Executive Order 20-60

Fifty-fifth Supplemental Emergency Declaration – Continuing to Require 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 will be extended until at least September 2, 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 Phase III reopening and warm summer weather have brought increasing numbers of people together in public and private spaces;

WHEREAS, young people are more likely to participate in larger social gatherings, attend bars, concerts and other crowded, non-structured events;

WHEREAS, the incidence of COVID-19 in people between the ages of 20 and 39 is on the increase, accounting for more than 30% of new cases, with attendance at these non-structured events driving this increase in cases;

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, the State has expended tremendous resources in educating businesses and members of the public about the importance of social distancing, sanitation and masking as effective measures against the spread of COVID-19, with the majority of its citizens actively complying with these measures;

WHEREAS, the Director of the Department of Health has promulgated rules and regulations, including civil fines and penalties for the violation of Executive Orders concerning social distancing, sanitation and masking, among other measures; and

WHEREAS, enforcement of these basic measures must be enhanced to ensure the continued re-opening of the economy and to safely re-open schools in the fall.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GINA M. RAIMONDO, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island, 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. Any person who is in a place open to the public, whether indoors or outdoors, shall continue to 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. All persons must continue to wear masks or cloth face coverings at all times when inside grocery stores, pharmacies or other retail businesses. All persons must continue 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. Restaurants offering dine-in services, personal services businesses, gyms, daycares, and places of assembly re-opening in Phase III shall abide by their particular sector-specific face covering protocols for employees, customers and attendees set forth in Executive Order 20-58 and its supporting guidelines and regulations. Unless otherwise specified, employees, customers and attendees shall wear face coverings as required in paragraph 1 above. 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-clot…
  5. The Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) shall enforce any rules and regulations necessary to implement this Order with particular focus on social gatherings, bars and other crowded areas and events where the danger of spreading and contracting the virus is greatest.
  6. The Director of RIDOH or her designees are further authorized to assess civil penalties for violation of this Order. Such civil penalties shall be in addition to any other penalties authorized by law

This Order supersedes Executive Order 20-41. It shall take effect on August 3, 2020 and remain in full force and effect until September 2, 2020, unless renewed, modified or terminated by subsequent Executive Order.

So Ordered,

Gina M. Raimondo