orders will also change rules governing worship services, allowing up to 10 people to attend funeral services, not including clergy. Other services must have five or less people.
The previous mandate that all Rhode Islanders wear masks in public places as of Friday, May 8 remains in effect. Retailers will be subject to a limited capacity of one customer per 300-square-feet of space, and close contact businesses, such as hairdressers, gyms and entertainment venues, will remain closed.
Travel restrictions remain in place, and those traveling into the state will still need to be quarantined for 14 days. Anyone who tests positive for the virus must quarantine, along with their contacts.
Gyms, Raimondo said, might be reopened during Phase 2 of the state’s plan.
The governor said that, overall, things across the state should not look much different than they do right now.
“This is not the time for social gatherings,” Raimondo said.“I am trusting that people are going to do the right thing and use good judgment.”