Cloth Face Masks Required for Rhode Island Employees Through May 18, 2020

On April 14, 2020, Governor Raimondo issued the Twenty-First Supplemental Emergency Declaration — Requiring Cloth Face Masks At Work.  The Order is effective Saturday, April 18 and continues through May 18, 2020.

Cloth face coverings are required for any Rhode Island employee working at a customer/client-facing business, non-profit organization, office-based businesses, and any other such business category as determined by the Department of Business Regulation (DBR) that is still in operation.  Previously, on March 22, 2020, the Governor ordered all Rhode Island employees that can work from home to work from home.

Cloth face coverings are not required if an employee can “easily, continuously, and measurably maintain at least six (6) feet of distance from other employees for the duration of his or her work (e.g. solo office) or unless doing so would damage the employee’s health.  Thus, if an employee has a dedicated office with the doorway six feet away, a face covering would not be required while the employee is in her office.

However, employees “must wear face coverings in any entry, exit and common areas of the business, including, but not limited to: check-in, registration, reception, hallways, bathrooms, time clock areas, elevators, stairways, etc.

Businesses are required, at their expense, to provide face coverings or materials for the making of such face coverings for their employees.  Employers can make the face coverings available by request or staff-wide as long as the result is an “organization-wide use of face coverings.”  Employees may fashion their own cloth face mask.  The Order directs employees and employers to visit the CDC website on making cloth face coverings.  Below are DIY images from that website:

The Order directs the Director of the Department of Business Regulation to take any actions to enforce the Order including unannounced visits and inspections.  It also authorizes the assessment of civil penalties against employers who violate the Order.

For more information Rhode Island COVID-19 Orders and Announcements, visit