RI Expanding Rapid Testing, Vaccine Access as Mask Mandate Takes Effect

State health officials are looking to help residents in advance of holiday gatherings

In advance of holiday gatherings, Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee said the state is expanding access to rapid testing and COVID-19 primary vaccine series and booster doses.

A test site will open Monday at the Chapel View Shopping Center in Cranston. It will be open seven days a week for rapid testing by appointment only. To make an appointment visit Additional rapid testing sites will open in the coming weeks.

For residents who are asymptomatic but want to get tested before the holidays, the state is expanding access to rapid testing at six existing sites. Testing is also available for symptomatic people at these locations:

  • Barrington Shopping Center
  • Blackstone Valley Community Health
  • Cranston Parkade Storefront
  • Rhode Island Convention Center Ticket Booth
  • Smithfield VFW
  • Warwick Shopping Plaza

People must make appointments to be tested at these sites at

State health officials have also allocated 100,000 COVID-19 self-tests to community partners in Rhode Island's hardest-hit communities, and are working to obtain 1 million additional tests for broader distribution.

McKee said the state will hold community based COVID-19 vaccination clinics Tuesday in Providence, Newport, Central Falls and Westerly. Registration is recommended for these clinics.

The state also announced that the Sockanosset Cross Road and East Providence vaccination sites will continue operating at least through the end of December.

To make a vaccination appointment and to get additional information about the COVID-19 vaccine, go to or call the state's COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment line at 844-930-1779.

Gov. Dan McKee made the announcement Saturday.

McKee's announcement comes as a partial mask mandate takes effect across the state.

Beginning Monday, the state is requiring masks for workers and patrons at restaurants, entertainment venues and restaurants that have a capacity of more than 250 people, regardless of their vaccination status.

Smaller venues, as well as most other private workplaces, will have to require masks or proof of vaccination. Private businesses may continue to set stronger mask or vaccination rules for their own establishments.

McKee has said the mandate will be revisited in 30 days. The Democrat said last week the change is needed to address a rise in new cases that is putting a strain on area hospitals.

The state is averaging about 1,068 new COVID-19 cases a day, up from 899 a day two weeks ago, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 85% of residents have received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine; 74% are fully inoculated.

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