Last updated 5/30/2020 at 2:00PM
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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, residents and businesses should review standard sanitary protocols to 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)
- Limit social gatherings to 15 people or less
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. Mayor Elorza announced a new Executive Order effective June 1 that aligns the City with the latest State guidelines on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 upon entering Phase II.
The following restrictions remain in place beginning until at least June 30 according to Mayor Elorza’s latest Executive Order:
- All businesses, essential and nonessential, may open to the public consistent with guidelines issued per Executive Order of the Governor of the State of Rhode Island.
- Domestic travel restrictions, and quarantine requirements, shall be consistent with those issued per Executive Order of the Governor of the State of Rhode Island.
- All Providence public parks, green spaces, off-road trails, dog parks, skate and bike parks and golf courses continue to be open to public access.*
* Playgrounds, sports facilities (with the exception of tennis courts for singles matches only) and fields will remain closed and parking will be available at half capacity.
- Social gatherings must be limited to no more than 15 people.
- Residents are urged to continue wearing masks in all public spaces and to follow social distancing practices provided by the Governor.
What if I feel sick and need to be tested?
Have COVID-19 symptoms? Refer to our one-pager and get tested.
The City currently hosts drive-up and walk-up COVID-19 test sites in Providence’s frontline communities. 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 about Providence Public Schools?
On April 23, 2020, Governor Raimondo announced that all Rhode Island public schools (K-12) will continue distance learning through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. If you are experiencing an issue with distance learning setup or have a school-related need, The Providence Public School Department has a parent hotline (401) 456-0686 to answer all of your questions Monday-Friday 8:00AM-4:00PM or visit the Providence Public School District distance learning landing page for more information.
With distance learning programs in place, where can kids get nutritious meals?
Youth and families can receive free grab & go breakfast, lunch & dinners at Providence Public School meal distribution sites on Tuesdays & Fridays from 11:00AM-2:00PM or at Recreation Centers Tuesday & Friday 4:00PM-6:00PM.
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, city buildings will remain closed until further notice.
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 working with the State to provide relief to residents who are out of work and businesses who are closed. The Department of Labor and Training has increased 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. More resources are available here.
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?
In Phase II, restaurants may begin limited indoor dining in addition to outdoor dining (subject to applicable municipal approval), pick-up, delivery, and drive-thru operations subject to the requirements and recommendations described in the Phase II Guidelines for Restaurants and the regulations set forth by the Rhode Island Department of Health. Nightclubs are not permitted in Phase II. Outdoor ambient music* is allowed by establishments with outdoor dining and seating until 10:00PM during weekdays and 11:00PM weekends. Indoor entertainment and live performance regulations will be aligned with the State of Rhode Island guidelines and restrictions. Hookah is not allowed during this time, as per guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health. All guidelines and restrictions outlined by the State of Rhode Island are to be followed without exception.
*Outdoor ambient entertainment is a live music performance that shall not be amplified by any means, or prerecorded music or streamed music which may be amplified. Any entertainment provided must permit an audible conversation amongst patrons and in no event shall dancing be permitted on the premises.
How does this affect Personal Services Businesses?
Personal services businesses and operations, including, but not limited to, hair salons and barbershops, nail salons, tattoo parlors, tanning parlors, estheticians and massage therapists may reopen subject to all of the requirements of their professional or facility licensing, the requirements and recommendations of the Phase II guidelines for personal services and regulations set forth by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
Are parks still open for use?
All Providence public parks, greenspaces, off-road trails, golf courses and dog parks will be open to but parking will remain limited. All sports fields and courts (with the exception of tennis courts for singles matches) and playgrounds will remain closed to public access. Residents must wear face protection whenever possible, including bandanas or fabric masks which cover the nose and mouth, to keep others safe from germs.
All state parks and beaches subject to limits on use, parking, capacity, and other restrictions. View state parks’ requirements and restrictions here.
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.
Can my retail small business remain open?
All businesses, essential and nonessential, may open to the public consistent with guidelines issued per Executive Order of the Governor of the State of Rhode Island.
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.