COVID-19

coronavirus
This page has been prepared in order to provide members of the public with information and resources on COVID-19 (coronavirus) and to promote awareness, prevention, and preparedness in our community. This page will be updated as additional information becomes available. Please make sure you are getting information from official sources... as we strive to limit the spread of COVID-19, we also need to make sure we limit the spread of rumors and misinformation.

Key Messages for the Public


  • Rhode Island is currently in Phase 3 (extended July 29th, 2020) of the ReopeningRI plan.  For more information, please visit www.ReopeningRI.com.
  • The State of Rhode Island and The Town of South Kingstown have declared a State of Emergency.
  • Anyone who has tested positive for or who has symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and self-isolate (unless going out for testing or healthcare) and contact a healthcare professional.
  • Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 (either by a lab test or through symptom assessment by a healthcare provider) must self-isolate.  People in isolation must stay at home and stay in isolation until they meet specific RIDOH criteria.
  • Social gatherings are LIMITED TO 15 people (both indoor and outdoor social gatherings).  Please note this limit was reduced from the initial Phase 3 Opening of 25 (indoor) and 50 (outdoor) people.  Additional information on gathering limitations can be found in the Governor's EO 2020-58 issued July 29th, 2020.
  • Domestic Travel: People coming to Rhode Island (or back to RI) from a state that has a high rate of community spread (see the list maintained by RIDOH) currently defined as 5% or greater must quarantine for 14 days upon arriving (or returning to) RI, or until such time as they receive a negative COVID-19 test. Additional Travel Guidance is provided by RIDOH.
  • International Travel: People coming to Rhode Island (or back to RI) from outside the 50 states must quarantine for 14 days.
  • Face coverings must be worn in public - both indoors and outdoors - whenever 6 feet of social distance cannot be continuously maintained.  Exceptions are made for children under two years of age, and anyone whose health would be negatively impacted by wearing a face covering.
  • Close contacts of someone who has tested positive for or who has symptoms of COVID-19, even if they haven't been tested, should quarantine for 14 days following contact. Close contact means you were within six feet of someone who tested positive for or who has symptoms of COVID-19 for a prolonged period (10-15 minutes), you provided care at home to someone who tested positive for or who has symptoms of COVID-19, you had direct physical contact (touched, hugged, or kissed) with someone who tested positive for or who has symptoms of COVID-19, you shared drinking or eating utensils with someone who tested positive for or who has symptoms of COVID-19 , or someone sneezed, coughed, or otherwise got respiratory droplets on you and that person tested positive for or has symptoms of COVID-19 . People who think they have COVID-19 and people who are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for or who has symptoms of COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. Do not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless you are experiencing a medical emergency). (CDC Guidance)
  • People with general, non-medical questions about COVID-19 can visit www.health.ri.gov/covid, write to RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov, or call 401-222-8022.
  • Everyone can help stop the spread of viruses in Rhode Island. Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Stay home and do not leave your house if you are sick, unless it is for emergency medical care. void touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

Summer in South Kingstown



Its the summer - a time when we want to relax, enjoy the beautiful weather and our beautiful local resources, and gather with friends and family.  The reality is that while we may have some time off, COVID-19 doesn't take a vacation... so we need everyone to please continue to stay safe and remain vigilant in our fight against COVID-19.  We've come so far together in the last few months, and we can't let our guard down now.  While we are in Phase 3 of our State's reopening plan, we still need to recognize there are restrictions in place and each of us is responsible for knowing and abiding by them.  We are in this together!

The next few weeks are a critical juncture in our fight against COVID-19.  We need residents and those visiting South Kingstown avoid large groups, keep any parties or cookouts to 15 people or less, continue to wear masks or face coverings in public, continue to practice social distancing, and continue to frequently wash their hands.  As we have seen in other states, cases can easily surge if proper precautions are not taken.  Our numbers are low - lets keep them that way!  Wishing you healthy days ahead.

ACTIVE Executive Orders and Declaration of Emergency



    Local: Town of South Kingstown


    Declaration of Emergency, Began March 15th, 2020
    Executive Order 2020-02, Providing guidance and directives to local restaurants
    Executive Order 2020-06, Increasing Parking Fines to $150 in local Beach Areas
    Executive Order 2020-09, Aligns the local gathering limitation restrictions with those issued by the Governor; aligns the resident, non-resident, and seasonal resident travel, travel restrictions, and self-quarantine requirement with those issued by the Governor; and providing directives to Short Term Lodging owners and operators expires (subject to be extended)

    Statewide: State of Rhode Island


    Executive Order 20-58, Phase 3 Reopening (Extended) Restrictions
    Link to All Executive Orders
       

Message to the South Kingstown Community



We realize this is likely a stressful time, and we want to assure you that the Town is doing everything we can to help promote the health and safety of our community during this pandemic, and to come out of this difficult time as a community stronger than ever. We all have a role to play, and we need everyone's help and cooperation to get through this together. Not only could it save your life, it will save the lives of others in our community. We thank you for your cooperation, patience, and understanding.

A number of resources are provided below, including information about the State's ReopeningRI strategy and related guidance, steps the Town is taking to help our community reopen, State and Town press releases and executive orders, as well as mental health resources, information for those who are out of work, and for small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19. It is important to remember, if you need help, please ask - help is out there.

During this pandemic, members of the public are strongly advised to minimize their risk through the use of social distancing. While the Governor and the Town have lifted the Stay at Home order, residents are encouraged to stay close to home, and should remain home if you are sick (with any symptoms). While many of our Parks and Recreation facilities have reopened, and we recognize the importance of getting outside, getting fresh air, and getting exercise, however everyone needs to be responsible and vigilant about following all social distancing and gathering limit mandates when visiting parks, walking trails, and beaches. The Governor has ordered that cloth face coverings which cover the mouth and nose are to be worn when at work and when in public (indoor and outdoor), however be advised the wearing of cloth face masks does not eliminate or reduce the need to abide by social distancing requirements. Social gatherings are currently limited to no more than 15 people, and be advised that even when gathering in small numbers, social distancing guidance is to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from those who are not in your immediate household. Additional information on gatherings can be found in the Governor's EO 20-58.  Members of the public are strongly advised to stay up to date on the Federal, State, and local response to and guidance on, the evolving COVID-19 situation. Because of the evolving nature of this ongoing community health situation, the Town may implement additional mitigation measures with short notice, and the information provided here is subject to change.

We want to say a special thank you to all the public safety, first responders, medical professionals, and essential employees who live, volunteer, or work in South Kingstown, and to those residents and businesses who have generously volunteered their time, or made donations of essential items to others in our community. To all our residents, thank you. We will get through this. We are an amazing community because of the people who live here. Let's all commit to doing our best during these difficult times.

RIDOH has a helpful COVID-19 page on their website, which offers an updated summary of information and resources. Additional resources can be found below.

Reopening RI



On May 4th, 2020 Governor Raimondo announced the State's reopening strategy available online at ReopeningRI.com.   The Plan outlines the Governor's phased approach that includes Weathering the Storm, Phase 1 Testing the Water, Phase 2 Navigating our Way, Phase 3 Picking up Speed, and then Eventually We Will Land.

The ReopeningRI.com website provides a one-stop source of information on Rhode Island's reopening plan, including general workplace guidelines; guidance for child care and youth activities, faith-based organizations, gyms, parks and recreation, retail stores, restaurants, salons and barbershops, and travel and transit, with new information posted often.   

Check back on ReopeningRI.com often for updates and additional resources.

Online Tools and Resources



Stay up to date and in the know with the below online resources...

    CRUSH COVID RI app


    CRUSH COVID RI is a COVID-19 pandemic response app which provides Rhode Islanders easy access to all of the resources required during the public health crisis, including a location diary that helps users identify the people and places they are in contact with and a symptom checking survey.

    Governor's Email Updates


    Sign up to receive email updates from the Governor, and keep up to date on the latest news from Rhode Island's coronavirus response.

    COVID-19 Self-Checker


    RIDOH has developed a COVID-19 Self-Checker, which is an online tool for Rhode Islanders to use to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care.

    COVID-19 Data Dashboard


    RIDOH has published a COVID-19 Data Dashboard that provides up to date data and statistics regarding COVID-19 in Rhode Island.

Governor's Stay At Home Order Lifted



The Governor issued Executive Order 20-14 on Saturday March 28th, 2020 which included several significant orders, including a Stay at Home order for all Rhode Islanders.  This Stay at Home order was lifted, effective Saturday May 9th, 2020, after the Governor issued Executive Order 20-32.  It is noted that vulnerable populations as defined by the CDC, which include those who are 65 and older are strongly advised to stay at home unless they must go to work, travel for medical treatment or obtain other necessities such as groceries, gas or medication. The CDC has identified conditions that make people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. In addition, Executive Order 20-58 indicates that vulnerable populations should still remain home, provides gathering limitations, and travel guidance including quarantine requirements.

Cloth Face Coverings To be Worn in Public 


 
The Governor issued Executive Order 20-30 stating that effective Friday May 8th, 2020 anyone in public, both inside and outside, shall wear a cloth face covering that covers their nose and mouth. The Governor subsequently issued Executive Order 20-41 regarding cloth face coverings. Additional detail about this directive, and exceptions, can be found in the Executive Orders.

Rhode Island Commerce has provided information for retailers and businesses, and RIDOH has provided signage to post.

Dr. Alexander-Scott had indicated in a Press Conference that the primary goal of wearing a cloth face covering is to help reduce the release of respiratory droplets that may contain infectious materials into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes. As pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic people are contagious, wearing cloth face coverings helps to reduce transmission by people who don't know they are sick.

The Doctor shared that cloth face coverings can be a home-sewn face mask, or an improvised covering such a scarf, and that these face coverings should be washed at least daily.  The Doctor advised that cloth face coverings are different than medical masks, and that people should not be hoarding surgical masks or N95 masks which are in short supply. Instead, people are encouraged to wear cloth face coverings, with material that covers the nose and mouth, can be secured to the head with ties or straps, or simply wrapped around the lower face.

The CDC has also issued guidance regarding cloth face coverings, available below.
CDC Recommendations on Cloth Face Coverings
CDC Information on how to make and use Cloth Face Coverings

State of Rhode Island Press Releases & Executive Orders



The Governor has issued a number of Executive Orders regarding COVID-19, and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and other State Agencies have issued a number of important press releases providing helpful information, resources, and updates - including directives from the Governor for all residents, businesses, and visitors to the State. Use the links below to access recent Executive Orders, and Press Releases. Please note, the first press release link provides access to Press Releases from all Rhode Island State Agencies, and the second provides a direct link to RIDOH press releases.

State of Rhode Island Executive Orders
State of Rhode Island Press Releases
RIDOH Press Releases

Town of South Kingstown Press Releases



The Town's formal press releases regarding COVID-19 are linked below. Updates will also be shared on social media via the Town's official Facebook page. Because of the evolving nature of this ongoing community health situation, the Town may implement additional mitigation measures with short notice, and the information provided here is subject to change. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
 

Travel Guidance


 
The most recent Executive Order issued by the Governor providing Travel Guidance is Executive Order 20-58.
  
The Governor has directed the following people to self-quarantine:
  • Anyone who has traveled anywhere internationally in the last 14 days and came to or returned to Rhode Island must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Anyone who has traveled domestically to (or back to) Rhode Island from a state that has a high rate of community spread (currently defined as 5% or greater), in the last 14 days must  immediately self-quarantine for 14 days, or until such time as they receive a negative COVID-19 test.  Exceptions include public health, public safety, and healthcare workers, and anyone traveling for work related purposes, for medical treatment, to attend funeral or memorial services, to obtain necessities such as groceries, gas or medication, to drop off or pick up children from day care, to anyone who must work on their boats, and to anyone who has had a negative COVID-19 test from a specimen taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Rhode Island.
The Town Manager has amended the local Executive Order 2020-09, aligning the Town's travel guidance and quarantine restrictions with the States, through August 11th, 2020.
 
Self-quarantine (based on RIDOH guidance) means stay home; do not go to work, school, or any public places; do not use public transportation; separate yourself from other people in your home, as much as possible stay in a different room than other people in your home; and use a separate bathroom if possible. Please refer to RIDOH guidance  for further guidance on self-quarantining.

The CDC has also provided guidance for travelers regarding COVID-19.
CDC Travel Guidance
CDC Travel FAQ

Key Dates



March 9th, 2020

  • Governor declares a State of Emergency in Rhode Island

March 15th, 2020

  • South Kingstown Town Council voted to authorize a Declaration of Emergency

April 18th, 2020

  • Governor's Executive Order 20-24 requiring all employees required to wear Cloth Face Coverings

May 8th, 2020

  • Governor's Executive Order 20-30 requiring Cloth Face Masks to be worn by members of the public while in public (indoors and outdoors) 

May 9th, 2020

  • Governor's Stay At Home Order Lifted
  • Reopening RI Phase 1 Began

May 18th, 2020

  • Restaurants can begin limited outdoor dining in addition to offering take out, delivery, and drive through services 

June 1st, 2020

  • Town of South Kingstown 4th Quarter Tax Due Date (extended from May 1st)
  • Reopening RI Phase 2 Began 
  • Gathering limits increased from 5 to 15 people  
  • Restaurants can begin limited indoor dining, in addition to offering outdoor dining, takeout, delivery, and drive through services

June 29th, 2020

  • Summer Camp permitted to begin 

June 30th, 2020

  • Reopening RI Phase 3 Began (refer to www.ReopeningRI.com for more detail) 
  • Gathering limits increased from 15 to 25 people (indoor social gatherings), please refer to the Governor's EO 20-50 for more detail
  • People traveling to (or back to) Rhode Island from a state that has a high rate of community spread (currently defined as 5% or greater), in the last 14 days must  immediately self-quarantine for 14 days.  Exceptions include public health, public safety, and healthcare workers, and anyone traveling for work related purposes, for medical treatment, to attend funeral or memorial services, to obtain necessities such as groceries, gas or medication, to drop off or pick up children from day care, to anyone who must work on their boats, and to anyone who has had a negative COVID-19 test from a specimen taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Rhode Island. 

July 8th, 2020

  • Town of South Kingstown local Executive Order 2020-07 (amended) suspending 'The Plastic Bag Ban" expired (Businesses are advised this EO will not be extended)

July 17th, 2020

July 29th, 2020

  • Reopening RI Phase 3 Extended (refer to www.ReopeningRI.com for more detail) 
  • Gathering limits reduced to 15 people, please refer to the Governor's EO 20-58 for more detail on gathering limits, travel guidance, etc.

August 11th, 2020

August 31st, 2020

  • First Day of School

September 2nd, 2020

  • State of Rhode Island Declaration of Emergency, Extended by EO 20-59, expires (subject to be extended)
  • Governor's Executive Order requiring Cloth Face Masks to be worn by members of the public while in public (indoors and outdoors), Extended by EO 20-60, expires (subject to be extended)

Letters to Seasonal Residents & Visitors to South Kingstown


 
The Town Manager released a Letter to our Seasonal Residents & Visitors, which was hand delivered in late March and early April by members of the South Kingstown Police Department to the homes of many seasonal residents in Town.

The Town Manager has written a second letter, a Welcome Letter to Seasonal Residents, welcoming back seasonal residents and providing information about the Town’s response to the COVID crisis, current restrictions and guidelines, and sharing the new "Covid-Safe Harbor" program that has been developed in concert with local businesses so all visitors to South Kingstown feel safe and welcome.

Mental Health Resources



It is important to take care of our physical health, but at times like these it is also important to take care of our mental health.  Linked below are resources shared by the CDC and RIDOH with mental health supports and resources.

CDC Managing Anxiety & Stress
RIDOH Coping with Stress

Residents who need help with basic needs - We can help



During this period of social distancing, local support service agencies including the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale, Southern RI Volunteers and South Kingstown Senior Center are coordinating efforts to ensure that the basic needs are met for our residents. If you are over the age of sixty or have an underlying medical condition, the CDC has determined that you are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. You should stay home as much as possible. If you, or someone you know, is without local support of family or neighbors, and need assistance with getting food or prescription delivery, please call the South Kingstown Senior Center at (401) 789-0268 and provide the name, address, and phone number for the resident you are referring.

Local & State Resources



The Town is working closely with many local partners and resources at the State level, to monitor the ongoing situation and its impacts locally and throughout the state.  Please be sure to stay up to date on information from the South Kingstown School Department, South County Health, and the University of Rhode Island, and visit their websites for information and updates specific to the populations they serve as well.

SKPD & SKEMS Preparedness



The South Kingstown Police Department and the South Kingstown Emergency Medical Services Department are following guidance from RIDOH and the CDC and have implemented procedures to support COVID-19 transmission prevention efforts.

Municipal Department Preparedness



Please be advised that some municipal buildings have reopened, others remain open by appointment only, and others remain closed to the public.  Town Hall and municipal offices remain open by appointment only, and are not permitting walk ins.  The Guild and the Rec Center are open for limited scheduled programming, but are not permitting drop ins.  The Peace Dale Library is open for abbreviated hours, and has curbside checkout available.  Hale and Kingston libraries remain closed until further notice. The Animal Shelter is open by appointment only, but members of the public are not permitted in the building.  Please call (401) 789-9331 to schedule an appointment. Click here to access the Town's Staff Directory.

The Town is encouraging residents in need of service from any of our municipal departments to call or email for assistance, and we are happy to help.  Often times we can assist you with your questions over the phone or via email without the need to schedule an in-person appointment.  In addition, there are also many resources available on the Town's website.  

Members of the public are also welcome to use the Drop Box at Town Hall to submit employment application materials, tax and utility payments (no cash please), and any other items that do not require face to face interaction.  The Drop Box will be checked multiple times throughout the day.

The Town has implemented enhanced disinfecting efforts throughout our municipal buildings, and has closed some municipal buildings to the public. In those that remain open to the public, hand sanitizer is available for public use, and disinfecting wipes are available as well. The Town is strongly encouraging members of the public to practice social distancing, and if you are not feeling well, to please stay home, do not come to Town Hall or any municipal buildings. 

Symptoms



People of ANY AGE can contract COVID-19. The CDC has advised that reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and even death for confirmed COVID-19 cases, and that the symptoms commonly appear 2-14 days after exposure.

The CDC and RIDOH advise that common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, however have recently added that symptoms can also include muscle aches (myalgias), chills, runny nose or stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, or diarrhea. RIDOH notes that people who have COVID-19 have experienced a range of different symptoms, to include only one or any combination of these symptoms.

RIDOH has advised that people who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider, and should not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling the healthcare facility (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency). The CDC and RIDOH have advised that older people and people of any age with severe underlying health conditions or have a compromised immune system seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness. RIDOH reminds the public that there are many respiratory illnesses circulating in Rhode Island, such as the flu and the common cold, and that while members of the public should remain vigilant regarding COVID-19, having respiratory symptoms does not mean that you have COVID-19.

CDC Guidance on Symptoms

Personal Prevention



The CDC advises that everyone can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19, and that everyday preventative actions can help. The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering, social distancing; frequent handwashing with soap and warm water; coughing and sneezing into your elbow or a tissue; avoid touching mouth, nose, and eyes; disinfect commonly touched surfaces; and if you are sick, stay at home. RIDOH is encouraging wearing a cloth face covering, and social distancing such as when greeting people, avoiding handshakes and hugs, and avoiding close personal contact in public - stay at least 6 feet away from other people.  RIDOH is encouraging activities that promote a healthy immune system, such as getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing stress, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating nutritious foods.

CDC Prevention & Treatment

Community Prevention



The CDC has provided guidance on COVID-19 prevention efforts in the community, such as at home and at school, as well as providing guidance for businesses and employers, healthcare settings, and first responders.

CDC Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities (PDF)
CDC Community Prevention Guidance

RIDOH Hotline



People with general questions about COVID-19 can call the RIDOH hotline available to the public at (401) 222-8022 (people are being directed to call 211 after hours) or write to RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov.

Hotel, Vacation, and Rental Property Owner Resources from the RIDOR Division of Taxation



In order to comply with the State's quarantine orders, and the Town's Executive Order 2020-03, the Division of Taxation has provided this resource for Hotel, Vacation, and Rental Property Owners, and the Town has provided a letter to seasonal residents and visitors. Owners and operators of short term lodging must provide these to their guests, and inform guests of the quarantine requirement and arrange for delivery service of food and other essentials.

RIDLT Resources



Rhode Islanders who have lost work as a result of COVID-19, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT). The RIDLT has created a COVID-19 specific Fact Sheet, available in both English and Spanish.

Small Business Resources


 
Please visit ReopeningRI.com for information  regarding the State's Reopening plan, there are a number of resources and guidance documents for businesses. 

Additional resources can be found on the Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce website, the State of Rhode Island's Department of Business Regulation (DBR) website, and Rhode Island District Office of US Small Business Administration (SBA) website.

On April 1st, 2020 the Governor announced in a Press Release the State is launching a short-term bridge loan program for restaurants and small businesses.  In addition, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering Coronavirus Relief Options.

CDC & RIDOH Online Resources



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) websites offer a wealth of information and resources regarding COVID-19. The Town is working closely with RIDOH to monitor the ongoing situation and its impacts locally.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website
Visit the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) website