Rhode Island will enter Phase 3 of its reopening plan on Tuesday but restrictions will remain on social gatherings amid a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases, Gov. Gina Raimondo said.
In a press conference Monday, Raimondo said the state was able to further ease restrictions due to a continued decline in COVID-19 cases. However, increases in the amount of people allowed to gather in social settings would be smaller than expected due to the overall spike in cases across the country.
In Phase 3, the maximum number of people allowed at private, indoor social gatherings will be expanded to 25. Outdoors, the maximum people allowed to gather socially will be 50.
The number of people allowed at indoor weddings will be capped at 50. Up to 100 people will be allowed at outdoor weddings. Raimondo said people who organized weddings in July based on previous, higher projections for maximum guests can contact the Department of Business Regulations and exceptions might be made.
At public gatherings such as musical performances, the number of people allowed will be capped at 125 indoors and 250 outdoors. The governor earlier said there would be no cap on outdoor events, but said Monday she had to keep restrictions in place to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
While most businesses have already been allowed to reopen in Phase 2, the governor has said in Phase 3, "essentially everything will be reopened in some form or fashion."
Raimondo urged people to follow guidelines on social gatherings during the July 4 holiday weekend, reiterating that gatherings of over 250 outdoors are not allowed.
Bars, which Raimondo called hot-spots for the virus, will see no changes in Phase 3. Such businesses can only serve customers in seats, and not at the bar.
In the next phase, movie theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, museums and cultural institutions will be able to reopen at 66% capacity or 100 square feet per person, Raimondo said a couple of weeks ago.
During Phase 3, no-contact and low-contact youth and adult sports such as baseball, softball, tennis and golf will be allowed to be played in stable groups of the same players and coaches with no limit on overall group size.
Games will be able to be played between teams within Rhode Island and outside the state as long as there is no stay at home order in the other state, Raimondo said.
Spectators will be allowed at games but no more than two spectators per player and they must wear masks.
Meanwhile, Raimondo said people traveling to Rhode Island from a state with a coronavirus positivity rate of greater than 5% will be asked to quarantine for 14 days. If such travelers can produce negative tests results from within the past 72 hours, they will not be asked to quarantine.
In addition, the governor said she would extend the state's executive order on wearing masks until August 3.
Raimondo urged people in their 20s to practice social distancing, saying the state had saw a 60- to 70-percent increase in coronavirus cases last week among people in that age group.
"You guys aren't following the rules," she said. "We need you to do better."
The governor's executive order on Phase 2 expires at midnight Monday.