COVID-19 CRISIS

Fung: As West quarantine concludes, 'think again' on 'corona parties'

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The two-week self-quarantine order for members of the Cranston High School West community expired on Friday – and Mayor Allan Fung has a new message for those who might see the occasion as a reason to celebrate in group settings.

“I got wind that some corona parties were being planned. Think again,” the mayor says in a video posted to his social media accounts Friday afternoon.

Following the March 13 announcement that a Cranston West student had tested positive for COVID-19 and the roughly 1,700 members of the school community would be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, reports began to surface of some students and others ignoring the request.

Fung, in a video that drew widespread attention, sternly called on members of the Cranston West community to observe the quarantine and stay at home.

Friday’s video continues that tone and message, with some colorful new twists. He begins by thanking the “vast majority of you” for being compliant.

“You were part of the solution here in Cranston, and I’m really proud of you. So I can see where you think you’re off the hook now,” he says. “Well let me the bearer of some bad news. This thing still isn’t over. We’re doing better than New York City and other places which have scenes fresh out of a horror movie, but as of last night, in Cranston we still had 18 cases confirmed of COVID-19. It’s not in another city or some far away land, it might be on your own street.”

He adds: “And let me channel my inner Italian mayor to show I serious I am.” A news clip of an official in Italy addressing his constituents follows, with the caption: “I hear some want to host a party … We’ll send armed police, and we’ll be sending them with flamethrowers.”

Fung on Friday issued a new supplementary emergency declaration ordering the closure of all recreation fields and facilities - including walking tracks, for which leniency had previously been provided. The order provides for violators to face fines of up to $25 or community service. 

In an email Friday afternoon, the mayor said the new order was issued in light of the Cranston West quarantine's expiration and in anticipation of mild weather over the weekend.

"I did not want to do this but it is getting ridiculous the amount of time we are spending to chase people off our facilities," he wrote in the email.

In the video, Fung says: “And you think you’re heading to the fields to play ball? Unfortunately, I’ve spent the better part of this week chasing groups off of them. Today, there are more chains and locks on entrances, and I’ll have the police constantly patrolling the areas this weekend. I’ve also had to shut down the walking tracks. I know in the middle of this pandemic you don’t think I have anything else to do, but this nonsense is turning me into this guy.”

Another news clip of an Italian official follows, with the caption: “I’m going to address you all. Where the [expletive] are you all going?”

During Friday's daily COVID-19 briefing with Gov. Gina Raimondo, Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott issued her own message to the Cranston West community in light of the quarantine period's end.

"While the official quarantine ... is being lifted, I am asking, the governor's asking, we're all asking that you not get together and socialize with friends," she said. "It's important for each of us to hold each other accountable. The same goes for teachers, for parents and staff. Family, parents and everyone else in Cranston, we need you to help us get the word out. We need you to make sure this message sinks in with the teenagers in your life as well as those around them." 

Fung's supplemental order on Friday also includes a provision echoing the new statewide restrictions placed on travelers from New York. The mayor's order requires anyone from New York "who has come to Cranston with an intent to remain for a period of time" to "immediately self-quarantine for 14 days." Exemptions are provided for public health, public safety and health care workers.

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