Masks - Rhode Island Commerce

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Face covering rules and resources

En espanol.

What mandatory masks mean for you:  face coverings in public places

Effective Friday May 8 everyone, except children under 2 and people whose health would be damaged by wearing a face covering, must wear face coverings when in a public place, both indoors and outdoors.

All employees of customer-facing businesses, office-based businesses and nonprofits, construction businesses, and manufacturers must  wear cloth face coverings while at work. 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.You may read the full text of the governor’s executive order regarding wearing face

Face mask guidelines from the Commission on Disabilities

Businesses and organizations open to the public are asked not to put zero tolerance policies in place with respect to face coverings. Zero tolerance policies make it impossible to make reasonable accommodations required by state and federal law. Entities must follow state regulations and guidelines on requiring face masks and must accommodate anyone who is unable to wear a face masks for reasons related to health/disability.

CDC face covering guidelines

The CDC’s guidelines and patterns for making face coverings are available here.

The Center for Disease Control recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

Learn more about CDC face covering guidelines

The Center for Disease Control recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

The CDC recommends that cloth face coverings should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops.
  • Include multiple layers of fabric.
  • Allow for breathing without restriction.
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.

Face coverings should be routinely washed, depending on the frequency of use. A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.

DIY video

Shannon Maynard of South County Masketeers, who are making cotton masks for health care workers and essential workers in their community, offers this demonstration of how to make your own DIY beginners face mask. Watch the video.

Fabric face coverings are easy to make–or improvise. Your employees can make them from a bandana or square of cloth: fold it in half, cover the lower face with the fold above the nose, and tie behind your neck. Voila.

The key is to use multiple layers of washable fabric, fully cover the nose and mouth, and wash after each use–or at least daily.

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.

#MaskUpRI

For inspiration, follow Mask_Up_RI on Instagram or @Mask_RI on Twitter, led by our partners, Styleweek Northeast and GoProvidence. And tag #MaskUpRI to be featured yourself.

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