As economy reopens, mass vaccination sites wind down

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island officials on Thursday announced plans to start ramping down operations at some of the state’s mass vaccination sites in favor of smaller clinics – a day before most remaining coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Operations at the Middletown site will start winding down this weekend, while operations at the Woonsocket site will start getting reduced the following weekend, Tom McCarthy, head of the state’s COVID-19 response said at a news conference.

The people who work at those sites will be redeployed to other places as the state continues its vaccination efforts.

Gov. Daniel McKee struck an optimistic tone with the state ready to allow most businesses to operate at 100% capacity, including nightclubs, casinos and standing bar areas.

Restrictions are also being lifted at houses of worship, funeral homes and offices.

There will also be no limits on social gatherings.

“So I think tomorrow is the tomorrow that many many people across our state have been waiting for since the pandemic began,” the Democratic governor said. “Tomorrow, Rhode Island, with few exceptions, will be reopened. The plexiglass is coming down, and most establishments will be at full capacity.”

Regulations are being relaxed because more than 70% of the state’s adults over the age of 18 have now received at least one dose of a vaccine, he said. The state is still pressing people who have not been vaccinated to get a shot, McKee said.

Those fully vaccinated will not have to wear a mask in most public places, except in educational, health care and mass transportation settings.

State Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott recommended that even people who have been vaccinated continue to carry a mask with them in case they find themselves in a situation where one is required.

McCarthy also recommended people carry their vaccinations cards, or a copy or digital image, as some businesses may still require proof of vaccination.

However, the state will not be issuing so-called “vaccine passports,” McKee said.

The Department of Health on Thursday reported fewer than 100 new confirmed cases and no new deaths. The daily positivity rate was less than 1%.


Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island