Editor's note: This story appears on our websites as part of a partnership between Beacon Communications and East Bay Newspapers to share coverage of the COVID-19 crisis.
Rhode Island’s economy will “slowly, steadily and safely” reemerge from its forced temporary closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gina Raimondo said during her Saturday, May 9, press briefing from the State House as her executive order lifting some stay-at-home restrictions took full effect.
The governor reminded residents as of May 9, the state was “officially putting our toe in the water” as part of Phase 1 of her reopening plan, but that the process will be one of “baby steps” and that people need to “keep your social network limited…That’s the name of the game.”
Gov. Raimondo continued, “We’re in a very good place, a stable place, but it’s a tentative place so we’re going to take it slow.”
She added, referring to the Phase 1 mandates, “I only want to reopen the economy once…That's why we need to stay close to home, follow the rules and keep your social networking small.”
Gov. Raimondo and Director of Health Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott provided an update on the COVID-19 data from the previous day, announcing 210 new cases and 19 fatalities, ranging in age from their 60s to 90s.
A total of 292 patients remain hospitalized, 72 were in intensive care and 56 were on ventilators.
Responding to a question from the media, Dr. Alexander Scott reported of those deceased due to the coronavirus 24 percent were between the age of 70-79, 32 percent were 80-89 and 23 percent were 90-99.
“We haven’t reached the point where we like to be, to see a decline,” the governor said. “We’re not out of the woods. We have not rounded the curve…That’s why we need to move slowly.”
The governor made a series of announcements, which she said would hopefully provide “comfort to Rhode Islanders struggling financially” during the pandemic, especially in recent weeks as they remained out of work for an extended period of time.
Gov. Raimondo explained, “It’s not the end of our story. It’s the beginning of standing our economy back up and coming out the other side stronger and more resilient than when we went into it.”
The announcements were as follows:
The governor reminded businesses of the requirements associated with reopening during Phase 1, including the need to attest and return forms showing compliance with state health and safety guidelines. The governor asked for “patience and flexibility” from proprietors as the mandates are enacted.
She also announced a new email address where businesses can reach officials with any concerns or recommendations, email@example.com
Both the governor and director once more implored residents not to gather in large groups as they celebrate Mother's Day on May 10, Dr. Alexander-Scott specifically asking people to refrain from visiting their relatives at nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
“We remind you again, love mom, but please no big gatherings,” Gov. Raimondo said. “This year we’ll find different ways to love her because we don’t want to be gathering in groups of 10, 15, 20 people at a time.”
During Phase 1 of reopening the state, gatherings are still limited to no more than five and should contain those within a limited social circle, the governor added.
Gov. Raimondo announced she will not hold a briefing Sunday, May 10, due to Mothers Day and that going forward the schedule of daily public avails will be decreased slightly.
The briefings will run each Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. as has mostly been the case throughout the pandemic, but will no longer be held on weekends.