standing Rhode Island State House

PROVIDENCE — When the Rhode Island State House reopens to the public on June 1, some coronavirus restrictions will remain in place, Gov. Dan McKee announced Tuesday.

Visitors will be allowed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but will have to sign a log book, have their temperature taken, and have face masks on in all common areas. No proof of vaccination will be required.

Some areas will remain off limits for health and security reasons, the Democratic governor said.

“Any choice to enable remote work, bring employees back in person, or any combination of the two will also be left to the discretion of each office,” his statement said.

McKee had come under criticism for keeping the State House closed to the public even as most coronavirus restrictions on the economy have been lifted. He had previously announced it would reopen June 1 but without details.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, also a Democrat, last week questioned why the building remained closed. She announced Sunday that she will run for governor.

Trends on key metrics

Three key metrics used to measure the prevalence of the coronavirus in Rhode Island are trending downward, according to state Department of Health figures released Tuesday.

The weekly statewide test percent positive rate dropped to 1% for the week that ended Saturday, down from 1.3% the prior week.

New hospital admissions were down to 60 for the week, from 69 the previous week.

And the the new cases per 100,000 population fell to 57, from 84 the week before.

The department on Tuesday reported fewer than 50 new confirmed cases of the disease, two more virus-related fatalities and a daily positivity rate of lower than 1%.

The number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 also continues to fall, and was down to 67 according to the latest numbers, down from 72 the previous day.

Nearly 537,000 people have now been fully vaccinated in the state, or more than half the population.

Memorial Tree

The city of East Providence has planted a living memorial to the almost 200 city residents who have died after contracting the coronavirus.

A tree and accompanying plaque were dedicated Monday outside city hall, WPRI-TV reported.

“This tree will remain here for generations to come as a reminder of loved ones that are no longer with us,” Mayor Bob DaSilva said.

The tree will be decorated during the holidays every year in their honor, he said.

The plaque reads: “In memory of East Providence residents whose lives were lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. May they rest in eternal peace.”

According to state Department of Health statistics, there were more than 5,800 confirmed cases of the disease in the city and 199 fatalities, the sixth highest death rate per 100,000 population in the state.

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