Rhode Island Business Guidlines During COVID-19 Crisis - Rhode Island Commerce

Business guidelines during crisis

Información en espanol.

While the State of Rhode Island is working to keep as many businesses open as possible, we are asking businesses operate within strict parameters to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and for non-critical retail, entertainment and other close-contact businesses to close. For ideas how to minimize in-person interactions in order to continue operating safely, see our COVID-19 business checklist.

Please read the guidelines below. If you still have questions about your business, please call the Department of Business Regulation at 401-889-5550 or submit your questions online on the Department of Business Regulation’s website.

If you have questions or concerns about working or operating businesses during this time, submit them to the Department of Business Regulation using this form.

 

Guidelines

Governor Raimondo has ordered:

  • All business service personnel that can work from home to do so. Business service personnel include accountants, lawyers, human resources and procurement professionals.
  • Gatherings of more than 5 people are prohibited in any public or private space, including conference rooms.
  • All public and private enterprises remaining open shall post appropriate notices requiring compliance with recommendations by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Director of Rhode Island Department of Health.
  • The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation has released guidelines for grocers and large retailers, which you can view online here, or here in Spanish.
  • Hotels and rental companies should inform their out-of-state guests, except for those here on business, that they must self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival.
  • All employees of customer-facing businesses, office-based businesses and nonprofits, and manufacturers must wear cloth face coverings while at work.
Cloth face covering rules and resources

En espanol.

View our face coverings guidelines and resources page

All employees of customer-facing businesses, office-based businesses and nonprofits, construction businesses, and manufacturers must wear cloth face coverings while at work, beginning on April 18. All of these businesses must provide face coverings for their employees. Face coverings can include scarves, bandanas and other homemade and non-factory-made masks.

For more information on the new face coverings rules see guidance from the Department of Business Regulation here (or in Spanish here).

Additionally, all customer-facing businesses must take steps to remind customers to wear face coverings. That means you should be putting up signs at the door reminding customers to wear a face covering inside.

Download, print and display these signs to remind everyone to wear face coverings in your businesses.

Download English sign

Download Spanish sign

The only exceptions from these rules are children under two years old and people whose health would be in jeopardy because of wearing a face covering. The latter are advised not to visit stores.

You may read the full text of the governor’s executive order regarding wearing face masks here.

Face coverings for businesses

Polaris MEP, DesignxRI and Commerce worked to form Masks RI, an online platform to connect Rhode Island designers, makers and manufacturers of non-medical masks and cloth face covers with potential buyers.

If you would like to purchase face coverings, register here as a buyer

If you would like to be listed as a supplier, submit your information here.

View our face coverings guidelines and resources page

Financial services

Financial Institution Pledge

More than 20 financial institutions, from our state’s largest banks to our valued credit unions, have pledged to offer significant and much-needed relief to Rhode Island homeowners. You can learn more about this here.

Hotels, realtors, real estate and hospitality

The State of Rhode Island is instructing hotels, realtors, and others involved in hospitality and real estate transactions to:

  • Include the attached addendum (en espanol) with any lease, rental agreement, or deed (as an attachment). This addendum requires potential tenants, renters, lessees, or purchasers of real estate in Rhode Island to acknowledge (at time of signing) receipt of this communication (en espanol) informing them that persons coming to the state of Rhode Island from another state, territory, or a location outside the United States must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • We also ask for your cooperation in ensuring that such persons report any applicable self-quarantines to the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) via health.ri.gov/oos-covid/ and as described here (en espanol).

Links

Manufacturers

The Rhode Island Manufacturer’s Association has called for manufacturers to sign its pledge for responsible manufacturing to maintain workplace safety during COVID-19. The pledge prioritizes employee safety and health, keeps plants running, and implements uniform manufacturing best practices. Read an overview of the pledge here.

For shop floor guidance, see info from the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association here.

Restaurants, entertainment, close-contact businesses

Governor Raimondo has ordered the following businesses to close or curtail operations.

Restaurants

Restaurants and bars must close for dine-in service, but can still serve takeout and delivery, including pickup and delivery of beer and wine (Executive Order 20-04 and Executive Order 20-08).

Entertainment and close-contact businesses

Entertainment, recreation and other nonessential close-contact businesses must close (Executive Order 20-09). These include, but are not limited to:

  • Theaters and cinemas
  • Sporting teams, clubs, events, and other facilities
  • Performing arts venues, including concert and music venues, and dance companies
  • Museums, zoos, sightseeing tours
  • Amusement parks, bowling alleys, arcades, gambling facilities, racetracks
  • Gymnasiums, fitness centers, and other similar exercise facilities (yoga studios, barre studios, martial arts, etc.)
  • Hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and other cosmetology facilities
  • Spas and other personal care facilities (e.g., massage)
  • Tattoo parlors

The Rhode Island Hospitality Association provides guidance for their industry here.

This is a summary ONLY and does not cover all of the measures in the Governor’s executive orders.

Read all of the executive orders here.

Retail businesses

En espanol

In accordance with Governor Raimondo’s March 28, 2020 executive order, the Department of Business Regulation is providing the following list of critical and non-critical retail businesses.  For questions on these guidelines, please call the Department of Business Regulation at 401-889-5550 or submit your questions online on the Department of Business Regulation’s web form.

The following critical retail businesses may stay open while maintaining appropriate procedures to minimize in-person contact:

  • Food and beverage stores (e.g. supermarkets; liquor, specialty food, bodega and convenience stores; farmers’ markets; food banks and pantries)
  • Pharmacies and medical supply stores, compassion centers
  • Pet supply stores
  • Printing shops, mail and delivery stores and operations, office supply
  • Gas stations
  • Laundromats
  • Electronics and telecommunications stores
  • Industrial, construction, agricultural/seafood equipment and supply stores, hardware stores, general power equipment
  • Funeral homes
  • Auto repair and supply
  • Banks and credit unions
  • Firearms stores
  • Healthcare and public safety professional uniform stores
  • And other stores and businesses identified as critical by the Department of Business Regulation.

The following non-critical businesses may no longer open for customers, however they may continue to receive and ship orders made by phone or online, and offer curbside pickup and delivery while maintaining appropriate procedures to minimize in-person contact:

  • Arts & crafts stores
  • Florists
  • Furniture stores (by appointment only)
  • Car and other motor vehicle dealerships (except for auto repair and by appointment only)
  • Music stores
  • Billiard stores
  • Sporting goods stores
  • Home furnishings stores
  • Lawn/garden supply stores (note that agricultural/seafood supply would be allowed to be open)
  • Book stores
  • Departments stores
  • Gift stores
  • Beauty supply stores
  • Second-hand/consignment stores
  • Shoe stores
  • Clothing stores
  • Jewelry stores

Additional guidance:

  • Restaurants and bars may continue to operate only for pickup, drive-through, and delivery as per the Governor’s Executive Order 20-04.
  • All critical retail employers are required to implement social distancing and to work from home to the extent possible.
  • The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation has released guidelines for grocers and large retailers, which you can view online here, or here in Spanish.
  • Financial services offered by pawn shops and payday lenders would be allowed to continue. In-person retail at pawn shops would be considered non-critical and closed.
  • For stores that are mixed retail and service, general retail with customers coming in and out of your store is not permitted.
  • For non-critical retail stores, although in-person retail sales are not allowed, retailers may continue to receive and ship orders made by phone or online.

This is a summary ONLY and does not cover all of the measures in the Governor’s executive orders.

Read all of the executive orders here.

Steps to protect workers and customers

Legal support

Duffy & Sweeney lawyers and paralegals are staffing a free email and call hotline for use by clients, friends and small business owners struggling without the resources to get answers to general, business legal questions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.

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