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Raimondo Announces Plan to Reopen Restaurants for Outdoor Dining Only on May 18th

Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) provided an update on Rhode Island's response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

Starting Monday, May 18th, restaurants will be able to begin limited outdoor dining in addition to their take-out, delivery, and drive-through operations. Restaurants will be required to operate under the following new regulations, among others:

Dining will be by reservation only and groups may not exceed five people, in accordance with guidance on social gathering. Tables must be at least eight feet apart or separated by barriers, and no more than 20 tables will be allowed in any outdoor space. One-time-use paper menus, digital menus, or chalkboard menus will be recommended. Condiments and utensils will either be single-use or sanitized between uses. All high-traffic areas will have to be frequently cleaned. Tables and chairs will be sanitized in between parties. All employees must wear face coverings, and all customers must wear face coverings when they are not eating. Self-service food stations like buffets and salad bars will be prohibited. Cashless and contactless payment methods will be encouraged. Pens and payment stations will be frequently cleaned. For now, no valet services will be allowed. Customers will be asked to park their own cars.

The complete guidance will be available tonight on ReopeningRI.com.

COVID-19 Data Update RIDOH announced 176 new cases of COVID-19 today. This brings Rhode Island's case count to 11,450. RIDOH also announced eight new COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island's number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 430. A full data summary for Rhode Island is posted online.

Key messages for the public Anyone who is sick should stay home and self-isolate (unless going out for testing or healthcare). The people who live with that person and who have been in direct close contact with that person should self-quarantine for 14 days after the last day that that person was in isolation. Direct close contact means being within approximately 6 feet of a person for a prolonged period. Help is available for people living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Visit www.RIDelivers.com [ridelivers.com] for connections to groceries, home supplies, restaurants, and mutual aid groups. People can also call 2-1-1. When people are in public, they should wear a cloth face covering. A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It could be sewn by hand or improvised from household items such as scarves, T-shirts, or bandanas. Groups of more than five people should not be gathering. Always avoid close personal contact with other people in public. People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. Do not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless you are experiencing a medical emergency). People with general, non-medical questions about COVID-19 can visit www.health.ri.gov/covid, write to RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov, or call 401-222-8022. This is the COVID-19 Hotline that RIDOH has available to the public. Everyone can help stop the spread of viruses in Rhode Island. o Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. o Cough or sneeze into your elbow. o Stay home and do not leave your house if you are sick, unless it is for emergency medical care. o Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

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