Today, Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health announced that vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals will no longer be required to wear masks outdoors in Rhode Island. The announcement follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) decision to revise outdoor masking guidance for summer camps on Friday, May 28.

Beginning Wednesday, June 2, vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, will not be required to wear masks outdoors in Rhode Island. However, unvaccinated individuals are still strongly encouraged to wear masks in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact (less than 6 feet apart for more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period) with other people who are not fully vaccinated.

The removal of this outdoor masking requirement applies to all ages and settings, including outdoor live performances, youth sports and summer camps. Similar to the Governor’s May 21 reopening changes, a host establishment or organization may ask customers or participants to wear masks at their discretion.

Per its most recent guidance regarding outdoor masking for summer camps, it also strongly recommended that unvaccinated individuals wear masks in areas of “substantial” or “high” transmission. There are four categories of CDC indicators and thresholds for community transmission: low, moderate, substantial, and high. To determine the level of transmission, two different indicators are used—number of cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days and percent positivity in the last seven days. Whichever value is higher is the one used to determine the transmission rate. An area of substantial transmission would be any community where there are 50-99 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period or a case positivity rate of 8-9.99%An area of high transmission is any community that can be characterized by having more than 100 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period or a case positivity rate greater or equal to 10%.

As of May 27, 2021, Rhode Island community transmission was, derived from positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (41) over the last 7 days and percent test positivity over the last 7 days (1.3%). The current rate of COVID-19 transmission in Rhode Island is considered moderate.

At this time, there are no changes to indoor masking guidance, including throughout school settings. Fully vaccinated people can elect not to wear masks indoors where it is permitted. People who are yet to be fully vaccinated should continue wearing masks indoors.

These updates will go into effect Wednesday, June 2, 2021.

For more information on mask-wearing, visit covid.ri.gov. To sign up for a COVID-19 vaccination, visit vaccinateri.org.

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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.