In accordance with today’s Rhode Island Executive Order 20-90, we want to inform you of important changes that have been made regarding COVID-19 regulations. The size of social gatherings has been decreased to 10 people. With Halloween weekend upon us and as Election Day approaches, these new state regulations put in place today are designed to carefully minimize the spread of the virus without shutting down businesses and forcing everyone to shelter-in-place.
Everyone — students, faculty and staff — should restrict the total number of people with whom they interact over the next two weeks to the smallest number of individuals possible — and in any case fewer than 10 in all. Those participating in any social gatherings, other than those with whom individuals live, are required to wear masks.
We want to remind community members that state and local authorities are prepared to fine violators of the order, both on and off campus. The governor said the state would fine any host of a party or gathering of larger than 10, $500 for each person attending.
At URI, we have done a commendable job of keeping large, non-socially distant gatherings to a minimum. And our latest test results show that URI community members are by and large wearing masks, socially distancing and practicing good hand hygiene. For the period of Oct. 22 through 28, the University has completed 4,536 tests, with 31 coming back positive. URI’s positivity rate for that period is lower than 1 percent.
We can’t, however, become lax in following University and state regulations if we want to keep in-person classes and activities in place until Thanksgiving break. We also remind the community that URI Health Services is continuing mandatory COVID-19 testing for all students, those living on and off campus, as part of our surveillance testing program for the remainder of the fall semester. Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate on a regular basis, particularly if they are coming to campus. This testing allows us to continue to monitor the health of our community and provides us with an early warning of potential outbreaks. We expect to test all community members one more time before Thanksgiving break.
The executive order also requires closure of all ice rinks for a week and therefore the University is closing the Boss Arena. Additionally, spectators are now also prohibited from sporting events that take place in Rhode Island. The University has already prohibited spectators at its sports facilities, both indoors and outdoors, for all fall sports.
For further information and resources relating to the University’s COVID-19 response, go to https://web.uri.edu/coronavirus/ and https://web.uri.edu/emergency/covid/.