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CORONAVIRUS

Rhode Island issues stay-at-home advisory as COVID-19 cases hit new record

New mask requirements, business hours, and indoor capacity limits were also announced

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo imposed new coronavirus-related restrictions on Thursday.
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo imposed new coronavirus-related restrictions on Thursday.Kris Craig/Pool/The Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE — Governor Gina Raimondo rolled out a sweeping set of new coronavirus-related restrictions on Thursday, the same day Rhode Island set another single-day record for new infections.

The state reported 566 new COVID-19 cases, marking the third time in a week that more than 500 cases have been reported in one day. Rhode Island never reached 500 cases per day during the first wave of the pandemic in April and May.

Raimondo issued a stay-at-home advisory to all residents beginning Sunday, urging Rhode Islanders to remain home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weeknights, and from 10:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. on weekends. The measure is similar to restrictions currently in place in Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts.

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The state is also requiring restaurants, gyms, hair salons, and recreational facilities — including Twin River’s casinos — to close by 10 p.m. on weeknights and 10:30 p.m. on weekends. She said restaurants can remain open for delivery or takeout after those hours.

“The fact of the matter is we’re not alone,” Raimondo said during a Thursday press conference. “Cases are spiking actually all over the world, certainly all over the region, and all over the country.”

Other new restrictions include:

  • Indoor venues, including churches, are limited to 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 125 people. Outdoor events are limited to 66 percent capacity, or a maximum of 150 people.
  • Large retailers can have one person per 150 square feet.
  • Businesses should cancel work-related travel for employees.
  • Masks are mandatory for all interactions with people you don’t live with, even while outside or at the gym, regardless of whether social distancing can be maintained.
  • For indoor sporting events, athletes under the age of 18 can have a maximum of two spectators, and masks will be mandatory for spectators, coaches, and athletes, even during game play.
  • Out-of-state travel for sports competition is prohibited.

Last week, Raimondo urged Rhode Islanders to cut back on their social contacts and limit gatherings to no more than 10 people, among other restrictions. On Thursday, Raimondo also said she will “almost certainly” issue further restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving. She has repeatedly asked residents to avoid traveling or hosting large parties during the upcoming holiday.

In addition to the 566 new cases, the state announced eight more deaths from the virus, bringing the total to 1,222 this year. Three leading indicators of the spread — the weekly percent positive rate (3.3 percent), new hospital admissions (160), and new cases per 100,000 residents (278) — were on the rise last week, according to data published by the Department of Health.

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“All the arrows are pointing in the wrong direction,” Raimondo said.

Health Department director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott warned that the increase in hospitalizations is particularly concerning because the hospitals could run out of space for patients if the number of cases continues to rise.

“It is very clear that we have to make changes, all of us have to make changes now, in order to avoid overwhelming our hospital system,” Alexander-Scott said.



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