Rhode Island to enter a two-week “pause” beginning November 30

During her weekly COVID-19 press briefing today, Governor Gina Raimondo announced that Rhode Island will be taking a two-week “pause” beginning Monday, November 30.

The announcement of the pause, and other new restrictions, come as Rhode Island sees COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations spike across the state.

Rhode Island Department of Health reported today 921 new positive cases (15,819 tests prior day/5.8% percent positive prior day), 4 new fatalities (total now 1,288), and 284 hospitalizations.

The Governor said that during the pause, “we will see if we are able to prevent overwhelming of our hospital system without the need for a total lockdown”.

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Here’s what the pause will look like.

Rhode Island Department of Health says that they will have details online about how the 11/30-12/13 PAUSE effects your particular sector and situations as soon as they are available at http://reopeningri.com.

More updates from the press briefing

A new social gathering limit of just your household also goes into effect immediately.

Current guidance is extended through 11/29: Early closures, current capacity restrictions in effect.

Big box stores must develop plan for #BlackFriday shoppers, pass out masks.

Governor asks Rhode Islanders to not travel for Thanksgiving. Asks Rhode Islanders to celebrate Thanksgiving with just your household. If you must travel, get tested before and after traveling, wear your mask. Governor says Rapid testing will be available at T.F. Green Airport on the Saturday and Sunday following Thanksgiving.

The Governor will host her next press briefing at 1 pm on Wednesday, November 25. Following Thanksgiving, she will be moving her weekly press briefings to every Thursday at 1 pm.

More Background

On Thursday night, Governor Raimondo sent the following out in an email to Rhode Islanders.

Over the last two months, we’ve tried to be as targeted as possible in our restrictions, so that we could keep our economy open and keep Rhode Islanders safe. Unfortunately, what we’ve done to date hasn’t been effective enough. I’ve done everything I could to avoid more severe restrictions because I know how hard it is for both people and businesses. But people aren’t following the rules and we’re left with no other options. So today, we announced both immediate changes to the current guidance and our plan for a two-week pause starting after Thanksgiving. 
We’re extending our current guidance — including early closing times for bars and restaurants and capacity restrictions in venues and big box stores — another week, through Sunday, November 29.

And for the next 10 days, we’re making two additional changes:

Effective immediately, we’re lowering the social gathering limit to a single household. This means you should not be spending time socially with anyone you don’t live with in the next 10-days, including on Thanksgiving.

In addition to the stricter capacity limits on stores over 30,000 sq. ft., we’re also requiring box stores to develop a plan for handling the increased volume of shoppers this season, including for Black Friday, and post that plan in the store. 

Just after Thanksgiving, we’ll be entering a two-week pause. This is the crux of our winter strategy. In just a two-week period, we have the ability to prevent overwhelming our hospital system without the need for a total lockdown. The image below lists the rules that will be in effect during the statewide pause from Monday, November 30 through Sunday, December 13.
None of this is easy. I know how difficult it’s going to be over the next few weeks, especially on Thanksgiving. But the loss of life we face if we don’t follow the rules is far too great. If we take the next few weeks seriously and pause our activities and our social lives for a short time, then we can get through this without the need for a full lockdown. 

We’re all in this together.

-Gina RaimondoGovernor

P.S.: Information is our greatest weapon in the fight against COVID-19. If you or someone you know wants to sign up to receive these emails, you can use this link.

Watch The Press Briefing

Looking for more COVID-19 news and information, try our new live blog – Coronavirus Live Updates: COVID-19 in Newport County and Rhode Island

This story is developing, check back for updates.

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