PROVIDENCE, RI — As coronavirus cases continue to climb in Rhode Island, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced seven new regulations to help slow the spread of second wave of the virus.
“I’m confident that these targeted interventions will make a difference,” Raimondo said. “The more people comply, the less we have to do.”
Surges of infections are being seen throughout the Northeast, and Raimondo said the new regulations are in line with those recently implemented in neighboring states.
A summary of the new regulations can be found below. All new regulations go into effect Sunday and will last two weeks.
Stay-at-home advisory: All Rhode Islanders are asked to be in their homes with only members of their own households from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekends.
Restaurants, bars, gyms and other recreation facilities must be closed by 10 p.m. on weekdays and 10:30 p.m. on weekends.
Indoor capacity at entertainment and recreation facilities such as movie theaters and churches is limited to 50 percent, with a maximum of 125 people. Outdoor capacity at these venues is reduced to 66 percent, with a maximum of 150 people.
Catered events are limited to 25 people indoors or 75 people outdoors. Weddings that are already planned for the next two weeks may receive an exemption if the organizers reach out to the Department of Business Regulation.
Big box stores, malls and retailers over 30,000 square feet are returned to phase two capacity: one person per 150 square feet.
All nonessential business travel should be postponed or canceled.
Masks are required at all times a person is with people outside their household, which includes outdoors or at the gym.
Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, the director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, said the problem remains clear: Rhode Islanders are socializing more than they should, and not doing so safely.
“Too many people are a part of too many groups,” Alexander-Scott said, which allows for the “invisible spread” of the virus amid those who are asymptomatic.
The average positive case of coronavirus now has five close contacts, Alexander-Scott continued, up from three in June, which may not seem like a large increase, but is enough to be of concern.
“Almost doubling the number of people exposed … it’s very significant when we’re seeing 500 cases per day,” she said.
Raimondo said the overnight advisory is in place to encourage Rhode Islanders to keep their guard up, saying the longer people spend time together and the later they are out, the more likely they are to “slip up” and forget to wear a mask, share food or otherwise come in close contact.
While all Rhode Islanders are asked to stay home at night, Dr. Alexander-Scott asked the state’s older population — those at the highest risk from the virus — to re-evaluate their daily schedules and stay home as much as possible, only going out for essential errands such as doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and pharmacy visits.
This article originally appeared on the Cranston Patch