Executive Order 21-47

One Hundred-and-Fiftieth Supplemental Emergency Declaration - Continuing to Require Cloth Face Coverings in Public

WHEREAS, on March 9, 2020, Executive Order 20-02 was issued for a declaration of a state of emergency due to the dangers to health and life posed by COVID-19 and that Order has been extended to remain in effect until at least May 13, 2021;

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

WHEREAS, on November 5, 2020, Executive Order 20-94 was issued to continue requiring cloth face coverings in public and the Order has been extended until May 20, 2021;

WHEREAS, on April 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)updated its guidance on mask wearing for fully vaccinated people;

WHEREAS, on April 30, 2021, Executive Order 21-42 was issued as anamendment to Executive Order 20-94 to reflect the updated CDC guidance;

WHEREAS, reduced rate of COVID-19 related deaths along with increasing rates of COVID-19 vaccination in Rhode Island and projected vaccination coverage continue to make possible additional incremental relaxation of public health and safety restrictions; and

WHEREAS, in consultation with the Director of Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), I sought to update certain mitigation measure to continue maintaining public health and safety with appropriate, less restrictive means.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DANIEL J. MCKEE, 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, whether indoors or outdoors, shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face covering. No person shall be required to wear a mask or cloth face covering (i) who is under two years of age, (ii) whose health would be damaged thereby, or (iii) who is developmentally unable to comply, including young children who may not be able to effectively wear a mask or cloth face covering. A mask or cloth face covering shall not be required for any person when:
    • Consuming food or drink;
    • A face covering would impede communication by or with a person who has a hearing impediment;
    • Working alone in an office or at a job site, or when workers can easily, continuously, and measurably maintain 3 feet of distance in a workplace. If customers, coworkers, or visitors can reasonably be expected to approach or interact with a worker, a mask or cloth face covering must be worn by the worker;
    • Speaking to a broadcast, webcast, or audience when no person is within six feet of the person speaking;
    • In a vehicle alone or with members of the same household;
    • Undergoing a medical or dental procedure;
    • Outdoors and at least three feet of distance can be easily, measurably and continuously maintained;
    • At least 14 days have elapsed since the final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccination series or the only dose of an approved one-dose COVID-19 vaccine was administered to the person, provided the person is in an outdoor setting and maintains at least three feet from other people;
    • Performing live indoors, provided there is: (i) at least six feet of physical distance between performers and any other person (including other performers); or (ii) at least three feet of physical distance between performers and any other person (including other performers) if all performers wear cloth face coverings throughout the performance. Performing live outdoors provided there is at least three feet of physical distance between performers and any other person (including other performers).
  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, day cares, and places/venues of assembly shall abide by their particular sector specific face covering protocols for employees, customers and attendees set forth in the executive order in effect on phased re-opening and its supporting guidelines and regulations. Unless otherwise specified, employees, customers and attendees shall wear a mask or cloth face coverings as required in paragraph 1 above. Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) employees may prevent any person from boarding a RIPTA vehicle if, after being offered a free mask, such person refuses to wear one. 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; however, stores and other places of business shall actively remind customers that they must wear a mask or cloth 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 promulgate and 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 Executive Order supersedes Executive Orders 20-94 and 21-42. It shall take effect immediately and shall remain in full force and effect through May 27, 2021 unless renewed, modified, or terminated by a subsequent Executive Order.

So Ordered,

Daniel J. McKee