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

PROVIDENCE, RI - 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.vaccinateRI.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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