Gov. Gina M. Raimondo announced today at a press conference that Rhode Island’s Phase 3 operating guidelines for the state will be extended among COVID-19 cases rising. She said the state will not be moving forward to the Phase 4 of reopening. Her executive order on Phase 3 was set to expire on July 29.
The governor said that she will be extending Phase 3 for an additional 30 days and will be decreasing the number of people allowed at social gatherings from 25 to 15 in both indoor and outdoor settings, with the reasoning for remaining in the third phase due to the state’s R value, the rate of spread, being too high. The R value, which measures the number of people one person will infect with COVID-19, should not go over 1.1 and the state is seeing a 1.3 or 1.4 rate of spread. “We’re partying too much. Social gatherings are too large, and folks aren’t wearing their masks,” said Raimondo.
The Rhode Island Hospitality Association (RIHA) sent out a reminder to its members about bar seating rules on July 27. Through a venue’s seating arrangements under Phase 3 guidelines for serving customers, seated service only, bars should appear very similar to restaurants.
Bars and bar areas (including sushi bars, raw bars, and other food prep areas with bar seating) may be operated in one of three ways:
Option 1: There are functioning bar work areas (e.g. drink making stations, dishwashing stations, glassware storage) with no bar seating, and the bar area is closed to customers (roped off or otherwise separated from the rest of the establishment).
Option 2: There is bar seating with no functioning bar work areas (e.g. no drink making stations, dish washing stations, glassware storage). No staff are permitted to work behind the bar. Parties must be seated at bars, and parties must be spaced at least six feet from one another.
Option 3: There are functioning bar work areas (e.g. drink making stations, dish washing stations, glassware storage) and bar seating if there is a rigid, non-porous barrier (e.g. Plexiglas, plastic glass, etc.) of an appropriate height separating customers from the bar space.
- Parties must be seated at bars, and parties must be spaced at least six feet from one another.
- Staff may serve seated customers drinks and food through a gap or opening in the barrier, provided that this gap or opening in the barrier is no more than 8 inches and working bar areas (e.g. drink making stations or glassware storage) are located at least 6 feet from these gaps.
- Establishments are strongly encouraged to minimize the number and size of these gaps.
Rules on entertainment were also reiterated and as follows:
- Live performances are allowed
- Must follow restaurant guidelines
- No mingling or congregating
- Customers must remain seated
- Performers must be 14 feet away
- This can be reduced to 6 feet if:
- All performers wear masks throughout the performance and there is no vocal performance; or
- There is a physical, non-porous barrier (e.g. Plexiglas) separating performers from other performers, from tables, and from high-traffic areas.
Cases of the new coronavirus in Rhode Island total 18,800, a 75-case increase from figures reported on July 28, with the additional 14 cases attributable to previous day data revisions.