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Restaurants push governor to allow indoor dining by June 1

Restaurant managers and workers held a meeting in a closed restaurant in Providence on the subject of how to re-open their business.
Restaurant managers and workers held a meeting in a closed restaurant in Providence on the subject of how to re-open their business.Steven Senne/Associated Press

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Happy Tuesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and you might think less of me for this, but I think beaches are overrated. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 12,795 confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, after adding 121 new cases. We know that 506 residents have died. There were 236 people in the hospital, 62 in intensive care, and 46 were on ventilators.


The owners of more than 150 restaurants in Rhode Island are urging Governor Gina Raimondo to allow indoor dining by June 1, warning that businesses may not survive much longer if they can offer only takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining.

The campaign from the newly formed Ocean State Coalition marks the most robust public effort yet from the business community to push Raimondo to loosen some of the regulations she has put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to patrons, the group makes the case that members of the restaurant industry “have done all that has been asked of us to help flatten the curve.”

“We are one of the most regulated industries for health standards and our goal has always been to exceed those standards for our guests,” the letter states. “For this reason, we are asking you, our guests, to support us in our request for opening indoor dining by June 1, 2020. The very existence of what our restaurant community will look like depends on us being more creative than ever now. However, we must be allowed this opportunity to serve you to the best of our abilities within the new restrictions from the Department of Health.”


The Ocean State Coalition was formed in March by Rick Simone, who leads the Federal Hill Commerce Association. It includes hundreds of businesses – including restaurants, salons, retailers, and transportation companies – that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The state launched outdoor dining on Monday, but many restaurateurs have already said they may never be able to reopen because of the damage that the economic shutdown did to their business. The owners of Eleven Forty-Nine in Warwick announced Monday that they are closing for good.

Raimondo has not said when she will allow indoor dining to return, but the second phase of her reopening plan isn’t expected until June. She has repeatedly said she wants to move slowly so that she doesn’t have to add more restrictions once businesses open their doors.


Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you've got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

Amanda Milkovits reports that Rhode Island led the nation in March and was near the top in April of states with the highest percentage increase of background checks of people seeking to buy firearms.

⚓ Narragansett’s Town Council president couldn’t muster enough support for a resolution directing the police to defy the governor’s orders and not issue fines against restaurants and places of worship that don’t follow social distancing rules, so he withdrew his proposal last night.


⚓ Governor Raimondo is allowing two state beaches to reopen on Memorial Day, and churches can open their doors the following weekend.

⚓ What does Massachusetts’ reopening plan look like? My colleagues Matt Stout and Tim Logan have an in-depth guide here.

⚓ In a provocative op-ed for the Globe, a group of medical experts argue that mandating testing without the right logistics and a sensible strategy is unlikely to stabilize the situation in senior-care facilities.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ Governor Gina Raimondo’s daily coronavirus update is at 1 p.m.

⚓How did the first day of outdoor dining go for Rhode Island? My story on the strange experience will be up by noon.

⚓ Rhode Island Kids Count is holding a virtual discussion on childhood obesity at 2 p.m.

⚓ The 17th annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium begins at 9 a.m. The focus of this year’s conference is offshore renewable energy.

⚓ This is fun: The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce is now selling coronavirus-related merch – and the proceeds are going to a good cause.

⚓ If your kids need a summer job, the state is looking for lifeguards.

⚓ Do you ️♥ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here.


Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.