Some Rhode Island businesses are reopening or increasing capacity now that Gov. Gina Raimondo's three week "pause" to help control the latest coronavirus surge has ended.
The Democratic governor decided to lift the pause because of what she called "sustained decreases" in percent positivity rates which it is hoped will stop hospitals from being flooded with coronavirus patients.
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Businesses including gyms, casinos and indoor recreation facilities are allowed to reopen Monday. Restaurants are allowed to increase indoor capacity from 33% to 50%.
In-person learning will still be allowed for pre-K through eighth grade and high schools will be limited.
Social gatherings involving people from different households remain prohibited.
Raimondo on Friday said the pause succeeded in slowing the rise in cases and hospitalizations, noting that the state’s daily percentage of positive COVID tests has dropped to 4.4% from 10% just a few weeks ago.
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"After a few months of numbers ticking up week after week, we're starting to see our numbers turn around and begin to trend in the right direction," Raimondo said during her Friday news conference. "For the first time in over two months, all three arrows are pointing down. That's a big deal."
Still, Raimondo urged Rhode Islanders to remain cautious, especially as the holidays approach and residents are tempted to travel or socialize outside their household.
"I'm asking you, please, to celebrate with the people that you live with, and bear in mind that outside is much safer than inside, and of course, you want to be wearing your masks," Raimondo said.