Everything You Need to Know About the Coronavirus in Rhode Island

The latest on COVID-19 in the Ocean State, including details on the new rent relief program, traveler quarantines and new case data.
Data dashboard via RI DOH

Data dashboard via RI DOH

Editor’s note: This story is updated frequently.

Here’s what you need to know about the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, in Rhode Island today:


Rhode Island is in the third phase of reopening the economy

  • Visit reopeningri.com for the full plan
  • Retail stores are open with capacity limitations
  • Close-contact businesses (including spas, nail salons, hair salons, gyms, fitness studios, tattoo parlors) are open with capacity limitations
    • Waiting rooms and locker rooms are closed
    • Blow-drying is discouraged in salons
  • Some indoor entertainment venues, including theaters and bowling alleys, are permitted to open in phase 3
  • Indoor gatherings are capped at 25 people (50 people with a licensed caterer)
  • Outdoor gatherings are capped at 50 people (100 people with licensed caterer)
  • Indoor dining service is in effect at restaurants, bars and coffee shops
  • All state parks, including Fort Adams, Beavertail and Lincoln Woods, are now open to the public with limited parking. See the full list at dem.ri.gov
  • All state beaches are open
    • Misquamicut and Scarborough state beaches will operate at a 25 percent parking capacity due to overcrowding
      Beach Visual Guidance 05.22.20


All Rhode Islanders — with the exception of people with medical conditions, developmental disabilities and very young children — must wear cloth face coverings in public places, both indoor and outdoor.

  • “It’s especially important in places when it is more challenging to do social distancing,” says Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, including in grocery stores and outdoor spaces in dense communities.
  • When outside, Rhode Islanders should carry masks or face coverings, including scarves, with them in case they come within six feet of another person.
  • Public-facing and manufacturing workers must wear face coverings and companies must provide them. Cloth masks will do.


Click here to find a COVID-19 diagnostic testing site near you

  • Weather-dependent drive-through testing sites are set up at Rhode Island College and CCRI’s Warwick campus; in order to get tested, you need an appointment through your primary care doctor, an urgent care center or the Department of Health. The test is free.
  • 10 CVS pharmacies in Rhode Island offer self-swab COVID-19 tests for adults eighteen and older. Click here to make an appointment.

The state serology sample study shows the seroprevalence — the level of COVID-19 in the general population, as measured in blood serum — among Rhode Islanders, overall, is 2.2 percent 

  • The study invited 5,000 randomly selected Rhode Islanders; about 10 percent participated
    • For Latino Rhode Islanders, the seroprevalence is 8.2 percent
    • For Black Rhode Islanders, it is 5.2 percent
    • For caucasian Rhode Islanders, it is .9 percent
    • “It’s clear that a lot more work must be done when it comes to disparities,” says Health Department director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott.

The Raimondo administration has commissioned the development of Crush COVID RI

  • The contact tracing and symptom management application has a location diary feature. It’s available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Asymptomatic first responders and workers in congregate care, education and close contact settings (gyms, hair salons, tattoo parlors) are encouraged to get tested

  • Schedule a test at portal.ri.gov.
  • The governor hopes to test 900 asymptomatic workers per day
  • People who attend protests should get tested, per Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott


Beginning June 30, travelers to Rhode Island from states with a 5 percent or greater positivity rate must self-quarantine for two weeks

International travelers coming to Rhode Island must self-quarantine for fourteen days


The 2020/2021 school year begins August 31, with a goal to resume in-person classes

  • Districts are now submitting plans to the Rhode Island Department of Education for virtual, in-person and hybrid learning.
  • High school students and teachers will be expected to wear masks if they cannot maintain six feet of social distancing; masks are not recommended for elementary and middle school students
  • Online SAIL classes are available to all public school students (pre-K through high school)

Child care facilities, youth sports and summer camp may reopen, with capacity limitations

  • Here’s what the plans look like:
    • Stable groups
    • accordance with CDC sanitation guidelines
    • regular temperature screenings
    • new pickup and drop-off protocols



Eviction protection and rent relief options for renters

  • Landlords with federally backed mortgages may not evict renters until at least July 25
  • Renters in arrears and/or at risk of eviction should call United Way’s 211 hotline to see if they qualify for the Safe Harbor Program or visit housinghelpri.com
    • Both landlords and tenants must agree to participate
    • Financial services will be available for renters
  • Raimondo is asking landlords to offer up 100 rental units by July 1 for people who have housing vouchers and are at-risk of homelessness. The state is offering landlords a $2,000 signing bonus for their first unit, plus $500 for each following unit, as well as up to $2,000 for upgrades. Call the United Way’s 211 hotline for more information.

RIHavens.com is a new website that offers significantly reduced hotel room options for front line workers

  • “If you are a front line health care worker, a first responder — whatever reason you don’t feel it’s safe to live in your house…. you can go to RIHavens.com,” said Governor Raimondo on April 15.
  • Brown University has also made 700 single-occupancy rooms available to front line workers for free

The WeR1 RI Fund provides direct cash assistance to Rhode Islanders unable to benefit from public programs due to their immigration status.

  • The goal is to raise $3 million to provide families in need with $400 debit cards
  • Text WeR1 to 27126 to donate



  • To prevent infection, wash your hands for twenty seconds with soap and warm water
  • Symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath
    • Visit the Rhode Island COVID-19 self-checker at covidselfchecker.ri.gov for guidance on making the best coronavirus-related health care decisions based on CDC guidelines
  • If you’re showing symptoms, call your health care provider first; if you don’t have one, contact a nearby urgent care.
  • Call 401-222-8022 with general questions about COVID-19 or visit the Rhode Island Department of Health website for the latest information
  • Call Rhode Island’s BH Link at 401-414-5465 if you need mental health help or are struggling with substance abuse; for children, call Kids’ Link at 1-855-543-5465



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