It may not be a hit with Rhode Island motorists looking for parking spots, but restaurateurs and shop owners have embraced moving outdoors into the street during the coronavirus.
Revolution American Bistro in Cranston has turned part of the small off-street parking lot into an outdoor dining area.
“It has been going very well, and when we have gotten feedback from people walking by, they are saying we would love for it to continue,” Jenn Risho, the restaurant’s manager, told the Providence Journal.
In Providence, restaurants are not only giving up parking spaces to diners, but whole stretches of the street.
Now, as the season changes, cold weather is the bigger concern, and restaurants with outdoor dining are buying heaters and figuring out how to keep it going as long as possible.
Here is a look at other pandemic-related developments around New England:
A church in Worcester, Massachusetts, has found a way to enjoy a choir without spreading the coronavirus.
Members of the choir at Trinity Lutheran Church practice inside their cars in the parking lot. Members sing into wireless microphones while they listen to one another and to the director playing his keyboard on their car radios.
During indoor services, choir members distance themselves and wear masks that resemble a duck-billed platypus, The Telegram & Gazette reported.
The special masks are equipped with wires that keep the material an inch to an inch and a half in front of their mouths and allow them to project their voices while continuing to protect others.
“It’s better than not singing,” said Lee Ann Jaquith, 64, of Hardwick. “It’s a little claustrophobic. It’s something you have to get used to.”
Fourth- and fifth-graders at James Faulkner Elementary School in Stoddard have traded their warm classrooms with something akin to a campsite.
The open-air classroom created by students and faculty features a rain tarp, fire pit, rock seating, portable chalkboard and hammocks strung between trees. “Being outside was the healthiest, safest place to be,” teacher Amanda Bridges told the Concord Monitor. “If I have to be there, I am going to be outside with my kids as much as humanly possible.”
The school intends to keep it going throughout the winter.
Teacher Jacquelyn Cornwell, who teaches a small class of second-, third- and fourth-grade students, said her students will split their time between the indoor and outdoor classrooms. But there will be more time indoors for younger students who are not as resilient to the cold, she said.
Vermont’s latest travel map is not showing many counties beyond its borders with fewer than 400 active COVID-19 cases per million people. That means Vermonters who travel out of state will likely need to quarantine when they return, said State Epidemiologist Patsy Kelso.
Visitors from out of state will need to follow Vermont’s quarantine rules while they’re here, she said on Friday in discussing concerns about travel with the fall and winter holiday season approaching.
“We all want to see our friends and family who live farther away and because these are people we trust we may let our guard down more than we usually do to not worry too much about their county and whether it’s green. We might sit closer to them, spend more time together or take our masks off. But the fact is we don’t know and they may not if they’ve been exposed to the virus,” Kelso said.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed an outbreak in a church in the town of Brooks.
At least 17 cases are linked to the Brooks Pentecostal Church, and the Maine CDC launched an investigation, officials said Sunday.
Individuals who spent time at the church or its affiliated school since Oct. 2 or who attended a fellowship rally between Oct. 2 and Oct 4 should monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, officials said.
The new outbreak comes after a summer wedding and reception became a super spreader event in the state linked to seven deaths and more than 175 cases.