Child care centers in Rhode Island can reopen with safety guidelines in place, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Monday, as the state continues to resume activities amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
In a press conference, Riamondo said facilities that have had their reopening plans approved by the state are able to reopen, effective immediately.
"It's been really tough, and I hear you, and that's why we're reopening child care centers," Raimondo told parents.
Raimondo said the move would be a boon for the economy, because it would allow more parents to go back to work.
The governor said over 600 child care centers in the state had provided their reopening plans and been approved.
She said reopening child care centers was possible due to promising numbers in the state's fight against the virus.
More on the Coronavirus in Rhode Island
The state on Monday reported 67 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to 14,991. There were two additional deaths, bringing the death toll to 720.
Despite the numbers, Raimondo said the percentage of positive tests was trending downward, a key metric in determining the pace of reopening. She said on Saturday, just 2.5 percent of 4,000 tests reported came back positive.
The move came on the same day the state entered Phase 2 of its reopening plan, during which personal care services such as hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and massage therapists are allowed to reopen, as long as their reopening plans have been approved.
Restaurants offering indoor dining will be required to do so at 50% capacity and on a reservation-only basis. Self-serve stations such as buffets will not be allowed, and customers and staff will be required to wear masks.
Also opening Monday were gyms, Providence Place and Warwick Mall.
During Phase 2, state parks and beaches will open with capacity limitations and social distancing restrictions. There will not be restrictions on parking, lifeguards will be on duty and concessions and bathrooms and changing rooms will be able at that time.
Social gatherings will be allowed to increase to 15 people during Phase 2.
Youth sports were also able to resume on Monday with groups of 15 or fewer. No games or tournaments will be allowed.
Meanwhile, Raimondo responded after she said President Donald Trump told governors in a phone call to be "dominant" in their responses to violent protests, as protesters continue to clash with police in many cities.
Raimondo said she would work to keep residents safe, but added, "Rhetoric which is overly aggressive is actually not all that productive and incites more anger and violence."
She praised protesters who demonstrated against police brutality in Providence over the weekend for wearing masks and behaving peacefully, and asked them to continue doing so.