SMITHFIELD, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island is the latest state to postpone its presidential primary as the impact of the new coronavirus widens.

Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Monday the state will move its planned April 28 primary to June 2.

Rhode Island joins Connecticut, Maryland, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Ohio in postponing their April 28 primary — dubbed the “Acela Primary” or “I-95 Primary.”

Raimondo had been initially resistant to the idea of pushing back the primary, but said she was “open to the idea” after the state Board of Elections recently called on her to order the delay.

The elections board has said postponing the primary would give officials more time to prepare for a mail ballot-focused election.

FACTORY RAMPS UP MASK PRODUCTION

A Rhode Island factory is ramping up production of specialized face masks in response to the federal fight against the new coronavirus.

Honeywell announced Sunday it plans to hire 500 people at its Smithfield plant to produce millions of N95 disposable respirators to help support the need for critical safety equipment.

The face masks will be delivered to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and are a critical piece of personal protective equipment for health care, safety and emergency response workers.

“We are honored to support the U.S. government’s efforts to protect Americans with personal protective equipment made right here in the United States,” said Darius Adamczyk, North Carolina-based Honeywell’s chairman and chief executive officer.

The Smithfield factory produces eye protection products, including safety glasses, goggles and face shields.

Rhode Island had 83 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, as of Sunday.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover.

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CVS HIRING

Rhode Island-based pharmacy chain CVS Health is awarding bonuses to current employees and looking to hire as many as 50,000 people nationwide as the country fights the new coronavirus outbreak.

The company announced Monday it will be awarding bonuses to employees who are required to be at CVS facilities to assist patients and customers. Bonuses from $150 to $500 will be awarded to pharmacists and other health care professionals, store associates and managers and other site-based hourly employees, the Woonsocket company said.

The company also needs 50,000 workers to fill full-time, part-time and temporary positions as store workers, home delivery drivers, distribution center employees and customer service professionals.

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