Raimondo says she doesn’t expect mask wearing to end for at least another 5 or 6 months

On Tuesday, RIDOH reported 26 new deaths associated with COVID-19  and 152 positive cases since Sunday. 

PROVIDENCE, RI (WLNE) – Gov. Gina Raimondo said on Tuesday that Rhode Islanders are starting to learn to live with COVID-19.

“Everything about this [Memorial Day] weekend is a good news story, so thank you Rhode Islanders,” Raimondo said. “We are learning to live with the virus.”

Gov. Raimondo added that over the holiday weekend people mostly followed the social distancing rules. People were outside, but large groups didn’t need to be broken up, she said.

The “Crush COVID-19” mobile app that was recently launched has been downloaded by 35,000 people, according to Raimondo. A second version of the app debuts next week.

“Please download it,” Raimondo pleaded. “Try it for a week or two.”

Raimondo said on Friday that hair salons/barbershops, gyms, and outdoor activities could reopen when phase two starts on June 1.

She continued that statement on Tuesday.

“It is my intention to start Phase 2 on June 1, a reopening of almost every part of our economy,” Raimondo said. “I am 100% confident we can do this safely but it’s even more important to follow the rules.”

Some of those rules Raimondo mentioned include:

  • Avoid large crowds
  • Avoid being close to people for long periods of time
  • Stay in if sick
  • Wash hands constantly
  • Obey social distancing

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) didn’t release any new COVID-19 state data on Monday due to Memorial Day. On Tuesday, RIDOH reported 26 new deaths associated with COVID-19  and 152 positive cases since Sunday.

There were 73 new positive cases reported by RIDOH Tuesday. RIDOH says 79 would have been reported Monday.

With test sites being closed Monday RIDOH Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said that they expected a drop in numbers.

That brings the state’s total to 14,210 cumulative cases and 634 deaths. There are currently 226 people in the hospital, 50 are in the ICU, and 36 require a ventilator, according to state health data.

Of the 13 new deaths reported Tuesday 1 person was in their 60s, 4 in their 70s, 3 in their 80s, 5 in their 90s, according to Dr. Alexander-Scott.

“There’s a lot of suffering right now,” Raimondo said of Rhode Island reaching over 600 COVID-19 deaths. “I want us all to be mindful of that.”

The governor asked people to add wearing masks/face coverings to their daily routine if they haven’t already.

“The data is in; mask-wearing works,” Raimondo said. “It’s going to protect you, but it’s going to protect you from getting someone else sick.” She added that she doesn’t expect mask-wearing or social distancing guidance to end for at least 5 or 6 months.

ABC6 asked people that were enjoying the weather Tuesday how they feel about wearing masks for the foreseeable future.

“The sooner we can be done with this whole thing, the better, so if a mask is preventing it, that’s what I’ll do.”

Lauren Parola of Providence said while she expects to get some odd tan lines this summer, she understands the importance of mask-wearing.

“I mean, obviously I would prefer not to (wear a mask). But if I’m walking around I still do it because it’s for other people, it’s not just for myself.”

Others felt the same way.

“When I go to a store, or when I enter a restaurant now for the reservations, drugstores, markets… yeah I wear them, and I think you should,” said Doug Ford of Providence.

While some see masks a nuisance in the warm weather, others have found ways to adapt.

“I pull it up, take a few breaths, stop for a minute then, you know, go on my way. You just make the best of it,” said Lisa Primiano of Jamestown.

Some are counting down the days to take their mask off for good.

“I don’t like it, it’s warm, it’s uncomfortable. I do understand the purpose behind it, but I don’t like it, and I hope it doesn’t last too long,” said Laurie Spooner of Scituate.

The Governor said Friday that more details for phase two were supposed to be released Tuesday. But on Tuesday, she said the state is still receiving feedback from hair salons and gyms.  She added that more specific guidelines will be posted to ReopeningRI.com later this week.

A Facebook Town Hall for offices, gyms, restaurants, and personal services will be held later this week on the Commerce Rhode Island Facebook Page. 

Gov. Raimondo is expected to talk more about youth sports on Thursday. Her press conferences for the week are set for 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and 1 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island