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Raimondo orders gyms and salons to close during pandemic

March 22, 2020 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Gov. Gina Raimondo has ordered all gyms, salons and other “close contact” businesses to close by Monday afternoon as the state works to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

The Democratic governor announced the new measures on Sunday, saying the state needs to be “more aggressive” in its response to the virus. Her new order also requires theaters, bowling alleys and other entertainment venues to close their in-person operations, and Raimondo is urging all residents to work from home if possible.

The order requires gyms, fitness centers, hair salons, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors to close by 5 p.m. Monday. Raimondo says it was a tough decision but vowed to help small businesses get back on their feet later.

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Any businesses that remain open will be required to keep 6 feet between customers, regularly clean surfaces and ensure proper hygiene among employees.

It follows other measures the state has taken to fight the virus, including a ban on large gatherings and the closure of in-person dining at restaurants and bars.

Raimondo said a team from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to arrive in the state Monday to help identify possible locations for temporary medical centers in case hospitals see a surge in patients.