Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Rhode Island, US, extend existing coronavirus-related order through May 31. Travel and business restrictions remain in place.

This alert affects Providence, Rhode Island

This alert began 22 May 2020 18:04 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Rhode Island (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant travel and business disruptions

Summary
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has extended Executive Order 20-32 - a directive passed as part of her state's response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) - through at least May 31. The move essentially extends Phase 1 of Rhode Island's COVID-19 recovery plan, which was launched on May 9 and originally slated to expire on May 22. Under Phase 1, the Raimondo administration lifted the state's stay-at-home order, while continuing to strongly urge at-risk persons to remain in their homes to the extent possible. Moreover, certain retail businesses were allowed to reopen for in-store pick-up and limited browsing only, provided they comply with strict social distancing guidelines and allow no more than one customer per 28 square meters (300 square feet) of floor space in their establishments at a time. Nevertheless, most restrictions remain in place, with the majority of travelers entering Rhode Island for non-work-related purposes still being required to self-quarantine for 14 days and gatherings of more than five people remaining banned. Rhode Island's COVID-related state of emergency is currently scheduled to remain in force through at least June 5.

Phase 1 has also enabled elective medical procedures to resume and employees to go to their offices for a limited time in necessary cases. Restaurants, cafes, and bars can continue operating only for delivery and pickup services. Nonessential businesses that cannot meet state social distancing and capacity requirements will remain closed, including recreation and entertainment venues, personal care businesses, and fitness centers. Essential businesses, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and those related to food, security, transport, media, and critical manufacturing, can continue operating. Places of worship can operate for groups of up to five people. Some state parks have reopened. All residents must wear a face covering when in public and maintain a proper distance from others.

Significant transport and business disruptions remain likely. Authorities will likely keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing remaining restrictions. Officials could amend the orders on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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