Rhode Island partially reinstating indoor mask mandate

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Posted at 12:33 PM, Dec 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-19 13:33:58-05

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A partial mask mandate is taking effect in Rhode Island starting Monday as COVID-19 cases surge once again.

The state will require masks for workers and patrons at restaurants, entertainment venues and restaurants that have a capacity of more than 250 people, regardless of their vaccination status.

Smaller venues, as well as most other private workplaces, will have to require masks or proof of vaccination. Private businesses may continue to set stronger mask or vaccination rules for their own establishments.

Gov. Daniel McKee has said the mandate will be revisited in 30 days. The Democrat said last week the change is needed to address a rise in new cases that is putting a strain on area hospitals.

The state is averaging about 1,068 new COVID-19 cases a day, up from 899 a day two weeks ago, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 85% of residents have received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine; 74% are fully inoculated.