Last updated 5/18/2020 at 12:00PM
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) is a respiratory virus first detected in December of 2019. As we continue to see community spread of the virus throughout the state, it is appropriate for residents and businesses to review standard sanitary protocols which help minimize transmission of contagious conditions generally.
How many cases does Providence have?
What can I do to protect myself and our community?
- Wash your hands
- Cover your cough
- Stay home
- Disinfect surfaces
- Wear a mask or bandana when leaving the house
- Practice Social Distancing (6 feet)
When can I end home isolation?
People with COVID-19 who have self-isolated (after testing positive) or home quarantined (after coming into contact with someone who was positive or later tested positive or travels after which the individual has to self-monitor for symptoms and if they become symptomatic must then be tested) can stop home isolation under the following conditions:
If you will NOT have a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these two things have happened:
- You have had no symptoms at all, including no fever, for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) AND
- At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
If you WILL be tested to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:
- You no longer have a fever (without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) AND
- Other symptoms have improved (example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND
- You received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Have COVID-19 symptoms? Refer to our one-pager and get tested.
What is the City of Providence doing?
Mayor Elorza declared a State of Emergency in Providence on March 12. The following establishments, facilities, and activities will be closed, suspended or prohibited until June 5:
- Fitness Centers, Health Clubs, Health Spas, Gyms, Aquatic Centers
- Hair Salons and Barber Shops
- Massage Parlors and Body Works Establishments
- Beauty Salons (Including tanning, nail and eyelash salons)
- Tattoo Parlors and Piercing Parlors
- Flea Markets
- Playgrounds, Park Parking Lots, Golf Courses, Basketball Courts, Tennis Courts, Baseball Fields, and Soccer Fields
- Mass Gatherings (including social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 5 people)
- Special Event Permits
- Entertainment Licenses
- Dine-in Food Services (though take-out, pick-up, and delivery are still permitted. Food establishments can offer outdoor dining beginning May 18th under state and city guidelines.)
- Travelers entering Rhode Island from any other state regardless of the mode of transportation must self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Social gatherings must be limited to no more than 5 people.
- Employees must wear masks to work, including homemade masks that cover the nose and mouth. Employees that cannot do their jobs with a mask are exempt.
What if I feel sick and need to be tested?
Have COVID-19 symptoms? Refer to our one-pager and get tested.
The City is hosting the State’s first drive-up and walk-up COVID-19 test site in partnership with The Providence Community Health Centers (PCHC) and the State of Rhode Island at Robert L. Bailey IV Elementary School. In an effort to increase opportunities for local and accessible testing, the City is also working to support Clinica Esperanza in Olneyville that currently offers drive-thru COVID-19 testing to Providence’s frontline communities. For more information on these test sites and how to get tested, click here.
Referral from primary care physician required for an appointment. These tests are free of charge and information, including immigration status, is confidential. If you have symptoms, call your primary care physician. New patients can reach out to partners at the below contact information, bilingual personnel is available.
Providence Community Health Center
Drive-up and walk-up testing available by appointment only
Bailey Elementary School, 65 Gordon Avenue
Drive-up testing available by appointment six days a week from 4:00PM to 9:00PM
60 Valley Street
Rhode Island Free Clinic
Drive-up and walk-up testing are available by appointment Monday through Thursday 12:00PM to 4:00PM and Saturdays 10:00AM to 2:00PM.
647 Broad Street
Rhode Island College
Drive-up testing is available with a referral from a physician. Please call a physician for a referral and specific location details.
600 Mount Pleasant Avenue
All additional testing support has been supplemented by supplies from the State of Rhode Island. The City continues to work closely with the State and the National Guard to identify opportunities to establish and expand COVID-19 test sites. Those interested in partnering with the City should contact Deputy Chief of Staff Theresa Agonia at
What are the latest numbers in Providence?
That information is managed by the State. Statewide information can be found here.
Have COVID-19 symptoms? Refer to our one-pager and get tested.
What about Providence Public Schools?
On April 23, 2020, Governor Raimondo announced that all Rhode Island public schools (K-12) continue distance learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. While not all distance learning lesson plans will center on computer work, much of it will, and we are committed to preparing our school community as best we can for this new learning experience. Visit the Providence Public School District distance learning landing page for more information.
Experiencing an issue with distance learning setup? Have a school-related need? The Providence Public School Department has set up a parent hotline (401) 456-0686 to answer all of your questions Monday-Friday 8:00AM-4:00PM.
With distance learning programs in place, where can kids get nutritious meals?
Starting April 7th, in order to support the health of families and staff, Providence is moving to a multi-day food distribution system. Free grab & go breakfast, lunch & dinners are available throughout the city. Beginning April 7, meals for multiple days will be provided at each location (6 meals on Tuesday & 8 meals on Friday).
Parents and guardians can pick up meals on behalf of Providence Public School students. Come with your student’s name, school name, and school identification number. All other meals can be picked up by any Providence youth 18 & under, no registration, no identification required.
Please note, multi-day boxes of food weigh approximately 8lbs. each.
Will the City’s public facilities and buildings remain open?
The health and safety of our residents, businesses, and visitors is our absolute top priority. As a precaution, the City will be closing all public buildings including City Hall, all Recreation Centers, the Museum of Natural History, and the Botanical Center through June 5, 2020. Bank Newport City Center and the Providence Rink are now closed for the winter season.
The Mayor’s Center for City Services will continue to support calls from 8:00 AM-8:00 PM. Residents and businesses can call to connect by dialing 3-1-1 or by downloading the app for smartphones or visiting the website. For updated operational changes during this time click here.
What actions are being taken to help employees who are out of work?
We are currently reviewing all options we have at the local level to provide relief to local residents who are out of work and businesses who are closed. The Department of Labor and Training has worked to increase the flexibility and manageability of the Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) and the Unemployment Insurance, including waiving the seven-day minimum amount of time and previously required medical certification. Affected businesses with questions on Unemployment Insurance, Paid Sick and Safe Leave, or other work-related programs should contact the DLT by emailing or calling (401) 462-2020.
Employees can view resources from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training here.
What actions are being taken to help small businesses?
We know there is a real and serious impact on our local business community at this time. While we encourage people to support local businesses as much as possible, we know that this might not be enough. Rhode Island’s Small Business Administration is taking steps to mitigate those challenges. There will be small loan help and an economic disaster loan program. We will work in concert with the Governor’s Office to identify businesses and non-profits in need. To learn more, business owners can visit sba.gov/disaster.
In response to the impacts of COVID-19 on the Providence small business community, the Providence Business Loan Fund has announced temporary modifications to the Fund to provide access to capital for eligible small businesses and immediate relief for existing borrowers. We want to hear your feedback so we can improve supports for our small business in the City. Please fill out this quick survey and let us know how we can better support you and your business during this time.
On April 1, 2020, the Governor announced a short-term bridge loan program for restaurants and micro-businesses (business with up to 10 employees). Eligible businesses must first apply for a federal Small Business Administration emergency disaster loan. Businesses can then apply for the bridge loans through the Local Initiative Support Corporation website. You may also call 521-HELP or visit Commerce Rhode Island’s COVID-19 website for more information.
How does this affect my restaurant, night club, or bar?
Per the Mayor’s directive, effective March 17, 2020, through June 5th there will be no dine-in services (food and beverage) in restaurants, bars, coffee shops, or night clubs in Rhode Island. Establishments with food licenses can still offer delivery service, pick-up, and drive-thru, and can sell up to two bottles of wine and 144 ounces of beer in original factory sealed containers, with take-out food orders, provided such sales shall be made in accordance with Department of Business Regulation Liquor Control Administration Regulations. Additionally, the Governor has ordered that all employees wear masks to work, including homemade masks that cover the nose and mouth. Employees that cannot do their jobs with a mask are exempt.
Beginning on May 18, in accordance with the Phase I of the state’s Reopening RI plan, food establishments can offer limited outdoor dining services. Establishments considering outdoor dining as part of their reopening plans beyond the property adjacent to their establishment including parking lots or spaces, streets or public spaces are encouraged to apply for a no-cost temporary license here. Applications are subject to approval from the Licensing Department in conjunction with Traffic Engineering and Public Safety officials. Plans will need to comply with all guidelines provided by the State, including limiting dining groups to no larger than 5 patrons and table settings at least 8 feet apart.
What about supermarkets, pharmacies, and medical facilities?
Per the State, all Rhode Islanders are to stay at home effective March 30, with the exception of travel to essential establishments like grocery stores, banks, gas stations, and pharmacies. If leaving your home, residents must wear masks that cover their nose and mouth to stop the spread of germs. Surgical masks and N95 masks should be reserved for healthcare workers and first-responders.
Rhode Islanders who can work from home are being mandated to do so. For a full list of establishments that are exempt from the executive order, click here.
Are parks still open for use?
As of Saturday, May 9, all Providence public parks, greenspaces, off-road trails, and dog parks will be open to local public access only but parking will remain closed. All sports fields and courts, playgrounds, and golf courses will remain closed to public access.
All off-road bike and walking paths, along with the following green spaces in high-density residential neighborhoods, will be open for active use and local access only:
- Roger Williams Park
- India Point Park
- Dexter Park
- Gano Park
- Blackstone Park
- Neutaconkanut Park
- Wanskuck Park
- Riverside Park
- Donigian Park
Residents must wear face protection whenever possible, including bandanas or fabric masks which cover the nose and mouth, to keep others safe from germs. Surgical masks and N95 masks should be reserved for healthcare workers and first-responders. Drivers at this time are encouraged to also use the necessary precautions as folks commute or exercise.
Per the Governor’s Executive Order, all state parks and beaches are closed for public use.
What are Slow Streets?
“Slow Streets” is a term used to describe a temporary change to city streets to create extra space for walking, running, and biking. Slow Streets provide equitable access to our City’s largest public asset—our streets! Streets designated as Slow Streets are not fully closed to cars but are closed to through traffic—meaning only emergency vehicles, trash, and recycling vehicles, people who live on the street, need to access for essential business on the street, or are making local deliveries to places on the street may drive on it. Speed limits will temporarily be reduced to 10 miles per hour to keep everyone safe. Learn more about Providence’s Slow Streets here.
Will the Providence Place Mall remain open?
In order to limit the spread of the virus, the Providence Place Mall shall remain closed except those stores that maintain separate outside entryways consistent with restrictions placed upon non-essential retail stores by the Governor.
Can my retail small business remain open?
Effective Saturday, May 9, some non-essential retail establishments may open to the public, subject to all restrictions placed upon non-essential retail stores by the Governor. Fitness centers and venues of all kinds, including gyms, health clubs, spas, aquatic centers, yoga studios, martial arts studios, and massage parlors shall remain closed.
Business owners are also encouraged to visit Commerce RI’s COVID-19 website for additional information here.
What if I have a parking ticket?
The City Council, which oversees the Municipal Courts, has stopped all Collection Services relating to unpaid parking, environmental, or speed camera violations. They have also suspended scofflaw “booting” of vehicles in the City of Providence, and as of Friday, March 13, 2020, the Courts have suspended the doubling, and tripling of fines until further notice.
For general information about COVID-19, you may visit the CDC’s page.
For Rhode Island-specific information visit the Rhode Island Department of Health’s COVID-19 website.
For more information, call to connect to the Mayor’s Center for City Services by dialing 3-1-1, visiting www.PVD311.com, or download the PVD311 mobile app on your smartphone for 24/7 access.
Register to receive CodeRED emergency notifications by phone, email, text, and/or mobile alerts to your mobile device.