Governor Gina Raimondo feels that Rhode Island has entered into the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and is seriously considering rolling back to Phase Two to slow the spread of the virus. I’ve been on board with several of her decisions pertaining to the coronavirus, but this consideration does not sit well with me, and here’s why.

During her latest weekly briefing, she said the projections for hospitalizations are alarming and the increase in the number of cases is coming from casual social gatherings.

“It’s in settings when our guards are down, we’re relaxed, we get close to people, and our masks are off,” she said.

She later sat down with Brian Crandall of NBC10 and acknowledged that “large numbers of cases are not coming from stores, restaurants and schools," but she said going back to Phase Two "would reduce some of the spread.”

"Phase Two would remind us all that there are real consequences to not complying, Raimondo said.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to put this pandemic behind us as quickly as possible and I understand it will take a team effort to do that, but I don’t agree with punishing businesses even further to prove a point. Governor Raimondo has acknowledged that the spread is not happening in businesses, but rather in social settings, so why go back to Phase Two when that punishes the businesses more than anything else?

Phase Two would mean social gatherings of no more than 15 people, which is Raimondo’s driving point in considering the push back, but it also means that businesses have to operate at 50 percent rather than 66 percent.

Governor Raimondo will announce her official decision on how to reduce the spread moving forward on Friday at 1 p.m. My hope is she will reinforce her “Three I’s to Avoid Rule” (informal, indoors, and inconsistent groups) and let Rhode Island continue on its path to the “new normal.”

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