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  • Phase 1 of Reopening Starts May 9th. Here's What Does (and doesn't!) Change.

    A Message from Governor Gina Raimondo:

    Because of the amazing work that you and other Rhode Islanders have done to limit the spread of COVID-19, we're ready to test the waters of reopening. To be clear, life next week won't look that much different than it does right now. We are going to reopen our economy slowly and cautiously to defend against any further outbreaks. Even when the stay at home order lifts, we should still be staying close to home.
    Today, I want to give you an overview of which restrictions we're going to relax in Phase 1 and which ones we are going to renew.
    To stay up to date with Rhode Island's latest COVID-19 statistics, please check the Department of Health's new data dashboard for all the information you need about the spread of coronavirus in Rhode Island.
    The following changes will happen with the start of Phase 1 on May 9:
    • Non-critical retail stores will reopen with capacity limits.
    • Anyone who has deferred health care needs should call their doctor and ask about an in-person visit. 
    • Elective medical procedures resume under safety guidelines. 
    • Offices can start allowing people to come and go on a very limited basis.
    • Some state parks will reopen with limited parking.    
    That still leaves most of our restrictions in place. You will still need to wear a mask, you will still need to social distance, and you will still need to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. It also still leaves in place the restrictions around social gatherings. We’ve done a good job of flattening the curve, and I’m confident that we can now slowly start to reopen. But I am also mindful that we are going ahead of our neighbors, and we don't want to rush into this. So, for now, we’re still going to have to take it slow. When the stay at home order lifts tomorrow, social gatherings will remain limited to 5 people through May 22.
    In that spirit, I am also going to extend a number of my executive orders. The following orders will extend through May 22:
    • Domestic Travel: Anyone coming to Rhode Island from any other state for purpose other than work, medical treatment, or obtaining necessities by any mode of transportation must self-quarantine for 14 days. 
    • Restaurant dine-in: Restaurants, bars and cafes will remain closed to dine-in service. Wine and beer can still be sold with take-out orders. In addition, starting Saturday, we will also allow restaurants and bars to sell mixed drinks in sealed containers. 
    • Businesses closures: Recreation and entertainment businesses, such as theaters, concert venues, and museums, will remain closed. Close-contact businesses, like fitness centers and salons, will also remain closed.  
    In addition, the following executive orders will be extended to June 5:
    • International Travel: Anyone coming to Rhode Island from outside of the country must self-quarantine for 14 days. 
    • Quarantining: Anyone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus by a lab test or by a doctor who has assessed your symptoms must isolate until cleared based on RIDOH guidance. If you don’t have coronavirus symptoms but you’ve been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, you also must quarantine for 14 days.
    • Gun Permits: In keeping with a request from the RI Police Chiefs’ Association we have extended the time period that law enforcement has to complete a background for a gun permit from 7 days to 30 days.
    • Telehealth: Health insurers must cover telemedicine for primary care, specialty care and mental and behavioral health care. In addition we’ve also ordered burdensome regulations around referrals and prior authorizations that stand in the way of patients accessing the care to be relaxed.  
    We have to reopen in a smart, organized, and cautious way. That's why this first phase is really just testing the waters.I know it may be disappointing to many Rhode Islanders that we're still a long ways away from normal, but we will get there together. If we all follow the new rules while enjoying greater flexibility in Phase 1, then we'll be able to move on to Phase 2 in as soon as two weeks.  
    We’re all in this together.
    -Gina Raimondo
    P.S.: Information is our greatest weapon in the fight against COVID-19, If you or someone you know wants to sign up to receive these emails, you can use this link.

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