Face covering directives take effect

Face covering directives take effect

PROVIDENCE – Gov. Gina Raimondo and Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, made several announcements during a Saturday press briefing about the state’s response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

• Garden centers: Starting Sunday, big box stores that include garden centers are required to close open browsing and shopping options within their garden centers. Garden center sales will be temporarily limited to pickup, delivery, and appointment options – as is the case for free-standing garden centers.

• Masks: Earlier this week, the governor signed an executive order issuing clear direction about face coverings. The following directives take effect today:
- All employees of customer-facing businesses, office-based businesses, manufacturers, nonprofits and construction workers must wear cloth face coverings when they are at work.
- Additionally, all customer-facing businesses must take steps to remind customers to wear face coverings.
- The only exceptions are for anyone whose health would be in jeopardy because of wearing a face covering or any children under 2 years old.

• The RI Artist Relief Fund: The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, in cooperation with the Rhode Island Foundation and the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, announced the Rhode Island Artist Relief Fund. Created to provide grants to Rhode Island artists who are in financial distress as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the fund has awarded $126,030 in grants to support 253 Rhode Island artists. Raimondo encouraged anyone in a position to donate to the fund to visit https://www.artistcommunities.org/arf . For more information, visit https://risca.online/grants/artistrelieffund/ .

COVID-19 Data Update:
Alexander-Scott announced Saturday that Rhode Island has 317 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island’s count to 4,491. RIDOH also announced 19 additional COVID-19 associated fatalities as of Saturday. One person was in their 30s, two people were in their 50s, three people were in their 60s, four people were in their 70s, seven people were in their 80s, and two people were in their 90s. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 137. A full data summary for Rhode Island is posted online at https://ri-department-of-health-covid-19-data-rihealth.hub.arcgis.com/ .

Key messages for the public:
• Anyone who is sick should stay home and self-isolate (unless going out for testing or health care).
• The people who live with that person and who have been in direct close contact with that person should self-quarantine for 14 days after the last day that that person was in isolation. Direct close contact means being within approximately 6 feet of a person for a prolonged period.
• Help is available for people living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Visit www.RIDelivers.com for connections to groceries, home supplies, restaurants, and mutual aid groups. People can also call 2-1-1.
• When people are in public, they should wear a cloth face covering. A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It could be sewn by hand or improvised from household items such as scarves, T-shirts, or bandanas.
• Wearing a cloth face covering does not negate the need to observe social distancing requirements. We must do both to help reduce the spread of COVID-19: as of today, wear cloth face coverings and continue to respect and follow the 6-foot distancing standard.
• Groups of more than five people should not be gathering. Always avoid close personal contact with other people in public.
• Health care workers should not be going to work if they are sick (even with mild symptoms).
• People who think they have COVID-19 should call their health care provider. Do not go directly to a health care facility without first calling a health care provider (unless you are experiencing a medical emergency).
• People with general, non-medical questions about COVID-19 can visit www.health.ri.gov/covid, write to RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov, or call 401-222-8022. This is the COVID-19 Hotline that RIDOH has available to the public.

Everyone can help stop the spread of viruses in Rhode Island.
• Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.
• Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
• Stay home and do not leave your house if you are sick, unless it is for emergency medical care.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.