Bar areas reopened for dining, social gathering limit increased in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Rhode Island is easing more restrictions around social gatherings and for businesses starting Friday.

Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor announced at Thursday’s COVID-19 briefing led by the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) that bar areas will be allowed to reopen to dining and capacity limits will increase at certain places.

Beginning Friday, restaurants will be allowed to reopen bar areas to a maximum of four people per party with 6 feet of spacing, or 3 feet with barriers. Patrons can only dine for a maximum of 90 minutes, and cannot stay past 11 p.m.

Venues of assembly, including houses of worship, have had capacity bumped up to 40% from 25%, as long as there are 6 feet of spacing between people and a maximum of 125 people indoors.

The state has also increased the social gathering limit to two households indoors, and three households outdoors. Previously, it was recommended that people only gather with their single household.

The Rhode Island Hospitality Association released a statement, saying they’re “encouraged by the decision to lift some restrictions so that businesses can serve limited, socially-distant customers at the bar.”

But the Ocean State Coalition, a group of restaurant and business owners in the state, along with the Federal Hill Commerce Association is calling on the state to review lifting further restrictions on a weekly basis.

“We need to have flexibility, goals and ability to ensure the continued resurgence of our small business community.”

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Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island