Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Rhode Island, US, to lift stay-at-home order, some business restrictions, starting May 9. Ban on gatherings to remain in place.

This alert affects Providence, Rhode Island

This alert began 08 May 2020 12:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has issued orders allowing certain businesses to reopen, and lifting requirements for residents to stay at home, starting May 9, as part of the state's response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). All residents are encouraged to stay as close to home as possible. Authorities extended a ban on gatherings of five people or more, and requirements for travelers entering Rhode Island to self-quarantine for 14 days, through at least May 22.

Starting May 9, the state will move into Phase 1 of its reopening plan. Retail stores, including clothing, sporting goods, and book stores, will be allowed to reopen while limiting the number of customers within the store to one per every 28 square meters (300 square feet), and ensuring proper distance between customers and between employees. Elective medical procedures may resume, and employees will be allowed to go to their offices for a limited time in necessary cases. Places of worship may reopen for groups of up to five people. Employers must enhance sanitation and screen their workers for symptoms. Some state parks will open.

All retail stores are encouraged to provide delivery and pickup services as much as possible, and office workers should continue to work from home. Until at least May 22, other nonessential businesses will remain closed, including recreation and entertainment venues, personal care businesses, and fitness centers. Restaurants, cafes, and bars can continue operating only for delivery and pickup services. Essential businesses, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and those related to food, security, transport, media, and critical manufacturing, can continue operating. All residents must wear a face covering when in public and maintain a proper distance from others.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. 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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