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  • Reopening Restaurants for Outdoor Dining

    A Message from Governor Gina Raimondo:
     
     
    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.
    A week from today – May 18 – restaurants will be able to begin limited outdoor dining in addition to their take-out, delivery and drive-through operations. 
     
    As we’ve been saying, going to a restaurant is going to look and feel a bit different now. To give you an idea now, among the new rules everyone will have to follow:
     
    • Dining will be by reservation only and groups may not exceed 5 people in accordance with social gathering limits.
    • Tables must be spaced at least 8-feet apart or separated by barriers, and no more than 20 tables total will be allowed in any outdoor space
    • We're going to eliminate shared objects in favor of things like one-time-use paper menus, disposable utensils, and cashless and contactless payment methods.
    • All high-traffic areas will have to be frequently cleaned. Tables and chairs will be sanitized in between parties.  
     
    There are more specific rules and regulations we'll ask restaurants to follow, which you can find on reopeningri.com. The most important rule, however, is for the diners: stay home if you feel sick. I know that it's hard and that you want to go out, but you have to put the health of your friends, neighbors, and family first.
     
    We expect this outdoor dining approach to continue for at least a few weeks before we advance to indoor restaurant dining. The soonest we’re likely to authorize indoor dining is June 1. I’m saying this now because we want to encourage restaurants to give outdoor dining a try if they feel they’re ready. We know some restaurants won’t want to reopen with outdoor dining and that’s fine; others don’t have outdoor space and will want to explore the use of their parking lots, nearby parks, sidewalks and even streets for this purpose.
    Now is a time for kindness and empathy. As we reopen, we need think about our communities, families, and neighbors over ourselves. We can come out of our homes and get back to some limited activities – and for those of you who can, we want you to support local businesses, go to retail stores, pick up food from your favorite restaurant, go schedule a doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off. It will all feel a bit different, and we need everyone to continue taking precautions, but hopefully we can all start getting a bit closer to our old routines. 
     
    We’re all in this together.
     
    -Gina Raimondo
    Governor
     
    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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