A new unit of the Rhode Island State Police will be enforcing the state’s limitations on social gatherings, and Gov. Gina Raimondo wants Rhode Islanders to call in with information.
“We are struggling to keep social gatherings under control,” Raimondo told reporters Wednesday. “We are getting very serious about this.”
Under the state’s current policies, social gatherings should be limited to 15 or fewer people, and those people are encouraged to wear masks and gather outdoors.
“If you see a social gathering that is too big — more than 15 people — folks don’t have their mask on, people are bunched up and close to each other — I would like you to reach out and let us know,” Raimondo said.
Raimondo announced the enforcement as one of several policies aimed at curbing the state’s Covid-19 epidemic. Data released by the state’s department of health shows the case count beginning to rise after months of trending downward.
“Our goal is always educate first,” Raimondo said. “If you don’t have a mask, you know, we’re not fining you for not having a mask. We’re giving you a mask.”
“We want to make it easy and deescalate the situation,” she said. “Having said that, I want to remind you the fine for violating a social gathering limit is up to $500.”
That fine, she said, could be levied against all attendees at a large gathering.
Though the dedicated social gathering enforcement unit and the tip hotline are run by state police, Raimondo said that the task force would work closely with local police.
To date, 1,012 Rhode Islanders have died from Covid-19, according to the most recent data from the Rhode Island Department of Health.