Rhode Island Shuts Down Dine-in Service, Limits Gatherings

Health officials have so far reported 20 cases of the coronavirus in the state

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Dine-in service at all restaurants, bars, cafes and coffee shops has been suspended in Rhode Island, and gatherings will be restricted to no more than 25 people.

Gov. Gina Raimondo made the announcement in a news conference Monday morning. The order goes into effect Tuesday, and will last at least until March 30.

"This is a serious step because we're confronting a serious crisis," Raimondo said. "I want to be very clear about this, we are directing all Rhode Island to avoid nonessential crowds…Eating out is not essential, getting your hair done is not essential."

"If the RIPTA bus pulls up, and you see that there are a half dozen people on there, do not get on."

Health officials have so far reported 20 cases of the coronavirus in the state. Raimondo has announced that schools will take their spring break this week and will be closed after.

Teachers have been asked to make themselves available to their colleagues and superintendents to prepare for online distance learning, if needed. 

Officials have also announced that all child care centers will be closed as of Monday.

On Sunday, Gov. Raimondo added that over 2,000 people are in self-quarantine. 

The state says that as of Saturday, they were testing up to 100 people a day for coronavirus. 

"It is critical right now that people not be a part of gatherings or crowds of where there are 25 people or more," director of health Nicole Alexander-Scott said. "We need everyone to understand the importance of this timing right now.

Raimondo strongly urged residents to continue “radical social distancing” and to stay home when sick. 

Additionally, all child care centers in the state will close down for the week as of Monday. All YMCA, Boys and Girls Club Centers, day care and child care facilities will be closed. The decision was made after the closure of all schools to implement social distancing. 

Details on assisting vulnerable populations such as the elderly and students who rely on public school meals will be made by mayors and town managers. 

Gov. Raimondo said that each town and city is working on a plan to either prepare meal deliveries or a meal pick-up location. 

If you are feeling sick, call your primary care provider to make an appointment or call the state’s COVID-19 hotline. 

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