Rhode Island

Raimondo Announces New Criteria for Moving RI Into Phase 2 of Reopening Economy

Phase 2 could start at the beginning of June, providing "everything goes well," the governor said Friday

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Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Friday, new criteria for moving the state forward into Phase 2 of reopening the economy.

During her daily news conference, Raimondo said Phase 2 could start at the beginning of June, providing "everything goes well."

Phase 1 of reopening Rhode Island's economy began May 8 when the state's stay-at-home order was lifted.

The governor said moving between phases is dependant on hospital capacity, the number of new hospitalizations, the rate of spread of the novel coronavirus and the doubling rate of hospitalizations.

"In general, you should think about a month between phases," Raimondo said.

When asked about the previous goal of a two-week phase, the governor said the time frame was not definitive.

"I don't set the goal posts. The virus sets the goal posts," she said.

Health officials announced 11 new deaths from the novel coronavirus on Friday, bringing the death toll to 479. There were 203 additional positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 12,219.

On Thursday, Raimondo announced that summer camps could be open starting June 29, with restrictions, but that date could be subject to change if the number of coronavirus cases increases.

"It's not going to be just like last year," Raimondo said.

The governor said summer camps will be asked to keep kids in small groups and with the same instructors.

On Wednesday, Raimondo announced that Rhode Island will distribute thousands of masks and disinfectant products to businesses as the state gradually reopens its economy.

Starting next week, businesses with 50 or fewer employees will be able to qualify for the free supplies so long as they’ve completed a plan for how it plans to prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace, she said.

That includes retailers, which reopened last weekend, and restaurants, which will be allowed to start offering outdoor dining with strict restrictions on Monday.

Raimondo said the state is prepared to hand out around 500,000 masks and disinfectant products.

She said the state also has 500 laptops available to give out to small businesses with fewer than 25 workers as well as another 500 laptops to help with distance learning efforts. The computers were donated by Microsoft, she said.

Raimondo also said Wednesday that tourists arriving in Rhode Island this summer may be tested for the coronavirus.

The governor said she’s considering imposing the requirement to allow the state, which depends heavily on tourism, to enjoy some of the traditional summer boost from visitors.

Raimondo also added that she doesn’t foresee continuing the 14-day self- quarantine for anyone arriving from out-of-state through the summer.

"The honest answer is that we don’t yet have a summer policy," she said.

NBC10 Boston and Associated Press
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