PROVIDENCE — Four Rhode Island bars have been temporarily closed for alleged noncompliance with regulations meant to control the spread of the coronavirus, state health officials say.
The violations include serving alcohol after 11 p.m., allowing customers to mingle at bars, not having barriers to separate seated parties and not enforcing mask-wearing requirements, the state Department of Health said in a statement Monday.
Three of the establishments that received the Immediate Compliance Orders are in Providence and one is in Cranston.
Before reopening, management must meet with the health department and the Department of Business Regulation. The bars must undergo a thorough cleaning and test all employees.
The owners of one bar, Fish Co. Bar & Grill in Providence, dispute the findings, telling The Providence Journal they have video of the inspection that contradicts what the inspectors found.
Cases on the rise
The Rhode Island Department of Health on Tuesday reported more than 550 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths over the last four days.
The state’s weekly average of new cases per 100,000 population was 120 as of Saturday, above the threshold of 100 per 100,000 according to department statistics released Tuesday, which state authorities have said may lead to more restrictions to control the spread of the disease.
The number of hospitalizations is also on the rise, with 126 patients in the state’s hospitals as of Sunday, the latest day for which the information is available. That is the highest single-day total since mid-June.
Thirteen patients are currently in intensive care.
The state has now had almost 27,000 confirmed cases of the disease and 1,139 fatalities.
The department did not update over the holiday weekend.
The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Rhode Island has risen over the past two weeks from about 1% on Sept. 28 to nearly 2% on Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Gov. Gina Raimondo has said she wants the rate to remain lower than 2%.