Photo courtesy of RI Commerce and #MaskUpRI

Governor Raimondo is tightening the requirements around wearing a face mask in public.

What’s Up Newp asked during Monday’s press briefing, “There’s a lot of confusion on when wearing a cloth mask is required and when it’s not. Have you considered simplifying the message for understanding and enforcement, for example – requiring everyone to wear a mask at all times when in public?”

On Monday, the Govenror announced she would be announcing more requirements on Tuesday, and today she did just that.

The Governor signed an Executive Order today that will take effect May 8th and and will remain in full force and effect until June 4, 2020, unless newed, modified or terminated by subsequent Executive Order.

According to the Executive Order (full executive order can be seen below);

  • Effective on Friday, May 8, 2020, any person who is in a place open to the public, whether indoors or outdoors, shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face covering unless doing so would damage the person’s health. No person under two years of age or any person whose health would be damaged thereby shall be required to wear a face covering. Face coverings are not required for people who can easily, continuously, and measurably maintain at least six (6) feet of distance from other people. Face coverings shall also not be required of those who are developmentally unable to comply, including young children who may not be able to effectively wear a mask.
  • Effective on Friday, May 8, 2020, all persons are required to wear masks or cloth face coverings at all times when inside grocery stores, pharmacies or other retail stores. All persons are also required to wear masks or cloth face coverings when providing or using the services of any taxi, car, livery, ride-sharing, or similar service or any means of mass public transit, or while within an enclosed or semi-enclosed transit stop or waiting area. Face coverings shall not be
    required of those whose health would be damaged thereby or who are
    developmentally unable to comply, including young children who may not be able to effectively wear a mask. Nothing in this Executive Order shall require a store or other place of business to refuse entry to a customer not wearing a face
  • Nothing shall prevent a person from wearing a surgical grade mask or other more protective face covering if the person is already in possession of such equipment. All persons are strongly discouraged from using higher-level respiratory protection, such as N95s, to meet the requirements of this Order; N95s and other high-level respiratory protection should be reserved for healthcare workers or others who have a federal or state requirement to wear one to perform their work safely.
  • A CDC tutorial for do-it-yourself cloth face coverings is available at:
  • I hereby authorize and direct the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) to take any action and make and enforce any rules and
    regulations necessary to implement this Order.
  • The Director of RIDOH or her designees are further authorized to assess civil penalties and enact rules and regulations in furtherance of such penalties, for violation of this Order. Such civil penalties shall be in addition to any other penalties authorized by law.

Back on April 14th; Governor Raimondo signed an executive order clarifying the state’s directives around cloth face coverings. The Executive Order said;

  • All employees of customer-facing businesses, office-based businesses, manufacturers and nonprofits, must wear cloth face coverings when they are at work.
  • Business must provide face coverings for their employees. Face coverings can include scarves, bandanas, and other homemade and non-factory-made masks.
  • Additionally, all customer-facing businesses must take steps to remind customers to wear face coverings. That means they should be putting up signs at the door reminding customers to wear a face covering inside.
  • The only exceptions from these rules are for anyone whose health would be in jeopardy because of wearing a face covering or any children under 2 years old.

Rhode Island Commerce has cloth face covering rules and resources (including where to buy them and how to make them at home).