- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2020

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Gov. Gina Raimondo on Friday extended Rhode Island’s state of emergency and several other of her coronavirus-related executive orders for an additional month to prevent a resurgence of the disease.

The state of emergency, that originally took effect on March 9, was extended until July 5 so Rhode Island can remain eligible for federal resources, she said.

“It just gives us the flexibility that we need in my administration to move quickly in order to make sure we meet the needs of the crisis,” she said.

The order requiring everyone to wear face coverings while in public places when proper social distancing cannot be maintained was extended until July 4, the Democrat said at her daily news briefing. There are exemptions for very young children and people who for medical reasons cannot wear a mask.

The order requiring people diagnosed with COVID-19 to remain quarantined until they are cleared, and also requiring people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with the disease to quarantine for 14 days was also extended until early July.



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RECORD TESTS

The state Department of Health reported 113 new cases of the disease on Friday, but that was out of more than 4,400 people tested, the most done in the state in one day since the crisis began.

The state also reported 16 new COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the state fatality total to 772. Thirteen of those people were in their 70s or older and included one centenarian, Directer Nicole Alexander-Scott said.

The number of people in the hospital with the disease in Rhode Island continued to slowly decline, and was down to 182 as of Tuesday, the latest day for which the data was available.

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HELP FOR HOMELESSNESS

Rhode Island is getting another $6.2 million to help the homeless or people facing eviction during the coronavirus crisis.

The new federal funds will help nonprofits, local governments and public housing authorities provide critical assistance to Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said in a statement Friday.

The funding can be used to provide child care, education services, street outreach, employment assistance, outpatient health services, legal assistance, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and transportation.

It may also be used for eviction prevention assistance, including rapid rehousing, housing stability case management, tenant legal services, and rental assistance.

Overall, Rhode Island has received more than $11 million in so-called Emergency Solutions Grant funding.

“We have to find ways to keep people safe, protect public health, and prevent an affordable housing crisis from becoming an eviction disaster,” the Rhode Island Democrat said in a statement.

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UTILITY BILLS

Newport’s Department of Utilities is allowing customers in Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth to set up payment plans if they are experiencing financial hardship because of the coronavirus.

Anyone who wants to set up a payment plan for their water or sewer bill should contact the office.

“The Department of Utilities understands the hardship our residential and commercial customers are facing and that they have choices to make,” the agency said in a statement to The Newport Daily News.

The department has also temporarily suspended interest charges from accruing on past due amounts as of May 1.

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