One new case of COVID-19 in R.I and restaurants ordered to close
Additionally, Providence Place Mall is shut down until further notice starting Tuesday.
PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) – In a press conference on Monday, it was announced that the state has one new confirmed case of COVID-19 and all dine-in restaurants are being ordered to close starting Tuesday until March 30.
Director of Health, Doctor Alexander-Scott, said the new case of COVID-19 in the state is a woman in her 40s, who is currently hospitalized and currently in isolation.
This case brings the total number in Rhode Island to 21.
Alexander-Scott said at the Department of Health is currently investigating the source of illness for the infected woman.
Governor Raimondo, who opened the conference, urged Rhode-Islanders to avoid non-essential crowds and directed restaurant employees who offer take-out or delivery to stay home if they are sick.
Raimondo also urged restaurant managers to enforce this protocol.
Raimondo noted that unemployment and TDI claims have “skyrocketed” as expected and will be proposing an Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help local small businesses who are being forced to remain closed.
The Governor did not have an answer regarding school closings but said she plans on making an announcement sometime soon.
Mayor Elorza, who was also in attendance, announced that amid concerns of a further outbreak, Providence Place Mall will be closed until further notice starting on Tuesday.
ABC6 reached out to a restaurant owner who recently had to lay off close to 30 workers because of the new protocol.
“We’ve been here 96 years, we’ve never experienced anything like this, even during the depressions,” said Bob Antignano, owner of Angelo’s restaurant on Federal Hill.
“We’ve never laid a person off in 96 years, so this is pretty dramatic for us,” he said.
Although The Governor made the announcement Monday that all dine-in restaurants must only do take-out or delivery, Antignano decided to shut down on Sunday in order to keep his workers safe.
“We want to make sure they’re safe and everything is good so that in two weeks, or three weeks or four weeks, they come back and we’re fully staffed,” said Antignano.
“There’s absolutely no right way to do this. Our hearts break for our staffs,” said Ric Simone.
Ric Simone, who heads the Federal Hill Commerce Association that represents more than 50 restaurants on Federal Hill.
Simone says some spots don’t have enough staffing to fulfill takeout orders, and might not last.
At Angelos’s, their staffing will just be Antignano cooking, and his daughter taking orders.
The two are staying optimistic.