PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CBS/AP) — Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Wednesday that her state will now limit social gatherings like backyard barbecues and house parties to 15 people, down from the previous cap of 25. The Democrat said coronavirus cases are creeping up because people are “partying too much.”
Raimondo called Rhode Island’s recent coronavirus numbers “concerning.” On some days there have been more than 100 new cases reported in the small state – and she says the reason behind the uptick is “crystal clear.”
“We’re partying too much,” Raimondo said at a news conference. “Social gatherings are too large, and folks aren’t wearing their masks.”
Today, I’m announcing that we are extending Phase 3 for another 30 days – through August 28 – with one change: We are lowering the social gathering limit to 15 people. All our other phase 3 guidance remains in effect. https://t.co/tRpyh0QFIm
— Gina Raimondo (@GovRaimondo) July 29, 2020
Health officials have traced recent cases back to a house party with over 50 people, a baby shower, a large birthday party at a bar, a pool party and a sports banquet. Raimondo said that in those cases, people were not wearing masks and not social distancing.
“If you’re doing this, I need you to knock it off because people are getting sick, people are dying,” Raimondo said.
Rhode Island will stay in Phase 3 for another 30 days. The limit for catered events like weddings remains at 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
The state’s Department of Health said Wednesday it has cited 10 restaurants for failing to comply with regulations meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The establishments were issued compliance orders after inspectors witnessed staff and customers not wearing masks, not practicing social distancing, and for not screening patrons for symptoms of COVID-19, the agency said.
Many were issued compliance orders because customers were being served while seated at bar areas without the necessary protective barriers in place.
Raimondo said the state will be publicly posting lists of non-compliant establishments going forward, and encouraged people to call the state’s tip line if they observe COVID-19 violations.
She added that if bars and restaurants don’t fall in line, she’ll be forced to take more drastic measures, including reducing capacity limits.
“Consider this almost like a last warning,” Raimondo said.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)