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Governor Dan McKee announced today that the state plans to lift most guidance and restrictions on businesses by Friday, May 21, one week earlier than originally scheduled.

Beginning Friday, May 21, most businesses will be allowed to increase their indoor capacity up to 100%.

Governor McKee also announced that the state of Rhode Island will begin following CDC guidelines on masks beginning on Tuesday, May 18.

CDC Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Thursday that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, including local business and workplace guidance.

According to the CDC if you’ve been fully vaccinated;

  • You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
  • You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
    • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
    • You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
    • You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
    • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live or work in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

In general, the CDC says that people are considered fully vaccinated;

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

For now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated the CDC says that you will need to continue to do the following;

  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses.
  • If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others. You will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested within 3 days of their flight (or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months) and should still get tested 3-5 days after their trip.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system, should talk to their healthcare provider to discuss their activities. They may need to keep taking all precautions to prevent COVID-19.

For more information and updates from the CDC, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html

Press Release – Governor McKee, RIDOH Announce Updated Reopening Timeline, End to Indoor Masking for Vaccinated Individuals in Accordance with CDC Guidelines


Indoor Mask-Wearing Requirements Lifted;
Masks Required in Healthcare and Related Industries and at Business’ Discretion 

Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) are announcing that Rhode Island’s masking and social distancing requirements will be updated on Tuesday, May 18th to align with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They also announced that Rhode Island will be moving up its reopening timeline from May 28th to May 21st. 

On Thursday, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where they are still required to do so by state officials, local officials, workplaces, or businesses. People are fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after receiving a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

“I am proud that we have made enough progress vaccinating Rhode Islanders that we can safely move forward with aligning with CDC mask wearing and social distancing updates,” said Governor Dan McKee. “More than anything, I see this shift as a strong call to get vaccinated. It is only safe to unmask if you are fully vaccinated. We’ve made vaccinations available across the state. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, sign up today at vaccinateri.org.” 

Vaccinated people who want to err on the side of caution can still wear masks when around other people. If you have a condition or take medications that weaken your immune system, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should continue wearing your mask. 

“For anyone who is eligible but has not been vaccinated yet, this is one more reason to get your shot,” said Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “People who are not vaccinated are more vulnerable than ever to COVID-19. Protect yourself and the people around you by getting vaccinated. Now is the time.” 

Who still has to wear a mask and practice social distancing?

  • People who are not fully vaccinated. This includes children from 2 to 12 years of age. Children younger than 12 cannot be vaccinated.
  • Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in healthcare settings. Examples of healthcare settings include doctors’ offices, hospitals, and nursing homes.
  • Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people traveling on public transportation (for example, planes, buses, trains, etc.).
  • Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in facilities that serve people experiencing homelessness, including residents and employees.
  • Teachers, school administrators, and staff should continue to wear masks while in school, even if they are fully vaccinated.
  • Both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees and customers of businesses that require masks.

 You can make an appointment at www.vaccianteRI.org or by calling 844-930-1779. Making an appointment is the way to guarantee that you will get a shot. You do not need appointments to get vaccinated at the sites at Sockanosset Cross Road (100 Sockanosset Cross Road, Cranston), the Dunkin’ Donuts Center (1 La Salle Square, Providence), and in Middletown (1400 West Main Road, Middletown). Vaccines are also available at pharmacies throughout Rhode Island.  For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit: covid.ri.gov/vaccination.

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Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.