Providence Mayor Elorza issues new city guidance for phase one in reopening

PROVIDENCE, RI (WLNE) – Mayor Jorge Elorza on Wednesday announced an executive order effective Saturday that he says aligns current city guidance with the latest state guidance.

“We are working closely with state partners and health officials in taking a measured approach that reflects the needs of our community and keeps our children safe,” Elorza said. “It is important now more than ever that every resident and business continue to follow social distancing practices and hygiene guidelines that will prevent a second wave of cases.”

The city also urges residents to wear face coverings while using public spaces which falls in line with Gov. Gina Raimondo’s executive order that takes effect Friday.

Elorza’s executive order opens up the following to the public:

  • Providence parks, green spaces and bike paths will be open for local access and active use only.
  • Farmers markets can resume in public parks under¬†RIDEM guidance.
  • Non-essential retail establishments may open to the public, subject to all restrictions placed upon non-essential retail stores established by Executive Order of the Governor of Rhode Island.

Some retail store owners are weary about reopening on Saturday, and think it may be too soon.

“Right now I don’t feel like I want to be open,” said Elise Mischel, owner of Luli Boutique in Providence.

She’s not sure if her store will be safe to reopen because of all the high-tough surfaces in the boutique.

“It’s a very tactile thing in a boutique– there’s lots of things you want to touch. There’s beautiful fabrics, there’s leathers, there’s all sorts of things you want to touch, so it’s going to be hard to ask people not to touch everything,” said Mischel.

She plans on continuing with curbside pickup and is considering allowing one customer into the store at a time, by appointment only.

“So then if something gets touched we have time to sterilize the store for the next person,” said Mischel.

Elorza is also allowing farmers markets to reopen on Saturday under new RIDEM guidelines.

Social distancing will be enforced and customers won’t be allowed to touch produce.

“Customers can’t touch produce, you can’t eat on site,” said Ken Ayars, Chief of the Division of Agriculture at RIDEM.

He also said reusable bags will not be allowed.

There will also be a limit to the number of people allowed in the farmers market at once.

“Limiting the number of people on site– we leave up to each site, there’s no set formula. It’s up to the market manager to make sure there’s no congregating,” said Ayars.

Markets will also have to have hand washing stations or hand sanitizer on-site.

What will remain closed:

  • Fitness centers and venues of all kinds; including gyms, health clubs, spas, aquatic centers, yoga studios, martial arts studios, massage parlors, etc. shall remain closed.
  • Fields, courts, playgrounds and parking at parks will remain closed. Gatherings of any kind in parks, green spaces and bike paths will not be permitted.
  • The Providence Place Mall will remain closed.
    • Stores that offer separate entry ways (unique to the individual store) may open to the public consistent with restrictions placed upon non-essential retail stores established by Executive Order of the Governor of Rhode Island.

Also, all city buildings will remain closed and all other COVID-19 related restrictions detailed in previous executive orders will be extended through June 5, a spokesperson for the mayor said.

Restaurants are still encouraged to offer delivery, drive-thru, and pick-up services, the city says.

Gov. Raimondo’s state wide stay-at-home order will be lifted on Saturday as well.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Rhode Island