By Ryan Blessing
NARRAGANSETT – The president of Narragansett’s Town Council plans to introduce a resolution Monday directing town police not to enforce the coronavirus-related state executive orders put in place by Gov. Gina Raimondo since the middle of March.
President Matthew Mannix wants the council specifically to order police to not issue fines or violations “based on the restrictions imposed on places of worship, restaurants, retail establishments and other small businesses by the Executive Orders of the State of Rhode Island issued branch since the Cornovirus pandemic began,” according to the proposed resolution.
The entire council must vote on the matter at Monday’s regular meeting, unless Mannix withdraws it.
Mannix describes the move as necessary “due to the negative impact of these Executive Orders on the First Amendment right to worship, on the constitutionally recognized right to travel and on our free enterprise economy,” and cites “many cumbersome restrictions on places of worship, restaurants, retail establishments and other small businesses,” involved in the first phase of reopening the economy, which began May 9. Executive orders which imposed stay-at-home directives on Rhode Islanders and visitors to Rhode Island expired on May 8.
Raimondo reacted to the proposed resolution on Friday afternoon, calling it “reckless” in remarks during the question and answer part of the state’s daily COVID-19 briefing.
“That’s a huge mistake,” Raimondo said. “Like I said, we are trying to encourage voluntary compliance, we are trying not to be heavy handed. That is not based on fact, science, good analysis and it’s so selfish to all the people of Rhode Island who have worked so hard for so long, putting their lives on hold, their children’s education in their home, their businesses on hold so we could all be safe.”
Mannix’ resolution also says Narragansett “also recognizes that the restrictions imposed by many of these coronavirus-related Executive Orders have imposed substantial harm to the emotional, spiritual and financial well-being of its residents” and notes that Memorial Day Weekend is typically the unofficial start of the summer season.
The town has 36 positive cases, according to the Department of Health.