‘We need a hard pause’: Governor announces new restrictions, two-week pause to stop spread
PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) – To stop the spread of coronavirus as cases continue to climb, Governor Gina Raimondo announced new restrictions Thursday and a two-week pause to start after Thanksgiving.
“This is only gonna work if we decide to do it. So if you’re out there now asking yourself how you can get around the rules, this isn’t gonna work. I’ll be back here in three weeks and it’ll be a full state lockdown,” Raimondo said.
The last round of restrictions have been extended another week, Raimondo said, which means a mask mandate is still in effect along with capacity limits and restaurants closing early.
Raimondo added new restrictions during her briefing Thursday. Effective immediately, the social gathering limit has been lowered to a single household, and big box stores must come up with ways to navigate Black Friday shopping safely, and also must require customers wear masks inside.
“For whatever set of reasons, although we all seem to think we’re following the rules, clearly we’re not because we are in a really bad place,” Raimondo said.”
She also announced a two-week pause to start the Monday after Thanksgiving, November 30.
High schools will have the option to move to virtual learning, at the discretion of superintendents, but Pre-K through 8th-grade students will continue going to school.
“There is no evidence to suggest that it’s unsafe, and in fact, there’s mounting evidence to suggest our children are truly suffering by not being in school,” Raimondo said.
Child care centers, manufacturers, and construction will stay open, along with personal services and health care.
Indoor dining will be capped at 33% capacity and houses of worship will be capped at 25% capacity or a maximum of 125 people.
Offices, colleges and universities, and bar areas will close, along with recreational venues, which include theaters, bowling alleys, and Twin River Casino.
With the exception of NCAA and professional sports, indoor sporting facilities will close and sporting events will come to halt.
The most recent COVID-19 data from the Rhode Island Department of Health shows cases continue to climb, with 921 new cases reported Thursday and 4 deaths. The weekly percent positive is nearly up to 6%.
Raimondo said hospitals are quickly running out of COVID-19 beds, with 97% of them currently full.
“We need a hard pause if this pause is gonna work,” Raimondo said.