Next update will be issued Wednesday (and every Wednesday thereafter) unless otherwise noted
PORTSMOUTH EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICE
Phone: (401) 643-0350
In an Emergency dial 911
All personal identifiable information received will be held strictly confidential
SITUATION TO DATE:
(Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University)
- Cases: 20,428,562
- Recovered: 12,631,548
- Deaths: 744,733
(Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University)
- Cases: 5,171,343
- Recovered: 1,714,960
- Deaths: 165,328
(RI Department of Health)
- Cases: 20,129
- Hospitalized: 89
- Deaths: 1,018
- Aquidneck Island (as of Aug 12th)
(RI Department of Health)
- Cumulative Cases: 270
- Deaths Not Available
- Active Cases: 0
- Recovered: 2
- Quarantined: 0
- 72 Hour wait: 0
- Deaths: 0
TODAY’s NEW INFORMATION:
- SCHOOL REOPENING. The Governor has announced a new start date for the 2020-21 school year. The first day for students will be Sept 14th. The original start date was scheduled for Aug 31st. Pushing the start date is meant to give schools more time to get ready. The last day of school is set for June 25th, which will mean 177 days of schools.
- CONTINUE TO WEAR CLOTH MASKS IN PUBLIC. The Governor’s Executive Order requiring any person who is in a place open to the public, whether indoors or outdoors, has been extended to September 2nd.
- THERE IS STILL A 15-PERSON LIMIT FOR SOCIAL GATHERINGS.
- Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $500 per person.
- Limit your circle of contacts to 15 people or less;
- All social distancing and mask wearing guidelines must be adhered to.
- Repeat violations will incur $500 fines.
- PLEASE STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK. Restrictions in Rhode Island are not easing up during the coronavirus pandemic until numbers of new coronavirus cases start going down. Of the new cases that have been examined, many of these people who tested positive had been to work while sick. Please call 866-487-9243 if your current employer forces you to work when sick.
- PORTSMOUTH STATE OF EMERGENCY. The Portsmouth State of Emergency Declaration issued March 16, 2020 has been extended through August 29, 2020.
- Town Hall remains closed. Business is being conducted online or via phone.
- In person service is by appointment only.
- The original declaration can be found here.
- The extension order can be found here.
- OUT-OF-STATE TRAVEL. If you are planning to travel to a state that requires a COVID-19 test in order to avoid extended quarantine, you can schedule a test through portal.ri.gov. Individuals will receive their results within 24-48 hours.
- Rhode Islanders who travel to or from the states with a positivity rate greater than 5% must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Rhode Island and schedule an asymptomatic test.
- If you are traveling to Rhode Island from one of these states with a COVID-19 positivity rate of higher than 5%, you must quarantine for 14 days and self-monitor for symptoms. RIDOH recommends those people get tested for COVID-19 in their home state, if possible. RIDOH is asking out-of-state visitors to complete this certificate of compliance with out-of-state travel quarantine/testing requirements upon arriving in Rhode Island and complete this out-of-state travel screening form.
- As an exception, you may provide proof of a negative test for COVID-19 that was taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Rhode Island.
- People visiting Rhode Island from out-of-state can find a place for asymptomatic testing at this link.
- THE PORTSMOUTH EMERGENCY FOOD BANK HAS RELOCATED. To allow St. Barnabas to return their facilities to normal use, the St. Johns Lodge No. 1 of the Freemasons has offered the Town use of their facility at 81 Sprague Street for the Portsmouth Emergency Food Bank. Starting Wednesday July 29th, the Portsmouth Community Emergency Food Bank will open at the St. Johns Lodge and be open from 10 AM to 4 PM Wednesdays and Fridays for food distribution and to accept donations. People in need or donating food may come to the parking lot and follow the signs.
- New Operating Hours: Wednesday and, Friday 10 AM to 4 PM to get or donate food.
- Contact the New Food Bank: Call 401-643-0323 (or email firstname.lastname@example.org). Leave a message if you have a question or a special request, need other assistance or if someone other than yourself needs to pick up food. The Food Bank will return your call within 24 hours.
- To Get Food: Enter the marked food lane at the Food Bank. A Food Bank volunteer will come out to your car to assist you. Please do not park or get out of your vehicle. Unfortunately, we are only able to provide food for one family per vehicle without prior arrangements. We may ask for some type of identification, but the Food Bank is available to ALL in need and NOT restricted to Portsmouth residents.
- To Donate Food. Donations are most truly appreciated. Non-perishable, non-expired food items can be dropped off anytime between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM Wednesday and/or Friday. Bring your donation to the lodge parking lot, follow and a volunteer will come out to your car to receive it. Please do not park or exit your vehicle.
Items needed are such things as: cereal, pancake mix, syrup, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly, powdered milk, baked beans, canned fruit, pasta sauce, canned pasta, canned vegetables, canned tuna or chicken, crackers, Minute Rice packages, canned soups, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or similar.
- Gift Cards to area markets will also be accepted and used primarily to purchase needed items for the Food Bank supply. They will be selectively distributed and not included in Food Bank packages.
- To Make a Monetary Donation: Write a Check - Make checks payable to the “Town of Portsmouth”. Note “Food Bank” on the check and either hand-deliver to the Food Bank or mail to Portsmouth Community Food Bank, Portsmouth Town Hall, 2200 East Main Rd. Portsmouth, RI 02871.
- For more information regarding the Portsmouth Emergency Food Bank, visit the Portsmouth Town website at www.portsmouthri.com, or contact Rich Talipsky at the Portsmouth Town Hall by calling 401-643-0382 or emailing RTalipsky@Portsmouthri.com.
- PORTSMOUTH LIBRARY. Portsmouth Free Public Library is now open to the public. Patrons are requested to limit their visits to 30 minutes. Masks are required and social distancing must be maintained. 7 public access computers are available for use by appointment or on a space available basis. Browsing is allowed but curbside service is also available for those who prefer it. Hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9 AM to 5 PM, Tuesday and Thursday 9 AM to 6 PM. For further information, please call the Library at 683-9457.
- You can still download books and audio. Find out more here. Additionally, Portsmouth Free Public Library will fulfill requests for books, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and audiobooks. Items may be requested via phone at 683-9457 x 2 or via email at email@example.com. Patrons may borrow up to 6 items. The items must show as AVAILABLE in the online catalog at www.portsmouthlibrary.org.
- WiFi is available 24/7 in the library parking lot.
- Tumblebooks is free until August 31st.
- BACK TO WORK RI. Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced an investment of $45 million for a workforce development partnership that will create job opportunities for Rhode Islanders displaced by COVID-19 and help break down traditional barriers to hiring. The initiative – Back to Work RI – will use CARES Act funding.
- Back to Work RI will offer several pathways for individuals to quickly get back to work while gaining the skills they need to succeed. Employers of all sizes will create immediate roles for Rhode Islanders, focusing on higher-paying, sustainable jobs in sectors such as healthcare, financial services and IT. Every participating employer will sign a pledge to open opportunities to Rhode Islanders through the public-private partnership of Back to Work RI.
- More information can be found at www.dlt.ri.gov/backtoworkri[r20.rs6.net].
- PHASE 3 EXTENDED THROUGH AUG 28. The Governor has extended Phase 3 of the reopening of RI through August 28th. The State has not met all the metrics required for moving to Phase four. Additionally, the social gathering limit has been lowered from 25 to 15. All other guidelines remain in effect.
- RI PHASE 3 REOPENING. View the latest reopening guidelines and restrictions found in the Phase III guidelines for:
- Social Gatherings (weddings, parties, networking events, catered events)
- Limits for indoor settings
- Limit of 15 people
- Limits for outdoor settings
- Limit of 50 people (100 with licensed catering)
- Public events and venues of assembly (festivals, religious services)
- Limits for indoor settings
- Limit of 125 people
- Up to 66% capacity with 6 foot spacing
- Limits for outdoor settings
- Limit of 250 people
- Plans required above 250 people
- Masks must be worn
- Social distancing required
- Places of public interaction (Retail, restaurants, gyms, museums, theaters, entertainment venues, houses of worship, close-contact business, office-based businesses, parks, beaches)
- Limits for indoor settings
- Indoor venues operating at a percent capacity or newly opening can increase up to 66% capacity with 6-foot spacing.
- Indoor venues operating at a square footage capacity can increase up to 1 person per 100 square feet with 6-foot spacing.
- Large venues of assembly such as concert halls and auditoriums that wish to have more than 250 people must submit a plan.
- Seated venues can open at 66% capacity
- Free flowing venues can open at 1 person per 100 square feet
- Limits for outdoor settings
- 6-foot distancing must be maintained.
- Large outdoor venues may be required to submit a plan for approval.
- PHASE III GUIDELINES FOR SPORTS. The Governor announced guidance for youth and adult sports:
- No-contact and low-contact sports like baseball, softball, tennis and golf will be able to play games in stable groups with no limit on overall group size (a stable group means keeping the same players and coaches together over the course of the summer.)
- Games can be played against teams out-of-state if that state doesn’t have a stay-at-home order in effect
- Spectators will be allowed at games but limited to two per player to keep crowds down, and they’ll be required to wear masks
- Players will also be encouraged to wear masks when practical, and keep their distance otherwise
- Games for close-contact sports like basketball, football and soccer will still be discouraged, but practices, drills and scrimmages are permitted
- Details will be posted to ReopeningRI.com
- USE OF MEDICAL EMERGENCY DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM (MEDS) FOR FUTURE COVID-19 VACCINATIONS. When a vaccination for COVID-19 is finally approved, the town has a MEDS Point of Distribution (POD) plan which may be used to dispense a vaccine to all people in town. The POD is partially staffed by Town Department personnel but requires many volunteers to staff the numerous positions required to operate the POD. Although licensed medical professionals (MDs, RNs, Pharmacists, EMTs, etc.) are needed, many positions do not require any medical certifications or training. The advantage of being a MEDS POD volunteer is you and your immediate family members get “head of the line” privileges for the vaccine when you report for your volunteer assignment. There is no required training and being on the volunteer list is no obligation to serve when called. If you are interested in being on the MEDS POD volunteer list, please contact Rich Talipsky (401-643-0382, firstname.lastname@example.org).
- PORTSMOUTH BEACH PASSES. Resident beach stickers are required at the Town beaches (Sandy Point and McCorrie Point). Beach stickers are now available. Please contact the Recreation Director Wendy Bulk at 401-787-0281 or the Town Clerk’s office at 401-683-2101 for information. You may email the Town Clerk’s Office at email@example.com with a copy of your proof of residency and a current car registration for each car that needs a sticker and we will mail them to you. If you have a current transfer station sticker a beach sticker is not required.
- DUE TO THE IMPACTS UPON OUR HOUSEHOLDS BY COVID 19, Portsmouth established a team of volunteers ready to provide families with information and access to essential services. Residents may seek assistance by completing a COVID-19 Wellness Survey that can be found by clicking here , or may call the WELLNESS CENTER HOTLINE at (401) 643-0444.
o You may contact the WELLNESS HOTLINE and leave a message any time. The Center is staffed workdays and messages are checked daily during regular Town Hall business hours.
o The Team is presently updating its operational guidelines so that it may also serve during other major emergencies such as Hurricanes.
- If you have questions about this initiative, or like to participate as a volunteer member of the team, please feel free to call Ray Perry, CEM, our Town Emergency Manager, at
401-477-2172 or e-mail him at COVID@portsmouthri.com
INFORMATION WHICH IS STILL CURRENT
ORDERS, CLOSURES and SERVICES
- EXECUTIVE ORDERS. All RI Executive Orders can be found here.
- TOWN HALL. To ensure the safety of town employees due to the risk of COVID infection and in compliance with applicable Governor’s executive orders, Town Hall business is being conducted online or via phone. In person service is by appointment only, and only if pre-arranged with the appropriate department. Contact details for each Town Department can be found at the Town website by clicking here.
- PORTSMOUTH PLAYGROUNDS. Portsmouth Playgrounds are open. Portsmouth Department of Public Works will sanitize playground equipment on a regular basis. Signs will be posted reminding patrons to:
- Maintain proper social distancing of at least 6 feet.
- Use hand sanitizer prior to and immediately after using the equipment.
- Stay home if you feel sick.
- Avoid crowds and seek an alternate playground if a large group is present.
- Wear face masks as appropriate.
- RI GOVERNMENT SPENDING. RI will expand reporting of COVID Spending on the RI Open Government Transparency Portal. The portal can be found here.
· FIVE METRICS THAT NEED TO BE REACHED BEFORE SCHOOLS CAN REOPEN NEXT MONTH:
- Statewide Readiness: Does the state-level data indicate we should be in Phase 3 or higher?
- Municipal Readiness: Do municipal-level case incidence rates indicate it is safe to fully reopen?
- Testing Readiness: Do we have the ability to test all symptomatic staff and students and on average get results within 48-72 hours?
- Supply Readiness: Does every school have more than sufficient cleaning supplies, soap, sanitizer, and face masks?
- Operational Readiness: Does every district have a plan that has been vetted by RIDE / RIDOH?
- Does every plan include necessary health precautions?
- Does every school have a point-person to work with the Rhode Island Department of Education and the Rhode Island Department of Health on testing and contact tracing?
- Does every school have health screening protocols in place?
- Does every school have a plan to support staff and students if they become ill?
- RI METRICS FOR MOVEMENT BETWEEN REOPENING PHASES. Governor Raimondo announced four metrics the State will use to determine reopening decisions.
Indicator Move ahead a phase Move back a phase
Hospital Capacity Less than 70% of beds filled 85% or more beds filled
New Hospitalizations Consistently 30 or fewer new Consistently 50 or more new
hospitalizations daily hospitalizations daily
Rate of Spread R Value = 1.1 or lower R Value = 1.3-1.5 or higher
Doubling Rate of Hospitalizations doubling Hospitalizations doubling
Hospitalizations 30 days or more every 20 days or less
Note: R Value is the rate at which the disease is spreading from one infected person to another.
- ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE. Click on the link for specific guidance which is also found at reopeningri.com.
- PORTSMOUTH BEACHES. The Portsmouth Council approved new operating guidelines for Portsmouth Beaches (Sandy Point and McCorrie).
o Resident Beach Pass parking only
- Transfer Station Sticker holders do not require a beach sticker.
- To allow time for residents to obtain for free stickers from the Town Clerk Office, proof of residency is acceptable.
- Beach capacity is limited to 65 vehicles or 150 patrons.
- There will be no lifeguards on duty, so visitors should proceed with caution while in the water and swim at their own risk.
- The restroom will be closed for cleaning ten minutes each hour.
- Entrance and exit routes to the beach will be posted in accordance with RI DEM guidance.
o Sigourney Road is limited to Portsmouth resident only parking.
- Resident Beach pass parking only.
- Entry and exit will be directed by one-way signs.
- There are no lifeguards at McCorrie, so visitors should proceed with caution while in the water and swim at their own risk.
- William Street and Annette Drive are limited to Portsmouth resident only parking.
- In addition to the regular beach rules, all visitors to Sandy Point and McCorrie Point are required to wear face coverings when they are unable to maintain 6 feet distance from other persons at the beach. All groups must be limited in size in accordance with current RI Department of Health and state guidelines, and every group must be a minimum of 6 feet apart from other groups. Visitors are also required to practice physical distancing wherever possible while swimming or doing other water-based activities.
- DOG PARK. The Portsmouth Dog Park is open under the following guidelines:
- The park is limited to 15 total people (family members included) at a time in the large dog area and 5 people total at a time (family members included) in the small dog area.
- One dog owner and their dog(s) in the entry gate areas at a time.
- All people visiting the park should wear a personal mask and maintain social distancing.
- There will be no water bowls or dog toys available.
- Please DO bring water for your dog but do NOT bring your own toys.
- LARGE EVENTS SCHEDULED FOR SUMMER 2020. Large events will not be feasible this summer. This will include the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals. Limits on weddings, parties and other social gatherings have been established under Phase III guidelines found here.
- CHILD CARE. The state has published guidance for childcare centers, which are permitted to reopen. Guidance is available by clicking here.
- PORTSMOUTH OUTDOOR DINING. The Town of Portsmouth has developed an application process for allowing temporary outdoor dining, for those food establishments currently licensed by the Town, that will continue through October 15, 2020. The specific guidelines and application process have been issued in an Executive Order signed on May 14 by the President of the Town Council.
- Restaurants may apply for the temporary expansion of their food service areas to permit the service and consumption of food in outdoor portions of the licensed. Restaurants with a current liquor license may also apply for temporary expansion of their liquor services area.
- Applications for food service expansion may be administratively approved by the Town Clerk. Liquor Expansion Applications must be approved by the Town Council pursuant to RIGL § 3-5-17.
- Applications may be obtained from the Town Clerk’s office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling 401-683-2101, or downloaded from the Town Web site by clicking here and may be filed via email. All applicable filing and inspection fees associated (except tent permits) with such applications shall be waived.
- For those establishments with current liquor licenses, applications will require Town Council approval.
- Questions and comments? Contact the Portsmouth Town Clerk at 401-683-2101 or ClerkOffice@PortsmouthRI.com.
- PORTSMOUTH RECREATION AREAS.
Parks and Beaches are open. Sandy Point Beach and McCorrie Pt are open to residents only. All patrons are mandated to comply with social distancing guidelines established by Governor Executive Orders and the RI Department of Health. Specifically, patrons must maintain 6 feet of social distance, and everyone must wear a cloth face covering in all indoor or outdoor public places. Out of state visitors must self-quarantine for 14 days before any outdoor activity if they have traveled to or from an area with a current infection rate of greater than 5%.
- EXECUTIVE ORDER ON UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE. The Governor signed Executive Order 20-19 which addresses the UI system.
- It lifts restriction on the amount of time that certain DLT retirees may return to the workforce without penalty.
- The charges to employers' accounts under Rhode Island General Laws § 28-43-3(2)(ii) since January 27, 2020 for individuals who are paid benefits for reasons related to COVID-19 are suspended.
- DMV EXTENSIONS. DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES. The Division of Motor Vehicles has given a 90-day grace period to those whose driver’s licenses, car registrations and other documents would have expired in May. More information on expiration date extensions can be found at the DMV Website.
- NEW REAL ID DEADLINE. The October 1st, 2020 deadline requiring citizens have Real ID compliant driver's licenses and other identification cards in order to board an airplane has been pushed back. The new deadline is October 1, 2021.
- UPDATED PORTSMOUTH RECYCLING EVENTS DUE TO COVID-19.
- ELECTRONIC WASTE COLLECTIONS: Sept. 12; Nov.14 - at Portsmouth High School service from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
o HARD PLASTIC COLLECTION: August 29 at Portsmouth Transfer Station from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- THERE IS A NATIONWIDE CALL FOR PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT. If you are a researcher, supplier, manufacturer, business, organization, or individual in possession of needed items and willing to donate or sell them, please visit COVID 19 Medical Supply Donations.
- A Protective Equipment Team was established under Portsmouth's lead, and is locating sources N-95 masks and other needed items for local emergency response and Health Workers. Please contact us at email@example.com or 401-643-0350 if you can help us source these much needed supplies.
- CLOTH-BASED FACE MASKS. The Governor has directed everyone wear cloth-based coverings for their mouths and noses while out in public.
- Medical-grade masks should be reserved for health care workers.
- RI DOH is advising people to secure cloth-based coverings to the head with ties or straps, "or simply wrapped around the lower face (such as a scarf).
- This measure is not being recommended to prevent catching the virus. It is being recommended as a measure to help prevent anyone from spreading it.
- It’s important to wash these face coverings frequently in hot water and detergent, and to dry them in a hot dryer.
- CDC Guidance and homemade mask tutorials can be found by clicking here.
- Here are some additional educational resources on making homemade masks:
· Make-a-mask no-sew mask
- MASK WEARING 101: HOW TO PROPERLY USE & RE-USE A MASK. For a mask to offer protection — rather than becoming a vehicle for COVID-19 germ-spreading — it must be handled, worn and stored properly. This step-by-step video on mask-wearing covers the how-to’s and the do's and dont's of mask use: Mask Wearing 101.
- FREE FABRIC FOR CLOTH FACE MASKS. Job Lot is making free fabric available to all Rhode Island residents to make our own fabric face coverings. Every Job Lot has a display set up and they have enough free fabric for 1 million masks.
- TESTING FOR RHODE ISLANDERS BETWEEN THE AGES OF 18 AND 39. Due to recent increases in positive cases among this age group, RIDOH is urging individuals between the ages of 18 and 39 to self-schedule a free asymptomatic test through portal.ri.gov. You may now select "I am part of an age group that has been asked to get tested" as a reason for requesting an appointment through the online scheduling system.
- SEROLOGY ANTIBODY TESTING FOR FIRST RESPONDERS. The RI Department of Health released additional information about the serology testing available for first responders. First responders (police, fire, and emergency medical services), Rhode Island National Guard members, RIDOH staff, correctional facility workers, and hospital and nursing home staff can schedule a test online. Testing is voluntary. Results will be made available to participants approximately four days after they are tested. Additional information is available at https://www.ri.gov/press/view/38841.
- CONTACT TRACING. The Governor and Public Health Official are urging everyone to keep track of the places you visit each day and the names of people you encounter. If you get sick, you will be expected to give those records to the R.I. Health Department, so public health officials can track down others who might have also been exposed to the disease.
- CRUSH COVID RI APP. The State has released Version 2 of the Crush COVID mobile app designed to track people’s locations, monitor their symptoms and connect them with services and testing. The app is named “CRUSH COVID RI” and can be downloaded at the Apple App store or Google Play. The app offers users a way to track their travel histories and making it easier for state health officials to analyze how the disease might be spreading after someone tests positive.
- It is totally voluntary, and the location tracking is user controlled.
- The app can be used even if the user opts not to share their location data.
- ENCOURAGEMENT TO GET COVID TEST. If you work in public transit or at a restaurant, child-care center, or close-contact business like a gym, hair salon or barbershop, you’re urged to get tested, along with anyone who’s recently attended a large rally.
- Call (401) 222-8022 or visit portal.ri.gov to schedule an appointment.
- ASYMPTOMATIC SURVEILLANCE TESTING. The State will expand asymptomatic surveillance testing to include employees of childcare centers and close-contact businesses, such as hair salons, barbershops, and gyms. Those people, even if they don’t feel sick, are encouraged to visit portal.ri.gov and schedule an appointment to get tested at one of the National Guard sites. You can also call (401) 222-8022 to schedule an appointment. The tests are free.
- RI COVID-19 TESTING SITE LOCATOR. The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) advises anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to get tested. To find a COVID-19 testing site near you, click here and enter your ZIP code or address in the search bar.
- NURSING HOME WORKERS. Rhode Island has partnered with CVS Health for fast-track testing of nursing home workers at the CVS testing site at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln.
- Nursing home workers can be tested at the site without an appointment.
- COVID-19 TESTING FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC. RI Dept. of Health (RIDOH) is recommending anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches (myalgias), chills, runny nose or stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, or diarrhea) to be tested. Information for those with and without insurance, and ways to get tested, can be found at the RIDOH Website.
- TRANSPORTATION TO COVID-19 TEST SITES:
- MTM has procedures/policies in place to transport Medicaid and ETP (Elderly Transportation Program: individuals 60 years of age and older) individuals to COVID-19 testing sites. MTM will confirm individuals are eligible for transport and have no other transportation options prior to scheduling a trip. Eligible individuals can call: 1-855-330-9131 (TTY: 711) or visit their website by clicking here
- This service is only available if no other transportation options are available.
- RAPID VIRUS TESTING SITE: CVS opening rapid virus testing site at Twin River Casino in Lincoln. The testing site will be by-appointment only. Results from test being administered at the site could be ready in as little as 15 minutes. The site is intended only for RI residents who are over 18, experiencing symptoms, and are required to leave home for work. More information can be found at COVID-19 testing.
- RESTORE RI GRANTS. Commerce RI is accepting grant applications through the Restore RI Grant Program. An initial $50 million will be made available through this program, with 20 percent of funds reserved for minority-owned businesses. Grants will be available for up to $15,000 for eligible Rhode Island businesses impacted by COVID-19. Grant amounts will be calculated based on the number of employees and the degree of revenue loss. Program eligibility includes the following:
- Limited to COVID-19-impacted businesses that demonstrate 30% or greater revenue loss (with the highest award amounts reserved for businesses experiencing greater than 50% revenue loss).
- Small businesses with 1-20 employees or restaurants/caterers of any size. Sole proprietors, government entities, national chains, and non-profits are not eligible for Restore RI at this time.
- Must have a physical presence in Rhode Island.
- Must be open or show a plan to reopen.
- Health care/social assistance businesses and select other industries are not eligible at this time. Additional industry eligibility rules and information will be provided with the application materials.
- Viability test with streamlined process for PPP recipients.
Completed applications will be approved on a first-come, first-served manner.
Eligible uses of the grant include reopening expenses (e.g. PPE, plexiglass, technology) and major fixed business expenses (e.g. rent, utilities) not already covered by state or federal funding.
Businesses that require assistance may contact the Rhode Island Commerce Small Business Hotline at (401) 521-HELP. More information may be found here.
- BUSINESS RELATED COVID QUESTIONS AND COMPLAINTS. The RI Department of Business Regulation (DBR) has created a webpage for COVID-10 questions and complaints which can be found here. Additionally, the State has announced they will be increasing enforcement of current guidelines. DBR issue new enforcement policies and fine structures which will be posted at their website.
- EVENT PLANNING DURING COVID. Use this form for requests to re-open historical, cultural, or attraction establishments in RI for which the State requires a formal COVID Control Plan.
- COVID BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT TEAM (CBET). In partnership with Governor Gina Raimondo’s Office and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the Tech Collective has formed the COVID Business Engagement Team (CBET), a volunteer task force that is reaching out to local business owners to gather information and identify a primary COVID point of contact. The purpose is to:
- Identify each company’s primary COVID testing point of contact.
- Review important business centered COVID safety and health guidelines.
- Collect information on each company’s plans for testing and reopening.
- Review outbreak response plans.
- Determine if each company has classified their employees as low, medium, or high risk.
- Aggregate data on companies’ testing plans.
More information can be found here, or by calling (401) 521-7805.
- ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS AND ADVANCE PROGRAM. The U.S. Small Business Administration has reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19.
- The program offers long-term, low interest assistance for a small business or non-profit.
- These loans can provide economic support to help alleviate temporary loss of revenue.
- EIDL assistance can be used to cover payroll and inventory, pay debt or fund other expenses.
- Additionally, the EIDL Advance will provide up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) of emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties, and these emergency grants do not have to be repaid.
- Local small businesses with questions about EIDL or any other SBA program should email RhodeIsland_DO@sba.gov.
- BUSINESS MICROENTERPRISE STABILIZATION GRANT (MICROE) PROGRAM. The Town of Portsmouth began accepting applications for the MicroE program on a first-come, first-served basis on May 27, 2020. Under this program, eligible microenterprises adversely impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for working capital grants.
- More information is available at the Town website by clicking here.
- USDA CORONAVIRUS FOOD ASSISTANCE GRANT PROGRAM (CFAP) FOR FARMERS AND RANCHERS. Farmers and ranchers whose operation has been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic may be eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program that will provide direct relief to producers who have suffered losses during the 2020 marketing year due to COVID-19. The CFAP will use funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and other USDA existing authorities. This $19 billion immediate relief program will provide critical direct support to our farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of our food supply chain, and ensure every American continues to have access to the food they need. Go to https://www.farmers.gov/cfap for more info or to apply.
- MASKS AND SUPPLIES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES. Governor Raimondo has announced a collaboration with chambers of commerce and other associations to distribute 500,000 masks and much-needed disinfectant solution to our small businesses that are open or reopening and still need help accessing them.
- Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees that are open or are reopening — including retailers, grocery stores, manufacturers, restaurants and service-based businesses — can access a month’s supply of product.
- In exchange for these supplies, businesses are asked to show they’ve completed their COVID-19 control plan.
- More information can be found here.
- AQUIDNECK ISLAND ECONOMIC RECOVERY PARTNERSHIP. Together with Middletown and Newport, we are forming a municipal response team with the staff of Connect Greater Newport (CGN) and a broader group of regional stakeholders that will allow us to provide different levels of response to area businesses as needed to address the negative impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on businesses in our community.
- Beginning next week, CGN is preparing to distribute an initial survey that will allow us to better understand how our businesses are responding to this crisis. Follow-up surveys will be sent out on a regular, periodic basis, so we will be able to gauge how businesses are doing in their recovery as we move through this pandemic.
- RI DOH RULES FOR ESTABLISHMENTS. For the duration of the state of emergency caused by COVID-19, covered entities that have establishments that they wish to open and/or remain open, must take steps to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Governor is forming an “Enforcement Task Force,” which will first help businesses understand the new rules. Detailed regulations and penalties for non-compliance can be found here. These steps include:
- Every covered entity (other than an individual who is not acting as a sole proprietorship) shall develop and maintain a written plan for the safe operation of its establishment(s) with regard to COVID-19.
- Each covered entity (other than an individual who is not acting as a sole proprietorship) shall implement and ensure compliance with screening of all individuals entering its establishment(s).
- Each covered entity shall instruct any person entering an establishment to wear cloth face coverings except when social distancing from others in the establishment is easily, continuously, and measurably maintained.
- All covered entities shall ensure the placement of posters or signs at entry to its establishments educating any individual at the establishment concerning entry screening, required social distancing, use of cloth face coverings.
- All covered entities shall ensure that their establishments have their restrooms open.
- All covered entities shall ensure the performance of environmental cleaning of their establishments once per day.
- All covered entities shall maintain records documenting the date, time, location and procedures for the cleaning activities.
- MARINA, YACHT CLUB AND HARBOR MASTER GUIDANCE. Due to Covid-19 and the Governor’s Executive Order, RI DEM and the RI Coastal Resources Management Council is providing guidance for the operation of marinas, yacht clubs and harbor masters. This will allow for business operations, provide safety measures for staff and ensure as much as possible to prevent the transmission and spread of the virus. In addition to the guidance found at the CRMC web site:
- Owners/operators must post signage advising employees and patrons of COVID-19 guidance including postings on boat ramps.
- Marinas, boatyards and yacht clubs should remain secure so that admittance can be monitored by owners/operators.
- The number of patrons on the property or in an area is limited in accordance with current Executive Orders and other appropriate guidance or regulations, including social distancing guidance to ensure all persons remain 6 feet apart at all times.
- High-touch areas in restrooms or porta johns should be cleaned at least every 2 hours; in the absence of the ability to have areas cleaned every two hours, and in instances when restrooms are infrequently in use, cleaning wipes and/or cleaning materials must be available for individuals to clean surfaces before and after.
- Ensure that the facility is always supplied with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
- Signage must be provided to alert users of last official cleaning and encourage users to clean surfaces before and after use.
- Any communal areas should be closed, including but not limited to:
- Ice machines, refrigerators, gas shacks, storage areas, or the like in any other areas that members may have used to store food, drinks, gas tanks, etc.
- Consistent with the Executive Order allowing travel to Rhode Island for work purposes, the use of boat ramps by out of state residents (“non-residents”) for Commercial Fishing purposes is allowed.
- Facilities located indoors and all amenities belonging to the marinas, boatyards, or yacht clubs remain closed to members and the public, including bars, restaurants, clubhouses, and communal kitchens.
- Sales from a marina retail store are allowed but must be done by curbside pickup only.
- Licensed food establishments can offer take-out food orders only, for pick-up or delivery from associated food businesses.
- All transactions should be done electronically.
- COVID-19 ECONOMIC RECOVERY. SBA is helping small businesses with their economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19.
- REOPENING RI BUSINESSES. The Governor has shared the information and factors she’ll use to make decisions about when to reopen businesses across Rhode Island:
- Has the rate of spread of disease continued to decrease?
- Do we have the capacity to quickly identify community spread on an ongoing basis before a major outbreak occurs?
- Do we have necessary supports in place for vulnerable populations and those in quarantine?
- Does our health care system have capacity and proper PPE equipment to handle future surges?
- Do businesses, schools, childcare facilities, churches, faith groups, and others, have plans for social distancing for the next year?
- Is Rhode Island in a place where we can re-close parts of the economy if necessary?
RI will follow federal guidance that would require 14 straight days of decreasing positive case numbers in order to consider reopening businesses. Reopening the economy will be incremental, and not all at once, and there will likely be new restrictions and precautions businesses must follow when they can reopen.
- HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS. The RI Commerce Corporation has established COVID-19 Resources for small businesses affected by COVID-19. Information can be found at RI Commerce Help or by calling 401-521-HELP.
- SUPERIOR COURT INITIATIVES FOR BUSINESSES. The Rhode Island Superior Court will start a business protection program in response to disruptions caused by COVID-19. Under the Business Recovery Plan, the court will supervise and provide protections for Rhode Island businesses so they can remain operational, access new working capital and pay debts.
- ·More information can be found by clicking here.
- UPDATES TO LONG-TERM CARE AND ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY VISITATION POLICY. Long-term care and assisted living facilities can welcome visitors again, provided that they abide by strict infection control measures to keep residents, staff, and family members safe. More information is available here.
- SUMMER LEARNING PROGRAMS. Rhode Island public schools can expand upon teaching and learning for their students through face-to-face Summer Camps and the Summer Academy for Integrated Learning (SAIL) program. SAIL is a temporary program designed to enhance the educational opportunities to our Pre-K thru Grade 12 students who suffered learning losses during the peak of Rhode Island’s COVID 19 health crisis. More information can be found here.
- CHILDREN IMMUNIZATIONS. There has been a significant drop in the number of children receiving required pediatric immunizations. All parents are encouraged to contact their health care providers to ensure your children’s shot records are up to date. There are programs available for those who do not have health care coverage. More information can be obtained from the RI Department of Health.
- SCHOOL NEXT FALL. There is now a unified calendar for the 2020-21 school year. Highlights of the statewide 2020-21 school year calendar include:
- All Rhode Island public schools will begin on August 31, 2020.
- All Rhode Island students and teachers will have a Winter vacation from February 15 through 19, 2021.
- All Rhode Island students and teachers will have a Spring vacation from April 19 through 23, 2021.
- The following days will be statewide professional development days: September 21, October 19, November 16, December 14, January 25, March 15, April 12, and May 17. Those days will be distance learning days for students.
- Snow days will still be determined at the district level, and school will be held via distance learning.
- School systems may choose to add instructional days to their calendar beyond the 180-day required statewide calendar.
- While RIDE encourages private schools to follow the statewide calendar, those decisions will be made at the school level.
- 2020-21 School Calendar (PDF)
- 2020-21 School Calendar Overview (Video)
- EVICTION DIVERSION PROGRAM. If you are you a tenant behind on your rent because of COVID-19 or a landlord whose tenants need help getting back on their feet, then you may be able to take advantage of the Safe Harbor Housing Program. Safe Harbor is an eviction diversion initiative designed to help Rhode Island landlords and tenants resolve disputes over late or unpaid rent without having to go through the traditional court process. Find out more here.
- HELP YOUR NEIGHBORS MOST IN NEED DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC. Rhode Island has launched a special philanthropic fund to provide $400 debit cards to Rhode Island families that are not able to receive public benefits due to their immigration status. Donations may be made to the weR1 Rhode Island fund by texting weR1 to 27126. You may also donate online at https://wer1.cheerfulgiving.com/p/give-now.
- HOUSING NOW CAMPAIGN. The State of R.I. Office of Housing and Community Development has emergency rapid re-housing vouchers that will guarantee rental income to landlords. Tenants pay 30 percent of their income toward rent to the landlord and the vouchers pay the difference of the total rent, directly to the landlord. The vouchers are available now to rapidly rehouse individuals and families who are living in congregate shelters. Information can be found here. There are specific financial benefits for landlords:
- Guaranteed rental income is not dependent on the tenants’ income fluctuating – an individual will pay 30% of their monthly income and the rest is guaranteed.
- A $2000 bonus for the first unit and a $500 bonus for each additional participating unit.
- Up to $2000 for move-in upgrades like minor renovations and repairs.
- First and last month’s rent.
- Housing Retention services, which means fewer vacancies and less turnover.
- Assistance in bringing units to code.
- Service providers who can assist with screening to ensure a good fit and help solve any potential issues.
This is a real opportunity for landlords to do the right thing and help their fellow Rhode Islanders, but also get some economic security during these unprecedented times. Units in the cities and areas close to public transportation are particularly desirable. They should be ready to rent immediately and be able to meet housing quality standards. If you are a landlord with one or more units to pledge, please call 211 and ask for the housing assistance line today.
- SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP). Starting June 10th, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants will be able to select and pay for their groceries online using their EBT card at Amazon and participating Walmart stores. Households can purchase the same food online that they would normally purchase in the store at Walmart. Rhode Island Works cash recipients will also be able to use their benefits to make food or other purchases at Walmart.
- For Walmart, anyone in RI can purchase online but there are limited stores available to pick up the groceries or to receive delivery. Those stores are:
- North Smithfield
- North Kingstown
- Cranston will be active for online purchasing on August 27th and Warwick and Providence on September 29th. Neither of these will offer delivery.
- SNAP benefits cannot be used to cover the cost of delivery at this time. Walmart delivery costs range from $7.95 - $9.95.
- To learn more about SNAP acceptance at Walmart, please visit here.
- To learn more and register for online grocery shopping on Amazon, click here.
- Amazon has free shipping on orders over $35. Additional information is here.
- RE-ORIENTING HEALTHCARE AND LONG-TERM HEALTH PLANNING. The Governor signed Executive Order 20-43 directing the State of RI to take immediate actions to address the economic impacts of COVID-19 on RI’s healthcare system and sustain positive enhancements associated with the crisis, such as the expansion of telehealth and to remain dedicated in the long-term to the vision, goals, principles, priorities, and strategies included in the 10-year plan, entitled Health in Rhode Island: A Long-Term Vision.
- WORKSHARE PROGRAM. State employees are being encouraged to participate in the voluntary WorkShare program. This program offers federal funding to help pay for employees who work fewer hours. The goal is for between 25% and 50% of the State administration workforce to participate in the program, which would amount to about 1,000 to 2,000 employees and save the state an estimated $5 million. The decision to reduce employees’ hours — which would translate into two fewer days per week for full-time employees — was spurred by the unprecedented deficit that’s emerged in the current and next fiscal years as revenue has slumped during the pandemic.
- GUIDANCE ON PAYMENT PROTECTIONS FOR RHODE ISLAND STUDENT LOAN BORROWERS. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha has issued guidance to student loan borrowers on the new protections available to them during the COVID-19 pandemic. The following measures last until September 30 and are retroactive to March 13 for federally held student loans:
- Payment postponement: Borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically receive a six-month forbearance, retroactive to March 13. The Department of Education has indicated that any auto-debit payments, or voluntary payments made during this period, can be refunded. Contact your loan servicer to request that your payment be refunded.
- Interest waiver: For the same six-month period, no new interest will accrue on federally held student loans.
- Collection activities: All collection activities on eligible federal student loans, including wage garnishment and reduction of tax refunds and other governmental benefits, are suspended until September 30.
- No negative credit information will be provided to Credit Reporting Agencies during the suspension period in connection with eligible loans. Servicers are not permitted to report suspended payments as “late” or “missed” payments.
- Loan forgiveness program or loan rehabilitation program: Even though a borrower’s loan payment is suspended, each month will be counted as a qualifying payment.
Concerns about student loan payments can be directed to RIAG Consumer Protection team at 401-274-4400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- HOUSING HELP. Housing Help RI is a statewide homelessness prevention initiative to assist Rhode Islanders who are experiencing housing insecurity. The program provides emergency housing assistance to very low-income renters who have been impacted by the COVID-19 emergency and are at immediate risk of homelessness. More information is available here.
- VIRTUAL FAMILY ASSISTANCE CENTER. The American Red Cross extends their sympathy for the loss of loved ones to the coronavirus. Grieving is always difficult, and they recognize the COVID-19 pandemic creates additional challenges and needs. To help, they have established a Virtual Family Assistance Center which offers information and resources they hope will help you during this time.
- COVID CONCERNS. If you are seeking help or answers to questions not addressed here, please contact the Statewide Human Services Call Center at 401.462.4444. or 2.1.1
- COVID SUPPORT FACTSHEET. The RI Department of Health has published a very informative factsheet for anyone needing support during this time. You can find it here.
- DAILY COVID-19 INFORMATION. The Governor has established a way for you to get daily COVID updates from her office. Click here to fill out the request to be added to the distribution list.
- NEWPORT COUNTY COVID-19 HOUSING ASSISTANCE GRANTS. Working in partnership with Newport Partnership for Families and Conexión Latina with funding from Rhode Island Housing and the Rhode Island Foundation, Church Community Housing Corporation is offering one-time financial assistance for individuals facing a short-term housing crisis. Grants up to $2,000 are available. If your application is approved, funds from this grant program will go directly to third parties such as your landlord or utility providers. Go to https://www.cchcnewport.org/covid19 or contact Aubrey Collins at Church Community Housing Corporation have any questions (401 846 5114 x111, or email: ACollins@cchcnewport.org.)
- HOSPITAL VISITS. Newport Hospital has seen about a 30% decrease in patients coming in since the start of the COVID outbreak. If you think you need emergency medical attention, Newport Hospital wants you to know that the emergency room is the best place to go and that they have taken measures to ensure patient safety.
- SAFE AT HOME. People who are surviving violence in their relationships or families may be experiencing increased isolation and danger caused by social distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- STATEWIDE CALL FOR MEDICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS. The State is issuing another call for available medical and health care professionals. If you are available to join Rhode Island’s response to COVID-19, please visit Rhode Island Responds and register to volunteer.
- WORKFORCE STABILIZATION FUND. The Governor has established a workforce stabilization fund for congregate-care workers making less than $20 per hour. The fund will allow care facilities to increase weekly wages for employees making less than $20 per hour.
- EMPHASIS ON MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES. If you are in a mental health or substance abuse crisis made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and you need immediate assistance, please call 24/7 to get connected to care through BH Link:
- 401-414-LINK (5465)
- For under 18 call: 855-KID-LINK (855-543-5465) or click here.
- SCAM WARNING. The Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Unit is warning residents to be extra vigilant of scammers trying to take of advantage of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The scams include people posing as government agencies and representatives to get personal information from consumers, and fraudulent online sales and offers of coronavirus equipment or treatments.
- Anyone who thinks they have been targeted by scammers should contact law enforcement.
- EMPLOYEES AFFECTED BY COVID-19. Employees out of work or unable to work due to COVID-19 should review the following sites:
- ARTS. RI has launched a new website, RIArts.org, to connect artists with available resources and provide Rhode Islanders with an up-to-date list of virtual performances happening in the state.
- RI DELIVERS. RI Delivers has been established to provide food delivery help for those living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Their goal is to ensure that for this temporary quarantine period, you have what you need to safely remain home and monitor your symptoms. By doing so, you will help slow the spread of COVID-19. If you are under quarantine, you should not leave your home for any reason. Please click here for more information. If you have a question or need further guidance, call 2-1-1 or the Point at 401.462.4444.
- PORTSMOUTH SENIOR CENTER MEALS. Portsmouth Senior Center has established a Meal Site at their address - 110 Bristol Ferry Rd. Meals need to be made with a 24-hour reservation. Participants can call Cynthia (Director-Portsmouth Senior Center) at 401-683-4106. If no answer call 401-297-6102.
- CONTINUATION OF MEDICAID. The State is halting terminations and income verifications related to RI Medicaid for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
- BE SAFE CAMPAIGN. “Be Safe” is a community response for needy families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Complete a form by clicking here to request a Be Safe Kit containing cleaning/household and safety supplies. If you need additional assistance, please call 401-519-2283 and leave a voicemail with your phone number and name.
- DONATE TO THE BE SAFE CAMPAIGN. Family Service of Rhode Island (FSRI), a statewide non-profit, is asking for help to provide supplies to help Rhode Islanders “be safe” from COVID-19. Your donation supports the purchase of antibacterial soap, disinfecting wipes, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, food and grocery supplies and other items that socially isolated seniors, adults with chronic illnesses and disabilities, families with children, and others desperately need right now to protect themselves and reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission. FSRI is doing curbside delivery of these kits across the state. Click here to donate.
- HEALTHSOURCE RI IS OFFERING A SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD available to Rhode Islanders losing health coverage due to a change in employment status.
- Rhode Islanders who wish to obtain coverage can do so by visiting www.HealthSourceRI.com and enrolling online, or by contacting the HealthSource RI call center Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm at 1-855-840-4774.
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
- Portsmouth residents may call (401) 643-0379 seven days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for general inquiries related to the current health situation or for accessing municipal services
Residents may also email requests or inquiries to email@example.com.
- The town has established local information on the town website, its NOTIFY ME system, and social media as follows:
- Town Website: www.PortsmouthRI.com – See the COVID-19 Alert at the top and the “Spotlight” section that will direct users to other town web pages with specific COVID-19 information.
- Notify Me®: Sign up for automatic e-mail updates. On the town web home page click the “Notify Me®” button and choose your topic.
- Facebook: Log on to the town Emergency Management Facebook page (Portsmouth Emergency).
- Twitter: Log on to the Portsmouth Emergency Twitter feed - @PortsmouthEmerg and use Hashtag #COVID02871 for Portsmouth-specific tweets.
- Phone: The Emergency Operations Center phone number is 401-643-0379. Leave a message and your call will be returned.
- Email: Email COVID@PortsmouthRI.com and your message will be routed to the appropriate town staff person to help.
- Town Webpages:
§ https://www.portsmouthri.com/1594/Portsmouth-Specific-Coronavirus-Informat (and the Quick Links located on the right side of the page)
Portsmouth Emergency Management Blog