Safe Activities By Covered Entities During the COVID-19 Emergency


7.1 Authority

A. These regulations are promulgated pursuant to the authority conferred under R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 23-1-1 and 23-1-17, and to Executive Order 20-50 and its predecessors and successors, for the purpose of establishing certain criteria for safe activity by and at covered entities in Rhode Island during the COVID-19 state of emergency in the interest of the public health.

B. These regulations are intended to supplement and not replace COVID-19 related regulations promulgated by other State agencies and departments.

7.2 Definitions

A. Wherever used in this Part, the terms listed below shall be construed in the following manner:

1. "Act" means R.I. Gen. Laws Chapter 23-1.

2. “Business” means a person, firm, corporation, partnership, association, receiver or trustee in bankruptcy, having one or more individuals, including oneself, in service.

3. “CDC” means the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

4. “Civil penalty” or “penalty” or “fine” means a means a monetary sum assessed by the Director in response to a violation of, or a failure to comply with, these regulations.

5. “Cloth face covering” means a protective article that covers the wearer’s mouth and nose.

6. “Covered entity” means any person, business, state agency, political subdivision of the State, non-profit organization, school, religious institution, public or private park or beach, or campground.

7. "COVID-19" means the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

8. "COVID-19 symptoms” means the occurrence of any of the symptoms of COVID-19, as set forth in CDC guidance, when they develop over a period of hours to days and cannot be explained by allergies or other non-infectious disease. Such symptoms include, among others, sweating, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, body aches or other symptoms consistent with fever, temperature measured above 100.4°F, cough, congestion, sore throat, shortness of breath, headache, or new loss of taste or smell.

9. "Department" means the Rhode Island Department of Health.

10. "Director" means the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health or his or her agents or subordinates to whom the Director has delegated the powers and duties vested in the Director by these regulations.

11. “Establishment” means a physical location operated in whole or part by any Covered Entity or any place of public gathering. For purposes of this definition, a residential dwelling, or any portion of an establishment used exclusively as a residential dwelling (such as an apartment in an apartment building), is not deemed an establishment.

12. “Fully vaccinated” means when a person has received all recommended dose(s) of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) or World Health Organization (“WHO”) and at least fourteen (14) days have elapsed since the administration of the final dose.

13. “Health care setting” means any place where healthcare is delivered. This includes but is not limited to acute care facilities, long-term acute care facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home healthcare, vehicles where healthcare is delivered (e.g., mobile clinics), and outpatient facilities, such as dialysis centers, physician offices, and others.

14. “Hot spot” means a location identified by the Department where there is (a) a significantly elevated number of COVID-19 suspect or positive cases or (b) a significant number or severe violations of these regulations or (c) an establishment being operated in a manner that significantly increases the likelihood of employees, patrons, visitors or other individuals being exposed to COVID-19.

15. “Indoor sporting facility” means an establishment operated by a covered entity for the purpose of indoor sporting. For the avoidance of doubt, indoor sporting facilities include, but are not limited to, indoor ice rinks, multi-use sports facilities, basketball courts, racquet sport courts, swimming pools, dance, martial arts and gymnastic studios, bowling alleys and tracks during the time when such facility is used for individual, team or group sports, whether for practice, games or otherwise.

16. "Physical distancing" means the practice of keeping space between oneself and others when outside of the home in order to restrict the spread of infectious disease. The practice of physical distancing, also known as social distancing, involves:

a. staying at least three (3) feet from people outside the same household unless separated by a physical barrier that prevents individuals from having direct contact and contact with any droplets from another individual’s coughing, sneezing or talking;

b. not gathering in groups; and

c. staying out of crowded places.

17. “Proof of vaccination” means an official COVID-19 vaccination verification document, i.e., the individual’s COVID-19 Vaccination Record card, a printed or digital photo of the front and back of the individual’s COVID-19 Vaccination card, or a printed copy or screenshot of the individual’s COVID-19 vaccination record page from Rhode Island’s Vaccine Record Lookup Portal at hhtp://

7.3 Universal Practices

A. Nothing herein shall prohibit or otherwise prevent a covered entity from developing, adopting, and/or implementing protocols or policies that are more restrictive than the provision of this Part.

B. All individuals in public or in an establishment shall wear a cloth face covering.

C. Employers must arrange for cloth face coverings or materials for the making of such face coverings for each employee at no expense to the employee. An employee may fashion his or her own cloth face covering or voluntarily provide and wear other equivalent or more protective face coverings (such as N95 respirators and surgical masks) unless the employer establishes a uniform set of rules regarding acceptable face coverings, in which case the employee must follow those rules subject to the exceptions below. This subsection will remain in effect unless and until the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates the use of cloth face coverings.

D. Exceptions

1. Cloth face coverings are not required for individuals who are required by their employers, this Part, or by state or federal law to wear other more protective respiratory protection (such as N95 respirators and surgical masks).

2. Cloth face coverings are not required for any person: (i) who is under two years of age; (ii) whose health would be damaged thereby; or (iii) who is developmentally unable to comply, including young children who may not be able to effectively wear a mask or cloth face covering.

3. Cloth face coverings are not required for any fully vaccinated persons, except as follows:

a. This exception does not apply in schools, healthcare settings correctional facilities or homeless shelters.

b. All persons must continue to wear cloth face coverings when providing or using the services of any taxi, car, livery, ride-sharing, or similar service or any means of mass public transit, or while within an enclosed or semi-enclosed transit stop or waiting area.

c. All persons must continue to wear cloth face coverings when required by applicable state or federal law or regulation.

4. Cloth face coverings are not required for any person when:

a. Consuming food or drink;

b. A face covering would impede communication by or with a person who has a hearing impediment;

c. Working alone in an office or at a job site, or when workers can easily, continuously, and measurably maintain three (3) feet of distance in a workplace.

d. Speaking at a live interview or to a live audience when no person is within six (6) feet of the person speaking;

e. In a vehicle alone or with members of the same household;

f. Undergoing a medical or dental procedure; or

g. Outdoors.

5. Individuals playing the recorder, woodwind, brass, or other air instruments who, pursuant to this Part, would be unable to perform live indoors due to the requirement that they wear cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth, are permitted to wear modified face coverings specifically designed to accommodate access to the instrument’s mouthpiece. These modified face coverings must include a flap that covers the opening for the mouth for the purpose of preventing the spread of airborne diseases while playing these instruments.

7.4 Rules for Establishments

7.4.1 Universal Rules for Establishments

A. For the duration of the state of emergency caused by COVID-19, covered entities that have establishments that they wish to open and/or remain open, must take the following steps to limit the spread of COVID-19:

1. Each covered entity (other than an individual who is not acting as a sole proprietorship) shall ensure that notice is provided at all entrances to an establishment, that all individuals entering must be screened or self-screened, and to not enter if they are COVID-19 positive, have COVID-19 symptoms, or have had close contact in the last fourteen (14) days with an individual who at the time had COVID-19 and are not exempt from quarantine pursuant to Executive Order 21-26, or any successor thereof. Samples of screening criteria for entrants can be found, in English and Spanish, at

a. If an individual is identified as exhibiting multiple symptoms of COVID-19 or COVID-19 positive, the covered entity shall deny access to that individual unless

(1) the establishment is a cooling center, warming center, or emergency shelter;

(2) the establishment is a health care setting with other access requirements or limitations; or

(3) the individual is a resident in a multi-unit residential establishment.

2. Each covered entity shall ensure that notice is provided at all entrances to an establishment that instructs individuals entering into its establishment to wear cloth face coverings except when § 7.3(D) of this Part applies.

a. If any employee refuses to wear a cloth face covering when required by these regulations and such individual is not otherwise exempt from the requirements pursuant to § 7.3(D) of this Part, a covered entity shall deny access to the establishment. Nothing in this Part shall require a store or other business to refuse entry to a customer not wearing a face covering.

3. In addition to the notices required pursuant to §§ 7.4.1(A)(1) and (2) of this Part, all covered entities shall ensure the placement of all applicable posters and signs found here: hhtps:// In Lieu of the ReopeningRI posters and signs, establishments may substitute other posters and signs provided such substitutes include all relevant information.


5. In the event the Department identifies a hot spot, the affected covered entity shall cooperate fully with the Department to restrict the further spread of COVID-19 within an affected establishment and/or the community at large.

6. Each covered entity will cooperate with the Department on testing, contact tracing, case investigation, isolation and quarantine follow-up matters relating to the covered entity’s establishment.

7. All covered entities must also comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations governing safety and health in their establishments.

7.4.2 Outdoor and Indoor Dining

A. All covered entities operating establishments, which for purposes of § 7.4.2 of this Part includes licensed catering businesses, that offer outdoor and indoor dining shall ensure the following, in addition to compliance with all other applicable laws and regulations:

1. Self-service seating is permitted, subject to any applicable provisions of this Part.

2. An establishment may provide supplementary rules for the wearing of face coverings when customers are dining (e.g., requiring face coverings when customers are speaking with or ordering from a server) provided that those rules permit the exceptions under § 7.3(D) of this Part and are otherwise permitted by applicable law.

7.4.3 Recreation, Entertainment, and Assembly Venues or Establishments

A. All covered entities operating establishments that offer outdoor recreation and entertainment activities, not including any public or private park or beach, campground, farmer’s market, or nature center, shall ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

7.4.4 In-Home Services

All covered entities providing services in residential dwellings shall require and ensure that, notwithstanding any otherwise applicable exemptions pursuant to § 7.3(D) of this Part, all employees entering such residential dwellings wear cloth face coverings unless such employees are required by their employers, this Part, or by state or federal law to wear other more protective respiratory protection (such as N95 respirators and surgical masks). Unless otherwise required by their employers, fully vaccinated employees entering residential dwellings may remove their cloth face coverings if permitted by the head of household or authorized individual.

7.4.5 Indoor Sporting Facilities

A. All covered entities operating indoor sporting facilities shall ensure the following, in addition to compliance with all other applicable laws and regulations:

1. Snack bars, restaurants, bars, and concession establishments located within indoor sporting facilities are subject to the provisions set forth in § 7.4.2 of this Part;

7.4.6 Exceptions

A. §§ 7.4.1(A)(1), (2), and (3) and 7.4.3 of this Part do not apply to any public or private park or beach, campground, or nature center, unless that facility has staff at all points of entry.

B. §§ 7.4.1(A)(1) of this Part do not apply to public bus transportation.

7.5 Closure of Establishments

If the Director determines that a hot spot or other circumstance exists which requires immediate action to protect the health, welfare, or safety of the public or any member of the public, the Director may issue an immediate compliance order, as provided for in R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-1-21, effecting the closure of the establishment until such time as the violation has been remedied, to the satisfaction of the Director. Such remedy shall be in addition to any other penalty that may be prescribed by law.

7.6 Enforcement

A. Inspections

1. The Department and its authorized representatives may enter and inspect any establishment’s premises in a reasonable manner, including, without limitation, all equipment, materials, containers, records, processes and controls, in order to ascertain compliance with these regulations, any applicable Executive Orders, and the Act.

2. The Department may coordinate with or delegate to law enforcement and/or other state or federal agencies to conduct inspections hereunder.

B. Penalties

1. The Department may take any combination of the following actions against an establishment for violation of these regulations, any applicable Executive Order, and/or the Act:

a. Issue a compliance order;

b. If immediate action to protect the health, welfare, or safety of the public or any member of the public is required, issue an immediate compliance order pursuant to § 7.5 of this Part;

c. Levy a civil penalty in accordance with § 7.6(C) of this Part; and/or

d. Take any other action authorized by these regulations, the Act or other applicable law.

C. Civil Penalties

1. The Department may assess civil penalties of not more than five hundred dollars ($500) per violation for each individual violation of this Part or any applicable executive order. Each day’s failure to comply will constitute a separate violation.

D. All hearings and reviews required under the provisions of R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-1 shall be held in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the rules and regulations regarding Practices and Procedures Before the Department of Health (Part 10-05-4 of this Title) and Access to Public Records (Part 10-05-1 of this Title).

E. Administrative action including civil penalties imposed by the Department on account of violations hereunder are in addition to any criminal penalties provided for under applicable law.

7.7 Severability

If any provision of these regulations, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or application of the regulations which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions are declared to be severable.

Title 216 Department of Health
Chapter 50 Environmental Health
Subchapter 15 Healthy Environment
Part 7 Safe Activities By Covered Entities During the COVID-19 Emergency
Type of Filing Amendment
Regulation Status Inactive
Effective 06/18/2021 to 07/06/2021

Regulation Authority:

R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-1-1
R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-1-17
Executive Order 20-50

Purpose and Reason:

Establishing certain criteria for safe activity by individuals in public and at establishments in Rhode Island during the COVID-19 state of emergency in the interest of the public’s health.

Editorial Notes:

The agency requested an extension to the effective dates allowed by R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-35-2.10 for this emergency amendment which had an ineffective date of 7/02/2021 per the agency's request. The extension was granted in accordance with Executive Order 21-70 which permits extensions for sixty (60) days. As a result , the effective dates have been revised to add to the ineffective date of 7/02/2021 and the regulation will now become ineffective on 8/31/2021.

Brief statement of Reason for Finding Imminent Peril:

The stay at home order for the state of Rhode Island caused by COVID-19, the new disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is being lifted. In order to prevent further spread of COVID-19 as individuals begin to leave their homes more frequently and establishments begin to reopen, protective measures must be followed and implemented for individuals and establishments to resume operations so that the public’s health and welfare is protected.