By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The R.I. Dept. of Health released the number of COVID-19 cases by county Friday and Kent County had fewer than five. The overall total rose by 10 since Thursday, to 54 total cases. Of the new cases, all were at home. 

Kent County remains at “fewer than 5” cases for the second day in a row, according to the case-by-county breakdown first offered by RIDOH Thursday. According to the Friday numbers, Providence County had 30 cases, Washington and Newport counties had 8 apiece and Bristol and Kent counties were both in the fewer than 5 category, meaning presumably they each had 4 cases.  

It is still not known if there are any cases in East Greenwich.

Gov. Raimondo said Friday she had activated 1,000 members of the National Guard and moved 2019 state tax filing and payment deadlines to July 15. In addition, she reiterated there was no order to shelter in place. “This is not where we want to go,” she said at her daily COVID-19 press conference.

Raimondo also said she’d been “working through regulatory barriers” to see if she could allow restaurants to offer alcohol along with takeout food orders, as has been done in Vermont. Late Friday, she approved beer and wine (up to 2 bottles of wine and 144 oz of beer) to be sold along with takeout meals, suspending the “consumption on premises” law through March 30.

“Clearly that is something we would support,” said Town Manager Andrew Nota Friday. Most of East Greenwich’s many restaurants have liquor licenses.

While other municipalities, such as North Kingstown and South Kingstown, have made their municipal offices open “by appointment only,” and have some staff work from home, East Greenwich town offices (except for the Town Clerk’s office) remain open for walk-in visits. Nota said traffic was down considerably and the town was urging residents to call first (find contact info here: COVID-19 Municipal Information).

But, he said, “As a manager, I think it’s absolutely critical to keep Town Hall open – we need to have people here to take calls. They need to know where to call to get help.” He added, “We’re not going to be reckless about it.” 

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