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R.I. bar temporarily closed for violating coronavirus regulations

PROVIDENCE (AP) — A Rhode Island restaurant was ordered closed over the July 4 weekend for failing to follow the state's coronavirus safety regulations.

The state Department of Business Regulation ordered Harris Bar and Grill in Coventry closed on July 3, making it the first establishment the state has closed for failing to follow the pandemic regulations.

The agency said state inspectors warned the restaurant of multiple violations on a number of occasions in recent weeks. It said restaurant staff weren’t wearing face coverings while within 6 feet of customers and that the bar was being used for seating and service even though that’s not currently allowed in Rhode Island.

Inspectors also found the bar had no physical barrier between the bartender and customers, and that people were allowed to sit close together at the bar. The health department also said restaurant employees had taken down posters on social distancing and face coverings that the state requires establishments to display.

The restaurant reopened Wednesday after being reinspected and found to be in compliance, WJAR-TV reported. Calls to the bar Thursday morning weren't returned.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said Wednesday the state will begin more aggressive enforcement on businesses that continue to ignore the state’s virus regulations.

The Department of Business Regulation website lists seven other establishments facing possible sanction for non-compliance.

A look at other coronavirus developments in Rhode Island:

HOUSING COLLEGE STUDENTS

A Warwick woman is trying to help local college students who may have lost on-campus housing because of coronavirus-related cutbacks in dorm rooms.

WLNE-TV reported that Marie Cavanaugh has been compiling a list of Rhode Islanders willing to host a college student in their homes.

She said she began organizing on the Facebook group “2nd Chance For Warwick” after hearing from a mother seeking housing help for her son.

The University of Rhode Island and Brown University are among the local colleges that have announced reductions in on-campus housing options to comply with virus safety regulations.

VIRUS CASES

State health officials said Thursday that three more Rhode Islanders died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the state's death toll to 974.

Fifty additional positive cases have also been reported, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to more than 17,000 since the pandemic started, the health department said.

The state's rate of positive cases currently hovers around 3% and about 55 are hospitalized with the virus.

 

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