Rhode Island will lift restrictions on many businesses and activities next week, allowing indoor dining at restaurants and youth sports as the state sees a decrease in new coronavirus cases.
In a news conference, Gov. Gina Raimondo said she expects to begin Phase 2 of her reopening plan Monday. During this phase, retail stores will be able to allow more people into stores, gyms will reopen, and personal care services such as hair salons and nail salons will be allowed to open.
The governor said Phase 2 would see reopenings in every part of the economy except large group gatherings.
The state has not seen any significant spikes or increases in coronavirus cases since it implemented Phase 1 of reopening a few weeks ago, according to Raimondo.
"It is my intention to begin (Phase 2) on Monday, June 1st, and you should feel confident that were a good place to be able to do that, " she said.
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.
Barber shops and hair salons and other personal care businesses will be allowed to serve customers on an appointment-only basis. Gathering in waiting areas will be discouraged, and shared materials such as magazines in waiting areas will be eliminated.
Raimondo said summer youth sports would be allowed in Phase 2, but added groups must be comprised of 15 participants or less. League sports and tournaments will not be allowed in this phase, she said.
Also in Phase 2, social gatherings will be allowed to increase to 15 people.
Domestic travel restrictions will be relaxed, but the 14-day quarantine will still stand for residents returning to Rhode Island from an area still under stay-at-home restrictions.
In Phase 2, all 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.
In an effort to get more Rhode Islanders back to work, the governor said office-based businesses can allow up to 33% of their workforce to return, but working from home is still encouraged.
Child care services will also resume June 1.
Raimondo said casinos would allowed to reopen in early to mid-June, and said details would be provided Friday.
More information on Phase 2 of the reopening plan can be found here.
As of Thursday, the state had reported 14,494 COVID-19 cases, including 677 fatalities.
Raimondo stressed the need to continue wearing masks and face coverings, social distancing, frequent hand washing and to stay home if people aren't feeling well.
"The more we be open the economy the more important it is that we follow the rules. Wear your masks," she said.
The governor urged residents to download and use the Crush Covid app to keep track of contacts with people. The state hopes the app will play a key role in its contact tracing efforts.