Rhode Island government remained open Tuesday, although stepped up security was placed in effect in reaction to apparent terrorist attacks in New York and Washingon D.C.
?There?s nothing known at this time that would make Rhode Island a target of any terrorist activities, but that doesn?t mean we shouldn?t be on alert,? said Governor Lincoln Almond.
The Governor said he and other state officials would continue to monitor this situation, but that he saw no need to close schools or state government. ?At this point, you can?t shut down the entire world this afternoon, tonight, or tomorrow. We just have to go hour by hour minute by minute and determine what?s happening and take some guidance from the national government,? said Almond.
Any nonessential state workers, who want to go home, are being allowed to leave work. Numerous Rhode Island businesses have closed. Hasbro closed at 2:30 pm. Citizens Bank and Fleet Financial were encouraging employees to go home.
T.F. Green Airport has been shut down indefinitely. Airport officials say they are trying to make accommodations for stranded travelers. "The arrivals were handled to insure that all passengers and aircraft are on the ground. We had two diversions to Providence. There will be heightened security efforts in and around the airport terminal, and no parking is permitted within 300 feet of the building," said airport spokeswoman Patti Goldstein,"Passengers are not expected to remain in the terminal since all flights are cancelled indefinitely. Nothing from a controlled airfield will be permitted to depart, including our general aviation aircraft from any of our five outlying airports. We're asking passengers to contact their airlines directly for flight information."
The Rhode Island National Guard was placed on alert and is monitoring. ?Our concern basically this morning was to identify all high risk places, to make sure there was heightened security at all of those locations. As far as the state is concerned that would be the airports, the Capitol, the state bridges. And that has been accomplished,? said Governor Almond.
The Rhode Island Chapter of the Red Cross has been swamped with calls from people looking for information about loved ones. Red Cross officials say they are also preparing to send volunteers to other parts of the country. ?Right now, we?re just in a planning phase. We don?t have any actual incidents that we?re dealing with directly from the Rhode Island chapter, but we are gearing up in case national calls,? said Red Cross Director of Emergency Services Thomas Kilday.
Prayer services were planned tonight at numerous churches. They include an ecumenical service at the 4th Baptist Church on Hope Street in Providence at 7:00pm and one at St. Paul?s Church on Marlboro Street in Newport at 6:30pm.