Rhode Island has enacted emergency rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The rules are in effect from Dec. 29, 2021 to April 21, 2022.
The emergency rules cover recreation, entertainment, historical and cultural establishments, along with retail and service businesses, restaurants and bars, venues of religious and faith-based organizations, catered events, and office-based and other public and private employers.
Establishments with indoor capacities of 250 or more people must require everyone to wear a mask while indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. Those with a capacity of fewer than 250 people may exempt a person from the indoor mask requirement if the person can provide proof of vaccination. Under the rules, capacity is the maximum number of people allowed by the fire marshal, not the actual number of people present.
For catered events, capacity is the number of guests in attendance. In these events, if there are more than 250 guests, everyone must be masked, regardless of vaccination status. However, if there are fewer than 250 guests, the event host and/or venue operator must implement either: (1) an event-wide indoor masking requirement; (2) a proof of vaccination requirement; or (3) require individuals to either show proof of vaccination or wear masks indoors.
Employers must post a sign about the mask requirement at all entrances of an establishment as well as information on proof of vaccination requirements, if applicable. Although Rhode Island’s Department of Health provides examples of appropriate posters (masks, proof of vaccination, and masks or proofs of vaccination), an employer can also create their own poster. Those that do must include one of the following applicable statements on their poster in bold print:
- A MASK OR PROOF OF VACCINATION IS REQUIRED IN THIS ESTABLISHMENT.
- MASKS ARE REQUIRED IN THIS ESTABLISHMENT; or
- PROOF OF VACCINATION IS REQUIRED IN THIS ESTABLISHMENT.
Each individual violation of the rules may result in a penalty of up to $500, and every individual that is allowed to enter a premise against the rules counts as a separate and distinct violation.
Rhode Island employers should display the workplace poster that is applicable to their business, enforce the required protective protocols, and train their managers and HR personnel on the rules. Please contact your dedicated ADP Service Representative with any questions.