THE LATEST: First 2 deaths in RI from COVID-19; Raimondo issues stay-at-home order

Citing social distancing non-compliance, governor orders non-critical businesses closed until April 13


Editor's note: This story appears on our websites as part of a new partnership between Beacon Communications and East Bay Newspapers to share coverage of the COVID-19 crisis.

Rhode Islanders have been issued a stay-at-home executive order, effective until April 13, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced during her daily briefing on Saturday.

It was just one of several the governor issued this afternoon, including:

  • Gatherings of more than five people have been banned, effective immediately;
  • Those coming to Rhode Island from any other state by any form of transportation for any non-work-related purposes will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, effective immediately;
  • Non-critical retail businesses must close until April 13, starting Monday;

The orders came shortly after the Rhode Island Department of Health reported the state’s first two deaths due to coronavirus, both of whom were elderly patients. Today, there are 36 new reports of COVID-19 in Rhode Island, bringing the total up to 239. Twenty-nine people are currently hospitalized.

While Raimondo thanked those who have been following her directives, she said at least half of Rhode Islanders were not acting in compliance. She said there were far too many reports of people gathering at house parties and crowding at beaches and told those residents to “knock it off.”

“You are risking the lives of everyone in this state,” she said.

What does a stay-at-home order mean?

Raimondo said that unless residents are out getting things like food, medicine or gas, they should be staying at home. People can still engage in outdoor activities like taking a walk and going to the park “if you do it with a few people and there’s ample social distance between you and the folks that you’re with,” she said.

Individuals displaying symptoms of any kind have been asked to stay home, no exceptions. They will need to get other people to complete those errands for them.

“If you are sick at all, in any way – if you have the sniffles, you have to stay at home, period,” Raimondo said.

By next week, Raimondo said it was her “goal and intention to be testing 1,000 people a day” for COVID-19. Yet without access to “ubiquitous testing” right now, the governor said she does not know how many people in Rhode Island have COVID-19.

“We do know we’re in a phase of rapid spread and we have 29 people in the hospital,” she said.

For those who are in quarantine but need help getting their groceries, medicine, or the like, Raimondo encouraged them to reach out to their town managers, mayors or to the department of health.

“We’re ramping up those services by the hour to be able to help you meet your needs,” she said.

Public gatherings of more than 5 people

This applies to “anywhere you can think of” Raimondo said – whether that was at home, in the office, or outside.

“If you’re in close proximity to more than four other people at any one time, you’re doing something wrong,” she said.

She also encouraged residents to limit their interactions to the same five people each day in order to limit the spread of the virus.

“We’re doing our best to contain this as much as possible while we ready our healthcare system for the inevitable surge that will come,” she said.

Domestic travel

Anyone coming to Rhode Island from any other state by any form of transportation for any non-work-related purposes are now required to self-quarantine for 14 days, Raimondo said. The announcement comes a day after issuing the “fairly extreme guidance” for New Yorkers and will not apply to public safety, public health and health care providers.

For those who have to commute to Massachusetts for work, Raimondo said they can still do so – but must self-isolate in their homes once returning to Rhode Island.

After working with realtors, the Realtors Association and Airbnb, Raimondo also added the following directive:

“I am directing realtors and hotel operators to include in their rental and purchase agreements new requirements that any out of state renters must quarantine 14 days in accordance with the guidance that I’m delivering.”

Non-critical retail businesses

Starting Monday, all non-critical retail businesses are ordered to close until April 13. A full list of what constitutes a non-critical retail business will be available on the Department of Business Regulation later today, Raimondo said.

“This is a step I take reluctantly, after great consideration, and it’s a tough one,” she said.

But after seeing too many people crowded in malls and gift shops, Raimondo said it is necessary. In the meantime, she encouraged residents to continue shopping local online if they are financially able to do so. For smaller retailers in need of assistance setting up an e-commerce site, just reach out, Raimondo said.

“We’ll help you get a website up and running.”


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clean up comments, beacon

love having these comment section. really wouldnt want to do without this forum! repetitive, abusive, off-topic participants are ruining it. please ask simoneau to leave. please.

(he can always start a web site or FB page)

Sunday, March 29
clean up comments, beacon

just proved my point again. really beacon, use your software to scrub every past post from this individual, and please, ban him.

just a reader, not on any "side" in the controversies.

Sunday, March 29

Our lousy Democrat governor loves to exercise her power to prevent fellow American citizens coming in from New York, but has no problem with welcoming the illegals immigrants from all over the world and giving them health care, drivers licenses and everything else. This Wuhan virus has caused most of us to see the importance of our national borders, but our governor can't see the nose on her ugly head. She along the with the rest of the RI Democrat party leaders have been blinded by their devotion to internationalism, known as globalism and only care about us when SHE might get sick.

A very horrible woman who should go home and make cookies for her husband.

Sunday, March 29

By the way, this virus should be called the Wuhan or the Red virus, not the coronavirus, not covid-19, not the china virus because it came from China and the Communist party in China knew about it for 2 months and arrested the good doctor who attempted to expose this virus and eventually one of them died:

"In their botched handling of the tragic death of Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who sounded the alarm on the Wuhan coronavirus, authorities in Beijing seem to want it both ways. On the one hand, officials have expressed their sorrow over his death and encouraged people to tell the truth about the outbreak. On the other hand, government censors are hard at work scrubbing online posts that call for freedom of speech in the wake of Li's death." CNN (amazing!) Feb 11, 2020

Sunday, March 29

mr simoneau, go look up publius on the interwebs. i am sure you can find a six year old to do this for you and read it to you. anonymous public discourse is something that is based deep in america going back to the founding fathers.

Monday, March 30
Hillsgrove Hal

It's very clear to me that no one at the Beacon is reading or moderating these comments, nor have they been for some time. I also hold no hope that they will read my comment, but just in case...

Last year, I stopped my subscription to this paper because I could find the same information online for free.

As of today, I will no longer read this website because its owners have allowed a few angry people to publish vile and dangerous information, then complain when they are challenged.

The Beacon allowed this cesspool, they can keep it.

Monday, March 30
Educated Voter

If anyone looks in to the past comments by Johnny Pajamas, you'll see he has made numerous personal attacks and accusations against Mr. Howell, accusing him of biased journalism, receiving special favors from politicians, etc., etc., and generally discrediting him. So it comes as no surprise that Mr. Howell leaves all of his comments up so the intelligent people of the world can see what a psychotic disturbed individual Johnny Pajamas is. Thank you Mr. Howell for letting the readers see the truth.

Monday, March 30
John Simoneau

Uneducated Voter.... COWARD

Everything I've said about Mr Howell, and The Beacon, is the truth. I have proof from first hand experience, and the documentation. If it wasn't, he would say something different. I've invited you in the past to confirm it with him, if you doubt it. HAVE YOU?

So shut up about it, unless you have proof otherwise, because I do!

Monday, March 30
John Simoneau

Hilsgrove Hal....

This is not entirely true. Last week on the story about Governor Francis sewer bills (THIEVERY), there were a total of six comments posted, and all of a sudden they were ALL deleted, and no more comments were allowed by anyone. Even now. Howell has to protect is Warwick political friends, and their corrupt practices!

Monday, March 30

As a person who takes medication to intentionally suppress my immune system, I am not taking this lightly at all. I have been self-quarantined since March 12th. I only go out as needed and always wear a mask and gloves. What I wish more than anything is that others would stop saying this is nothing more than the flu. It is clearly far more dangerous and highly contagious. If you want to gamble with your own life, I can't stop you. But you are only making it worse for the community by not listening to the advice of the medical professionals. Hopefully, you will not be forced to admit your lack of understanding when it comes knowing on your door or a family members door. We all have the ability to stop this virus in its tracks. Don't be the weak link that carries it all over this cit and state because you don't think it is a serious illness.

Monday, March 30
Patient Man

Cat, Are you saying the NCAA, NBA, MLB, rugby & soccer leagues around the globe didn't walk away from billions of dollars to prevent a second Trump Administration?

It seems like an obvious cabal to me.

For the dummies I'm being sarcastic.

Monday, March 30
Thank You to the Beacon

Thank you to the Beacon ownership and staff for removing the numerous profane and threatening posts by Mr. Simoneau. This site is a great community resource, and it is not a place for an individual such as Mr. Simoneau to post his hate speech. Thank you again Warwick Beacon for your action.

Tuesday, March 31
Educated Voter

It looks like the Beacon has blocked/banned a certain poster from this site, and hopefully intelligent and sane posters will return to this site and provide insightful and respectful commentary and debate.

Tuesday, March 31