Last updated 1/13/2021 at 8:00 AM
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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?
The Rhode Island Department of Health maintains and updates a data tracker to provide up-to-date information about the number of people tested and number of people with positive tests in Rhode Island cities and towns, including Providence.
What can I do to protect myself and our community?
- Wear a Mask
- Wash your hands
- Practice Social Distancing (6 feet)
- Cover your cough
- Stay home
- Disinfect surfaces
- Limit social gatherings to 5 people or only those within your immediate household
HOW CAN I CELEBRATE SAFELY WITH MY FAMILY DURING HOLIDAYS?
- Celebrate with only the people in your household.
- Avoid sharing food and drinks.
- Don’t hug or shake hands.
- No singing or chanting; these activities spread COVID-19 through the air.
- Say no to high-contact indoor or outdoor activities even with family members.
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 throughout Providence. 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 are often available.
Rhode Island Free Clinic
Drive-up and walk-up testing available
647 Broad Street
Providence Community Health Center
Drive-up and walk-up testing available; referral from primary care physician required
1 Warren Way
Drive-up Testing Available.
935 Manton Avenue
960 Broad Street
Rhode Island Convention Center Parking Garage
Drive-up Testing Available Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM, Weekends 9AM-3PM. English, Spanish, and Portuguese Available.
114 West Exchange Street
401-222-8022, 2-1-1 after hours and on weekends
Roger Williams Park Zoo
Drive-up asymptomatic testing available seven days a week 9AM-5PM.
1000 Elmwood Avenue
401-222-8022, 2-1-1 after hours and on weekends
Drive-up testing available.
60 Valley Street
456 Branch Avenue
Walgreens is offering no-cost, contactless COVID-19 testing at select locations in partnership with the PWNHealth provider network.* Testing is available at no cost to eligible individuals who meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and federal guidelines. At the testing locations, the Walgreens pharmacy team oversees patients’ self-administration of the COVID-19 test.
CIC Health is conducting $80 PCR tests on individuals 2 years of age and older. Results are delivered in 24 hours, on average. Unfortunately, they are not able to process insurance claims for tests at this time, but are actively working on it for the future.
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 Tracey Giron at
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.
Are there volunteer opportunities available during COVID-19?
Providence Emergency Management (PEMA) is always looking to expand their volunteer base.
In order to become a PEMA Volunteer:
- The first step in becoming a PEMA volunteer of any kind is to register here: https://www.providenceri.gov/pema/volunteer/
- Once potential volunteers have registered on the site, PEMA will contact them directly.
- There are 2 processes: one process, streamlines the process for rapid approval and one where there’s a true background check (application/ screening/ DOH)
- Once approved, PEMA will send emails with a variety of volunteer opportunities regularly that include opportunities to build resiliency and prepare individuals and their communities for emergencies.
- As of December 2020, additional volunteers are needed to support food pantries.
Other PEMA Training Opportunity: Virtual MEDS-POD Training
Courses on Medical Emergency Distribution System and Points-of-Dispensing Trainings are regular trainings that Providence Emergency Management and The Rhode Island Department of Health always offer.
MEDS POD’s mission is to ensure that Rhode Island maintains the ability to respond to a public health emergency by receiving, distributing, and dispensing medical countermeasures and supplies during a public health emergency. POD site locations are tasked with mass distribution of pharmaceutical or vaccine to the general public in the event of a public health emergency, such as a pandemic influenza or bio-terrorism.
A MEDS POD is staffed, to a large extent, by volunteers and hundreds will be needed. Although medical professionals are needed, there are many POD positions that do not require special certifications. Join the virtual training and become part of the RI Department of Health roster in the event we need to establish POD sites.
The virtual trainings are being help by RI Dept. of Health on Thursdays:
- 12/10/20, 5:00 PM
- 12/17/20, 5:00 PM
- 01/07/21, 5:00 PM
- 01/14/21, 5:00 PM
PEMA is also calling all MDs, RNs, DOs, NPs or with an active licensed to administer vaccines to sign up to assist with administering vaccines at a POD.
To connect directly regarding PEMA volunteer opportunities, contact Kelia Bravo at or 401-440-6339.
What is the City of Providence doing?
We have worked to align citywide guidance with the latest State guidelines on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 upon entering Phase III of statewide reopening plans. This includes a stay at home advisory effective Sunday November 8th targeted at limiting non-essential travel between 10PM-5AM on weekdays and 10:30PM-5AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Similarly, restaurants, bars, gym and recreational facilities will close at 10PM weekdays, 10:30PM on Fridays and Saturdays. Restaurants can continue to offer drive thru, pick up and take out to their customers. Residents are urged to follow all current social distancing and hygiene practices.
Events and entertainment shall comply with all guidelines and restrictions outlined by the State of Rhode Island and by the City of Providence permitting process.
City buildings shall be open to the public, in a limited capacity and subject to COVID-19 related restrictions.
What about Providence Public Schools?
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 8:00 AM-4:00 PM or visit the Providence Public School District distance learning landing page for more information.
Will the City’s public facilities and buildings remain open?
City buildings are open to the public for in-person city services Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, with the exception of the Department of Public Works providing counter service from 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM on operational days. City buildings will be closed on Fridays, with city services offered remotely. On operational days, each department will be staffed at reduced capacity to comply with social distancing guidelines.
*** The following buildings will continue to be closed for staff access only: Roger Williams Park Casino, Roger Williams Park Boat House, netWORKri Career Center, Recreation Main Office, all Recreation Centers
Upon arrival to city buildings, all staff and visitors will be asked screening questions and have their temperature taken before entering the building. Face masks will be required at all times and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the building. Social distancing measures such as traffic flow indicators, plexiglass barriers, and capacity limitations have been put in place, and separate entrances and exits have been identified at each building, as informed by recommended best practices. Residents should continue to use remote and online city services as much as possible to limit exposure when possible.
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.
Tax Collector's Office Operation under COVID restrictions
We urge you to conduct business via email to or by phone to 331-5252, but there will be reduced staff in-house every day, so wait times may be long.
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?
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.
Businesses are also encouraged to call 521-HELP or visit Commerce Rhode Island’s COVID-19 website for more information on state programs targeted at helping small businesses.
How does this affect my restaurant, night club, or bar?
Per State guidance, effective Sunday November 8, all restaurants will be closed 10PM-5AM on weekdays and 10:30PM to 5AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Restaurants can continue to provide take out, drive thru or pick up during those hours.
As of Sunday, November 22nd, social gatherings are limited to 5 people or those within your immediate household. Catered events of more than 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors will require prior approval by the City Services Committee.
All indoor settings operating at a square footage capacity should do so in accordance with State guidelines. Business owners are also encouraged to make masks available to their patrons.
Indoor entertainment and live performance regulations will be aligned with the State of Rhode Island guidelines and restrictions. Additionally, events and entertainment shall comply with all guidelines and restrictions outlined by the State of Rhode Island and by the City of Providence permitting process. All guidelines and restrictions outlined by the State of Rhode Island are to be followed without exception.
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 III guidelines for personal services and regulations set forth by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
Business owners are encouraged to make masks available to their patrons.
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 make masks available to their patrons and to visit Commerce RI's COVID-19 website for additional information here.
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.