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Rhode Island Update

December 21, 2021

The last few weeks have seen seismic shifts in the COVID-19 workplace safety landscape. Below is a state-by-state summary of some of the most important changes (and continued requirements):

On December 16, 2021, Rhode Island Governor Daniel J. McKee issued Executive Order 21-116, implementing a state-wide mask mandate.  The mandate is effective from December 20, 2021, through January 18, 2022.

The specifics of the mandate vary depending on venue and industry, including the following:

Retail,  Service, Restaurants, Bars, Recreation, and Entertainment

  • Businesses with an indoor capacity of at least 250 must require all persons to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Businesses with an indoor capacity of less than 250 must require all persons who do not provide proof of vaccination to wear masks.

Office-Based and Other Employers

All office-based businesses and other employers with indoor operations, including manufacturing, construction, fitness centers, and personal services, must require all persons who do not provide proof of vaccination to wear masks.


Persons need not wear masks if they are
  • under two years of age,
  • developmentally unable to comply, including young children who may not be able to wear a mask or face covering effectively, or
  • a person whose health would be damaged by wearing a mask.

Additionally, masking is not required when:

  • it would impede communication by or with a person who has a hearing impediment;
  • it would create a safety hazard;

or when a person is

  • working alone in an office or at a job site and does not interact with others;
  • receiving communion, making kiddush, or conducting similar religious rituals;
  • speaking to a broadcast, webcast, or audience when no person is within six feet of the person speaking;
  • competing in professional or intercollegiate athletic programs, provided the athlete provides proof of vaccination;
  • consuming food or drink;
  • officiating, or participating as a legal party in, marriage or civil union ceremony;
  • undergoing a medical or dental procedure; or
  • performing live indoors (other than school setting), and the performer provides proof of vaccination.
The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only.
It does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or medical advice.