Governor urges Rhode Islanders to stay home for Thanksgiving and prepare for pause
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — With cases and hospitalizations spiking, Governor Raimondo is pleading with people to take the guidance on Thanksgiving and the two-week pause seriously.
Joe Burgio says the pandemic is changing his family’s Thanksgiving plans.
“Definitely not going anywhere,” said the Warwick resident. “I’m having it with my immediate household only.”
That also applies to the upcoming two-week pause.
“Being more careful, doing my best to limit where I go,” Burgio said. “I tried to stock up on certain supplies in advance.”
That’s exactly what Gov Raimondo hopes people will do to prepare for the pause.
“Do not have a big bash to get ready for the pause,” Raimondo warned. “It’s amazing to me how many people have asked, ‘Hey, is it okay if we have one last hurrah, one last big dinner, one last big get-together? No, absolutely not. The whole point is to stay with the people you live with.”
But how can they measure if the pause is going smoothly?
The governor says testing, business inspections, and mobility tracking…sparking privacy concerns for some.
“It’s understandable,’ Burgio said. “I think we all have reservations regarding security and where our phones are tracking.”
But the governor says they’re using publicly available data from sources like Google and highway traffic.
“That’s already being tracked, and we’re just putting it into our model,” she said.
Raimondo also announced Wednesday $100 million in new funding for people impacted by the pause, with half going to small businesses and the other half directly to unemployed people, who would receive an additional $200 for each of the two weeks of the pause.
She also announced that state-run testing capacity is expected to double over the next few weeks.
And she says starting December 2, every Rhode Islander can get tested through the portal, and get a text when the results are ready.
The governor is encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested within 24 hours, and hoping this latest testing expansion will help make that easier.
“I think this is going to be a game-changer,” she said. “It’s quick, it’s easy, less use of phone calls, text. Here’s the thing: the minute you get your results if you’re positive, go home.”
Burgio says everyone should be at home anyway.
“You see your loved ones via Zoom or Skype this Thanksgiving and Christmas so you can see them in person alive and well next,” he said.