RI Extends Business Restrictions, Social Distancing Measures Until May 8

Restrictions on social gatherings and business operations will remain in effect for at least another month

Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Tuesday business restrictions and social distancing measures had been extended until at least early May, as the state announced three new deaths from the novel coronavirus.

In a press conference, Raimondo said orders banning social gatherings of more than five people and requiring restaurants to close to dine-in customers would be extended until May 8.

In addition, public recreation services and entertainment businesses -- such as movie theaters and zoos -- as well as close-contact businesses, such as salons, would remain closed until the same day, the governor said.

An order requiring anyone traveling to Rhode Island, including residents coming back from elsewhere, to quarantine for two weeks would also be extended to May 8.

The measures -- meant to promote social distancing -- were originally slated to end April 18.

The moves came as health officials announced that three more people had died of the novel coronavirus, bringing the state's death toll from the virus to 30.

The three fatal cases were two people in their 70s and one in their 90s. One of the people in their 70s was a resident at the Oak Hill Center in Pawtucket. The other two people were residents at the Golden Crest Nursing Centre in North Providence.

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Health officials also reported 147 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 1,229.

Raimondo urged residents to continue practicing social distancing, emphasizing that anyone feeling sick should not be going out, including essential workers.

"It is not okay to put on a mask and go to work," she said.

The governor urged anyone who feels sick to get tested, saying she would liek to see the number of tests ramp up in the state.

A new drive-through testing center opened up in the parking lot of the Twin River Casino in Lincoln on Monday.

Raimondo earlier in the week announced that CVS Health had rolled out the free testing site, which will be by-appointment only, that could provide results in as little as 15 minutes.

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