Executive Order 20-30

Twenty-seventh Supplemental Emergency Declaration – Requiring Cloth Face Coverings in Public

WHEREAS, on March 9, 2020, I declared a state of emergency due to the dangers to health and life posed by COVID-19 and that declaration has been extended until at least May 8, 2020;

WHEREAS, aggressive and sustained efforts continue to be necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19;

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that COVID-19 symptoms may appear as many as fourteen (14) days after exposure; WHEREAS, the CDC has confirmed that a significant number of people infected with COVID-19 do not show symptoms;

WHEREAS, COVID-19 is contagious and persons who are asymptomatic can spread the virus;

WHEREAS, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain;

WHEREAS, the use of cloth face coverings is an important public health approach to slow the transmission of COVID-19;

WHEREAS, Executive Order 20-24 already requires employees of operating customer/client facing businesses and organizations to wear cloth face coverings; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island will soon begin a very limited reopening of more areas of its economic, cultural, and civic life. At the same time, weather conditions are improving, bringing a greater number of people out of their homes.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GINA M. RAIMONDO, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, pursuant to Article IX of the Rhode Island Constitution and the Rhode Island General Laws, including, but not limited to, Title 30, Chapter 15, and Title 23, Chapter 8, do hereby order and direct the following:

  1. Effective on Friday, May 8, 2020, any person who is in a place open to the public, whether indoors or outdoors, shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face covering unless doing so would damage the person's health. No person under two years of age or any person whose health would be damaged thereby shall be required to wear a face covering. Face coverings are not required for people who can easily, continuously, and measurably maintain at least six (6) feet of distance from other people. Face coverings shall also not be required of those who are developmentally unable to comply, including young children who may not be able to effectively wear a mask.

  2. Effective on Friday, May 8, 2020, all persons are required to wear masks or cloth face coverings at all times when inside grocery stores, pharmacies or other retail stores. All persons are also required to wear masks or cloth face coverings when providing or using the services of any taxi, car, livery, ride-sharing, or similar service or any means of mass public transit, or while within an enclosed or semi-enclosed transit stop or waiting area. Face coverings shall not be required of those whose health would be damaged thereby or who are developmentally unable to comply, including young children who may not be able to effectively wear a mask. Nothing in this Executive Order shall require a store or other place of business to refuse entry to a customer not wearing a face covering.

  3. Nothing shall prevent a person from wearing a surgical grade mask or other more protective face covering if the person is already in possession of such equipment. All persons are strongly discouraged from using higher-level respiratory protection, such as N95s, to meet the requirements of this Order; N95s and other high-level respiratory protection should be reserved for healthcare workers or others who have a federal or state requirement to wear one to perform their work safely.

  4. A CDC tutorial for do-it-yourself cloth face coverings is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

  5. 5. I hereby authorize and direct the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) to take any action and make and enforce any rules and regulations necessary to implement this Order.

  6. The Director of RIDOH or her designees are further authorized to assess civil penalties and enact rules and regulations in furtherance of such penalties, for violation of this Order. Such civil penalties shall be in addition to any other penalties authorized by law.

This Order shall take effect immediately and remain in full force and effect until June 4, 2020, unless renewed, modified or terminated by subsequent Executive Order.

So Ordered,

Gina M. Raimondo