Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced new restrictions on businesses Sunday as health officials reported 17 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 83.
In a news conference, Raimondo said she had signed an executive order directing all recreational and entertainment businesses to close until further notice beginning Monday at 5 p.m.
Businesses that will be impacted include movie theaters, tattoo shops, spas, salons and barbershops, she said.
Raimondo implored Rhode Islanders not congregate within close proximity of each other.
“Knock it off,” she said, adding if residents continue to not follow social distancing guidelines, she would consider implementing a state-wide shelter-in-place order.
“I want to avoid this since many are out of work,” said Raimondo. “Every single Rhode Islander needs to be very serious and to follow these directions in the next few weeks. What we do in the next two weeks will determine our future. Don’t congregate.”
Businesses that remain open must make sure employees keep a distance of six feet from each other.
Raimondo encouraged owners and managers to greet employees by the door to make sure they are not sick.
Spot-checking by state officials will begin soon to ensure businesses follow social-distancing and cleaning guidelines, she said.
Meanwhile, students in all K-12 schools will begin distance learning Monday morning.
“Teenagers, set your alarm,” said Raimondo. “This isn’t vacation.”
Distance learning will vary in cities and towns in the state. Classes may be primarily online and some may include written work. Teachers and students will interact over video and phone calls.
“Kids deserve a chance to learn and I want to keep our teachers active and in touch with the students they interact with,” said Raimondo.
Additionally, Raimondo said the Army Corps will assist in the case of an overflow in hospitals.
Early this week, Rhode Island deployed 1,000 National Guard members to help prepare for surge capacities in the health care system.
Raimondo established teams to work on gathering supplies for hospitals and health care workers, such as masks, gowns and ventilators.
“It is not easy,” said Raimondo. “It is a fight. It is a global fight.”
Of the new cases announced Sunday, the patients range in age from their 20s to their 70s. Two of the 17 people are hospitalized.
Officials say approximately 2,750 people in the state have been instructed to self-quarantine.