State Watch

Partial mask mandate taking effect in Rhode Island

A partial mask mandate is set to go into effect in Rhode Island this week, with masking and proof of vaccination requirements set for some venues as omicron spreads and cases rise in the U.S.

Beginning on Monday, employees and customers will need to wear masks when inside venues with capacities of 250 people or more. These requirements will be in place for “all historical and cultural establishments, all religious and faith-based organizations, and all retail or service businesses conducting operations in indoor venues,” according to Gov. Dan McKee’s office (D-R.I.)

“The health and safety of Rhode Islanders must always be our top priority,” said McKee. 

“The comprehensive actions that my Administration is announcing today focus on what we know works to stop the spread of COVID-19 and alleviate pressures on our hospital systems,” he said. “I want to thank all the Rhode Islanders who have stepped up to get vaccinated — and I’m now urging you to get your booster shot.”

The new guidance also gives establishments the ability to enact indoor vaccine and masking requirements or give patrons the option of either providing proof of vaccination or wearing a mask.

McKee also announced that the state government will be distributing 100,000 at-home rapid COVID-19 tests, allowing for the testing of roughly 10 percent of Rhode Islanders over the next two weeks.

According to McKee’s office, Rhode Island is currently processing the highest volume of PCR tests than it has since the pandemic began.

According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, the state is currently classified as having a high level of transmission with 712.4 cases per 100,000 in the past week. Nearly 77 percent of Rhode Island’s total population is fully vaccinated and around 86 percent are partially vaccinated.

Tags COVID-19 pandemic in Rhode Island Dan McKee Rhode Island

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