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Beginning Friday, R.I. business restrictions are relaxing. Here’s what you need to know

Among the changes: restaurants can increase capacity to 80 percent, bars still have to use plexiglass, and masks will still be required indoors

Tom Whalen prepares meals in a Rhode Island kitchen.
Tom Whalen prepares meals in a Rhode Island kitchen.Cody O'Loughlin/NYT

PROVIDENCE — Business owners rejoiced last month when Governor Daniel J. McKee said nearly all state-mandated restrictions would end in Rhode Island by Memorial Day weekend.

But even before the May 28 holiday, there will be incremental changes in every industry, starting Friday. Here’s what you will be allowed — and not allowed — to do.

Mask wearing: Face masks are still going to be required indoors, but they won’t be required outdoors if you stay at least three feet away from others.

Social gatherings: Up to 25 people can gather indoors, and up to 75 people outdoors.

Dining: Restaurants will be able to increase their capacity to 80 percent indoors and 100 percent outdoors. In both instances, diners should be separated by at least three feet of space.


Bars: While you still can’t stand, mingle, or gather around a bar, you can sit at the bar. Plexiglass is still required, but that is supposed to change after May 28.

Events: Catered events can have up to 250 guests indoors and 500 guests outdoors. Rapid, on-site COVID-19 testing is still recommended. Standing service and cocktail hours will be allowed, but only outside.

Venues of assembly: Will be allowed to increase capacity to 80 percent, but must have fewer than 500 people indoors. There is no capacity limit on venues of assembly that are outdoors. In all instances, at least three feet of spacing is required. For event planners that are looking to host a function with more than 2,500 people outdoors, however, approval must be granted by the municipality and the state department of business regulations. Submit an event form with the state here.

Houses of worship; gyms, sports facilities, and recreational facilities; personal services; funeral homes; and offices: Will be allowed to increase capacity up to 80 percent, as long as people are social distancing by at least three feet.


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz.