The number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Rhode Island now stands at 49, an increase of six, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced on Friday.
There are now 2,015 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, an increase of 288, Raimondo said at her daily news conference.
Since residents started getting laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic, the governor said the state has received 132,000 unemployment claims with as many of 14,000 claims a day.
"We're going to do everything we can to get an unemployment insurance check or benefit into your hands," Raimondo said.
The system is overwhelmed and claims are taking one to two weeks to process, the governor said. She also urged residents who are still employed not to quit their jobs just to get on unemployment.
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"Please do not quit your job because you think it's going to be easy to get unemployment insurance benefits," Raimondo said.
To further protect the health of those who need to venture outdoors, the governor announced that the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority is reducing bus capacity to 15 passengers. Those riding buses will also be required to wear cloth face masks.
An executive order signed Friday allows Raimondo to protect businesses that have been closed without being penalized while their employees collect unemployment.
On Thursday, Raimondo announced that Ocean State residents ordered into quarantine who leave their homes will be issued fines. She signed an executive order directing health officials to develop regulations to enforce penalties.
If a person knowingly violates a quarantine order, "You will be punished," she said.
Earlier this week, Raimondo announced that social distancing measures would remain in place through at least May 8.