fb-pixel Skip to main content

COVID-related restaurant curfews end today (not Sunday) in R.I.

Here’s what else local leaders say the restaurant industry would like to see

A sign requiring a face mask at SpeakEasy Bar & Grill on May 09, 2020 in Newport, Rhode Island.
A sign requiring a face mask at SpeakEasy Bar & Grill on May 09, 2020 in Newport, Rhode Island.Maddie Meyer/Getty

If you have friends or relatives who would like their own free copy of this daily briefing about Rhode Island, tell them they can sign up here.


Happy Friday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and the Robinhood fiasco is why I only bet on professional wrestling. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 113,754 confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday, after adding 618 new cases. The most-recent overall daily test-positive rate was 3.3 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 18.1 percent. The state announced nine more deaths, bringing the total to 2,144. There were 335 people in the hospital, and 64,435 residents had received the first dose of the vaccine.


State officials will announce today the COVID-related closing-time restrictions on restaurants and recreational facilities that were supposed to end Sunday will instead expire today, so those establishments will not be required to close at 10:30 p.m. tonight or tomorrow.

A spokesperson for Commerce RI confirmed late Thursday that Governor Gina Raimondo will sign an executive order “immediately lifting the early closure requirements for businesses.” Bar areas within restaurants must remain closed.

It’s a big win for business owners who say the COVID-related curfew imposed in November has cost them thousands of dollars over the last two months. But folks in the in the hospitality industry say there is still more that the state can do.

Here’s a quick wish list from a few prominent names in the industry.

Charlie Holder

Midtown Oyster Bar & Surf Club – Newport

While it’s a nice first step the curfew is not going to be a game changer until we can have bar seating back in place. Without patrons allowed to go to a bar to at least order a drink, there is not much difference in the winter to being open until 10 p.m. or 1 a.m.


Dale Venturini

Rhode Island Hospitality Association

While we understand that COVID case numbers make setting long term plans challenging, our industry needs predictability. We ask for a clear phased plan, with clear, transparent metrics, for reopening Rhode Island’s economy. This should include: Restoring bar seating, increasing restaurant capacity to pre-pause levels, and a clear path for events, such as weddings, which require months of planning to execute.

Bob Burke

Pot au Feu – Providence

In the pandemic some people lost their sense of taste or smell; our leaders lost their sense of hearing. We need comprehensive standards for employee and customer safety for all establishments so consumers can return with confidence. Every tourist destination in the world will be in a mad scramble for customers as we get back to normal. Another “Cooler and Warmer” debacle won’t work. We need to plan now to be way out in front in competitions for those tourist dollars.

Rick Simone

Federal Hill Commerce Association

Our restaurants have spent thousands of dollars adding safety requirements ordered by the state. They have gone above and beyond to provide a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience. With the hour restrictions lifted, we need to bring our focus to getting our bar seating back as well as dining room occupancy levels increased. We have shown these both can be managed safely while keeping other necessary restrictions still going such as social distancing and mask wearing. This will allow our restaurants a chance to survive and hopefully come out of the pandemic to be here for us all in the future.


Ed Brady

The Thirsty Beaver Hometown Pub & Grub – Cranston and Smithfield

I would really like to see the state demonstrate that there is scientific data driving their decisions regarding existing or future operational restrictions. I’m looking forward to brighter days ahead under the new leadership of Governor Dan McKee, with improved and consistent communication efforts between the state and our small business community.


Amanda Milkovits reports that a long-troubled strip club is reopening with a new owner, name, and paint color. Read more.

⚓ Providence plans to add a fifth major to its police department to focus on community relations and diversion services. Read more.

⚓ The Department of Health has released a projected timeline for when you can expect to be vaccinated. Read more.

⚓ Our editor Lylah M. Alphonse discusses the newspaper industry in Rhode Island and the Globe’s mission on “Rhode Island PBS Weekly.” Watch here.

⚓ Rhode Map readers have sent a round of Happy Birthday wishes to: Letitia Carter (87), Cam Dickson (8), Bertha Agatiello (97), Carra Beth Constantine (barely 23, I’m told), Steve Rosa, Sara Jane Micali Pruell (33), Kathy Lappin, Matt Allen, Robin Dionne, Jim Hummel, Pat Butler, Providence Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune, Travis Rowley, Reece Tormos (65), Rebecca Gutterman (50), Sarina Salvo, Lynn Smith, Steven Pinch (58), Armand Lusi (60), Jonathan Flynn (63), Judy Croyle, Mike Davis (75), Noreen Shawcross, Todd Trebour (41), Kate Lacouture, Ray Sullivan, Simon Allen, Harley Wood, and Dawnmarie Finocchi.



Economy: My colleague Larry Edelman tries to make sense of what happened with GameStop stock situation. Read more.

Police: William Goss, Boston’s first Black police commissioner, abruptly announced his retirement on Thursday, but he’s not running for mayor. Read more.

Opinion: The Globe’s editorial board calls on President Joe Biden to act quickly to overhaul a criminal justice system rife with systemic racism, over-incarceration, arbitrary and disparate sentencing practices, and profiteering. Read more.

Travel: How much will politics shape where people travel once the pandemic is over? Read more.

Subscribe to BostonGlobe.com


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.

⚓ Don’t miss Amanda Milkovits’ debut on “A Lively Experiment” on Rhode Island PBS tonight at 7 p.m.

⚓ Brown University School of Public Health Dean Dr. Ashish Jha will discuss how COVID-19 is affecting South Asia at noon in a virtual event hosted by Brown’s Center for Contemporary South Asia.

⚓ The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation is meeting at 3 p.m. to approve its annual budget.


⚓ The Royal Rumble is this weekend, so don’t bother me on Sunday.

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

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