Governor Gina Raimondo announced today during her weekly press briefing that the “pause” will continue for another week, through Sunday, December 20.
Rhode Island entered a two-week “pause” on November 30.
Governor Raimondo said, “if we stay home for one more week and honor the pause, I believe it will have the impact that we need”.
Governor Raimondo then said “we can’t go from pause to flipping a switch” and announced a post-pause phase beginning Monday, December 21st.
Dr. Philip Chan from the Rhode Island Department of Health announced how the COVID-19 vaccine will be given out in Rhode Island. The FDA is preparing to approve the vaccine today, Chan says vaccinations in Rhode Island could begin next week.
Rhode Island Department of Health reported today 946 new positive cases, 14 new fatalities, and 466 hospitalizations.
The Governor provided the following information in her COVID-19 email on Thursday evening;
“The data shows that our two-week pause is starting to work – mobility is decreasing, and there are early signs that percent positive is turning around. But cases are still too high, and if we lift the pause now, we risk negating the impacts that we know will result from sustained decreases in mobility.
That’s why today I announced that we are extending the pause one more week, to Sunday, December 20. You can watch the six-minute video below for a brief description of what we’re doing and why.
I know that this is going to be difficult. That’s why we’re extending further financial aid for those affected:
- For families, we’re extending the additional $200 weekly unemployment benefit to cover the third week of the pause. You don’t need to do anything to claim this benefit. Any Rhode Islander who certifies for unemployment for the week of December 13 will automatically get the additional $200.
- For businesses, we’re extending the deadline to apply for financial relief until midnight on Monday, December 14. If you’re qualified and in an industry impacted by the pause, and you apply by Monday night, you’ll get a check. It’s a very simple application – just go to tax.ri.gov and check off a few boxes. Additionally, every business that receives relief through that program will automatically get a second check for half the amount of the first, to provide relief for the one-week extension.
After the end of the pause, we aren’t going to flip a switch and go back to where we were, or we’ll end up back here in a few weeks. Instead, we’re going to slowly relax some of the restrictions of the pause and measure their effect on our cases. You can see in the graphic above what restrictions will be changed after the pause, starting on December 21.
If we continue staying home as much as possible for one more week – if we all think about ways we can limit our mobility in our own lives for a little bit longer – it will make the impact we need to slow the spread of COVID-19. The most important thing you can do right now is to protect your family by following the guidance and staying away from social gatherings for just a little bit longer.
We’re all in this together.
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This story is developing.