Will Governor Dan McKee implement a mask warrant in the COVID announcement?


PROVIDENCE – If Gov. Dan McKee takes inspiration from his counterparts, people in Rhode Island may see more, but not necessarily universal, mask requirements.

They will soon have a new app on their cellphones to prove they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.

And businesses expect more guidance on how to deal with masking inside their own establishments.

McKee has given no indication whether or not he will reflect the dramatic actions taken by New York Governor Kathy Hochul in the new protocols that it is about to announce. From Monday of this week, Hochul ordered that masks be worn indoors in all public spaces that do not require proof of vaccination to enter.

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But in recent days, the Democratic Governor of Connecticut and the Republican Governor of Massachusetts both ruled out new mask warrants.

What will McKee do?

A media advisory only indicated that McKee and state health director Dr Nicole Alexander-Scott would announce “a full package of measures to deal with an increase in COVID-19 cases”, putting emphasis on “vaccination, testing, masking and staffing capacity.” . “

This is where it is located in Rhode Island

McKee ended Rhode Island’s mask mandate along with several other COVID-19 health orders in a July 6 executive order.

But the Rhode Island Department of Health recommends that even fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors when “the spread in the community is large or high.” This has been the case in Rhode Island since the end of July.

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The Ministry of Health also provided this guidance on Tuesday:

“Whether you are vaccinated or not, you are always required to wear a mask: if a business, private school, camp, health facility or other entity requires it … in K-12 public schools … on public transport like planes, buses and trains …

(The school mask mandate is a state requirement. Transportation and healthcare facilities are federal requirements.)

More broadly: “The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) supports the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to wear a mask outdoors in crowded places or during activities where you are nearby. people who are not fully immunized. “

Governor Dan McKee:Rhode Island to introduce mobile app to show proof of vaccination

Rhode Island’s vaccine needs are currently limited to healthcare workers, and no one has yet raised the specter of a state requiring a “vaccine passport” to enter public places. But some places in the state, including many of the state’s major performing arts venues, require proof of vaccination.

The McKee administration on December 1 announced that Rhode Island is expected to make available, within two weeks, a mobile phone app called 401 Health that would allow residents to easily prove their COVID vaccination status. He will have a verified and authentic digital copy of each person’s vaccination record.

Hide mandates in neighboring states

Seven states – Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Washington – require most people to wear masks in indoor public places, whether or not they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to an AARP investigation. An eighth state, California, reinstates his mask tenure on Wednesday.

Rhode Island’s closest neighbors, Massachusetts and Connecticut, have mask wearing requirements for certain populations.

In Connecticut, for example, the state’s website says, “Indoors: vaccinees don’t have to wear masks; non-vaccinated people should wear masks. “

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Last Friday, Democratic Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced his state would partner with Rhode Island on a new cell phone app providing digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination, which will be available by end of the year.

But Lamont has ruled out a statewide masking warrant.

“I think what I want to do is get this digital health card [and] make it available for every business, restaurant, store, ”Lamont said.

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“Let them make the right decision in terms of authorizing people in their establishment. Let them have the information [that] if a person is not vaccinated, they should wear a mask. “

“I don’t think we need more mandates than that,” added Lamont, who was named the country’s most popular Democratic governor in a recent Morning Consult poll.

The general order to cover the face of Massachusetts was lifted on May 29.

Monday, Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters Massachusetts has no plans to reinstate a statewide mask mandate, according to the Boston Globe.

“Public transport has a mask mandate,” Baker said. “Long-term care has a mask mandate. Public schools have a mask mandate. Healthcare organizations have mask mandates. … Keep in mind that we are in a very different place than we were before. Five million people are fully immunized. One and a half million of them are boosted.

He announced that Massachusetts would instead distribute 2.1 million free home COVID-19 tests “in an ambitious effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus as a winter wave looms.”

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But a number of major cities have themselves reinstated mask orders amid concerns about the Delta variant, including Boston.

At the end of August, then-acting mayor Kim Janey announced that face masks would be required in all indoor public places in Boston., as part of a “five-point plan” to mitigate the spread of the delta variant.

Other communities with current mask mandates for at least municipal facilities include Georgetown, Lowell, Salem, Worcester, Fall River and Pittsfield, according to the Globe.

In Lowell, the Board of Health voted unanimously on Monday to establish an indoor mask mandate in this city.

The draft regulations posted on the panel’s website said that face coverings “are mandatory for all individuals, regardless of immunization status, aged two years and over in all indoor public spaces, places of worship or private spaces open to the public, except when an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to a health problem or disability.