Governor Raimondo 3/23 Press Conference Summary

Rhode Island has 23 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, raising the state total to 106. Schools statewide have started their distance learning programs. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has closed all non-essential business. Governor Gina Raimondo responded to these issues and more during her press conference on Monday, March 23: Schools across the country have officially started their distance learning programs. While Governor Raimondo was not able to give any results about the successes or failures of the first day (the press conference took place in the middle of the “school day”) she did thank parents for their dedication to distance learning and teachers for their innovation during the experimental process. At 5 p.m. on Monday, the governor’s order regarding the closing of all recreation and entertainment facilities will go into effect. This will include any barber shops, gyms, tattoo parlours, and any other close-proximity businesses. Early on Monday, Massachusetts Governor Baker declared that all non-essential business must be closed. Raimondo put a somewhat positive spin on this declaration, stating that it meant that there is less of a need for her to close the borders with Massachusetts. According to the Governor, such a move, although it is being called for by some Rhode Islanders, would be a massive blow to the state’s already struggling economy. The final major declaration made by the Governor was her announcement of an executive order that will be signed, mandating a quarantine period for all domestic travel. With the order in place, all people returning from domestic flights (excluding health and public safety workers) will be forced to undergo a 14 day self quarantine. This order comes in reaction to the fact that almost half of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island have involved travel, both foriegn and domestic. Confidence was the resounding message of this press conference. By next week, the state hopes to be testing seven hundred to eight hundred people a day. Governor Raimondo and health director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott assured the public that “our supply chains are getting stronger by the hour” and that while 106 people in Rhode Island have tested positive for COVID-19, only four are currently being treated in hospitals. While there will most definitely be long term changes that will have to be made in order to compensate for the presence of the virus, with the time frame of vaccines being closer to years than months, Raimondo still plans on life mostly returning to normal as soon as possible.