Rhode Island works to contain COVID-19

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Restaurants, bars and coffee shops in Rhode Island may only offer take out, delivery and drive-thru food and drinks as of March 17, following reports of community transmission of COVID-19 in the state. 

The precaution is effective until March 30 and will affect all food establishments, excluding grocery stores, in the state, according to a statement from Gov. Gina Raimondo’s office. Rhode Islanders are also instructed “not to host or attend gatherings of 25 people or more.” Across the nation, residents were also asked to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people March 16, according to the Guardian.

The Diocese of Providence announced the suspension of all Masses, also effective March 17, TurnTo10 reported. Last Friday, Gov. Raimondo banned nursing home visitors, the Boston Globe reported. Today, she announced that schools will remain closed until April 3, and expects schools to provide remote learning to students, according to WPRI. Free grab-and-go meals have been made available for children under the age of 18 at sites across the state

The Providence Journal reported that community transmission is present in the state, meaning that new cases of the virus are being diagnosed without a known, definite source. 

As of Tuesday, the Rhode Island Department of Health has reported 33 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 305 tests pending and approximately 2,500 people in self-quarantine — including 1,700 people from Cranston High School West. 

At a press conference Sunday, Raimondo said, “If you remember nothing else about this press conference, stay home.” 

What’s closed

As of Tuesday, Providence Place Mall is closed to business indefinitely, according to the City of Providence’s COVID-19 frequently-asked-questions page. 

The Providence Community Library — a system of nine neighborhood libraries — has also closed its locations until March 22, a period which may be extended. The Providence Public Library has suspended all programs and events, and delayed its reopening ribbon-cutting ceremony, originally scheduled for March 30. 

The Providence Athenaeum is also closed. Readers can take out books using Hoopla, a “Netflix for libraries,” according to Executive Director Matt Burriesci in a statement on the library’s website.

The Rhode Island School of Design Museum closed its doors for an indefinite period of time. The Avon Cinema is also closed.

Some cafes and restaurants, including Tallulah’s Taqueria and Dave’s Coffee, have announced that they will be closing for the near future. 

What’s open

Many restaurants are encouraging patrons to make take-out orders. Den Den Hospitality, which manages Den Den Korean Fried Chicken and Den Den Café Asiana, announced that it would now be operating only for take-out orders. Other restaurants and cafes — including Starbucks, by CHLOE and Plant City — will also be enforcing a take-out only policy. 

While the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles will remain open, most services, including issuing driver’s licenses, will be suspended for the time being, according to the Boston Globe.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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