22 Bowen's
22 Bowen's. Photo provided by Newport Restaurant Group

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott from the Rhode Island Department of Health had some good news for businesses today.

Effective Sunday, January 31, the early closure advisory in the state will be lifted, meaning restaurants and other establishments will no longer need to close at 10 pm on weekdays and 10:30 pm.

Update – At 8:27 am on Friday, January 29, Matt Sheaff, a spokesman for the State’s Department of Commerce shared the following statement regarding the lifting of early closures. “Small businesses, especially our restaurants, have been hit so hard during this pandemic. Because our COVID-19 data is showing positive signs across the board, we are able to gradually relax some of the business restrictions in place. Today, Governor Raimondo will sign an executive order immediately removing the early closure requirements for businesses.”

Besides restaurants and bars, the early closure advisory is also lifted for gyms and fitness centers, indoor sporting facilities, museums, historical sites, indoor recreation and entertainment facilities, and personal service businesses.

Restaurants and other establishments will still have to follow all other current restrictions, including the closure of bar areas.

Rhode Island Department of Health reported today 618 new positive cases, 3.3% positivity rate, 9 new fatalities, and 335 hospitalizations.

Since November 8, 2020, many businesses were required to close at 10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and at 10:30 pm on Friday and Saturday.

Earlier this week, Massachusetts lifted their curfew on early closing times for bars and restaurants.

For more information on the reopening of Rhode Island, visit https://reopeningri.com/.