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May 12

Portsmouth COVID-19 UPDATE May 12,2020 1658

Posted on May 12, 2020 at 5:01 PM by Richard Talipsky





Phone: (401) 643-0379

In an Emergency dial 911




  • World

(Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University)

  • Cases:                           4,238,703
  • Recovered:                 1,482,583
  • Deaths:                        290,269


  • USA

(Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University)

  • Cases:                           1,358,901
  • Recovered:                 232,733
  • Deaths:                        81,805


  • Rhode Island

(RI Department of Health)

  • Cases:                           11,614
  • Hospitalized:              277
  • Deaths:                        444

  • Aquidneck Island

(RI Department of Health)

  • Cases:                           106
  • Deaths                          Not Available


  • Staff
    • Active Cases:              1
    • Recovered:                 1
    • Quarantined:             0
    • 72 Hour wait:             0
    • Deaths:                        0


·         INTERNET FOR DISTANCE LEARNING.  Free hotspot coverage period has been extended.

  • Any household with a smartphone with Wi-Fi hotspot capability and cell phone service from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint will receive free hotspot coverage until June 30th.
  • The RI Office of Innovation has released a digital reference guide aimed to help those without home internet connection.

  • 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.

  • REVISED 2019-20 SCHOOL CALENDAR. The revised 2019-20 school calendar approved by the School Committee is available by clicking here.

  • COX INTERNET.  Cox Communications has extended its internet assistance offerings for families through July 15th.  Click here for more details


  • EXECUTIVE ORDERS.  All RI Executive Orders can be found here.

  • BUSINESS MICROENTERPRISE STABILIZATION GRANT (MICROE) PROGRAM.  The Town of Portsmouth is working with the R. I. Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to become part of the MicroE program.  Under this program, eligible microenterprises adversely impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for working capital grants.  We hope to begin accepting applications within the next two weeks.
    • More information is available at the Town website by clicking here.

  • HURRICANE PLANNING UNDER COVID-19 PORTSMOUTH IS SEEKING VOLUNTEERS.  With the hurricane season almost upon us, the Portsmouth Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), in cooperation with the Town of Portsmouth, is seeking volunteers to assist in planning for evacuation and sheltering for severe weather events.
    • Hurricane season officially starts June 1, and with the current COVID-19 restrictions, some of the traditional response and recovery evacuation and sheltering practices will require changes. 
    • The planning process is the responsibility of the local municipality and, as such, PEMA is looking for individuals who can commit to help draft an updated local plan.  Ideally, volunteers will have some exposure to emergency response planning. In addition, those with experience in the hotel, food, and transportation industries are strongly encouraged to volunteer.  Also encouraged are representatives from mobile home parks, flood prone neighborhoods, assisted living and nursing home facilities, and subsidized living communities.
    • If you wish to volunteer, please contact Ray Perry, Director of Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) at by Wednesday May 27th, 2020. Please provide your contact and experience information.  You may also leave this information in the Town Hall mailbox or mail it to PEMA, 2200 East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871.  If you have any questions, call Ray Perry at 401-477-2172.

  • MEDICAL EMERGENCY DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM.  Be part of the Medical Emergency Distribution System (MEDS) Point of Dispensing (POD) Program as a volunteer and get some basic training online.  When we finally get a COVID-19 vaccine, there is a good probability we will activate a POD for mass inoculation.  A perk is that MEDS POD volunteers and their immediate families get head-of-the-line privileges when they report for their volunteer assignment.  No training is necessary, but it is helpful.  Basic MEDS POD Training on-line is being done by RI DOH.

  • 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.

  • BOY SCOUTS TO HELP COLLECT FOOD FOR THE PORTSMOUTH EMERGENCY FOOD BANK.  Portsmouth Scouts are coordinating a food collection during COVID-19 to help the Portsmouth Community Emergency Food Bank.  There will be food donation bins near the checkout at Clements Marketplace, The Green Grocer, and Dollar General and the scouts will periodically pick up the donations and take them to the Food Bank.  Support the scouts and the Portsmouth Emergency Food Bank by purchasing an extra non-perishable item and drop it off on your way out.

  • PORTSMOUTH DOG LICENSING.  Dog license renewal applications were due, April 30th.  Fines for late renewals will be waived through May 15th.  The Town Clerk's office is processing dog licenses by mail, or all necessary items may be placed in an envelope and put in the Tax Assessor’s drop box.  Forms and envelopes are in the Town Hall south entry vestibule which is accessible to the public during the workday.


·         PORTSMOUTH COVID-19 WELLNESS SURVEY .  In an effort to ensure our residents are safe and secure, and to provide them information and access to essential services, the Town of Portsmouth is sending every household a COVID-19 Wellness Survey that, if completed and returned, will help the Town identify those in need.  More information can be found by clicking here.

  • RESPONSES WILL BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL.  The Town urges every household, even if assistance is not needed, to please take a minute to complete and return the survey.  If you do not return it, the Town will not know the COVID-19 impact upon you or your family.  We are seeking 100% participation so that no family with a need is missed.  If a home needs assistance, the Town intends to contact the home to assess their welfare concerns.
  • The survey may also be completed online at
  • This survey is voluntary participation is optional, but we highly encourage responses.

o   If you have questions about this initiative, please feel free to call Ray Perry, CEM, our Town Emergency Manager, at 401-477-2172 or e-mail him at





  • STATE PARKS HAVE BEGUN TO REOPEN.  RI DEM has begun the gradual reopening of state parks.  Many diverse and varied outdoor spaces will be open for Rhode Islanders to safely enjoy while adhering to the Governor’s guidance on not gathering in groups and practicing social distancing.   DEM is reopening state parks in a graduated manner and is staggering park openings, reducing the size of parking areas and restricting hours of operation and activities to prevent crowds.  DEM hopes to reopen all parks by the end of May.  A second phase of the reopening plan will include the saltwater beaches, which will open later this spring with new restrictions in place.  The following State Parks will be open daily:
    • Beavertail State Park, Jamestown*
    • Black Regiment Monument, Portsmouth
    • Burlingame State Park, Charlestown*
    • Cocumcussoc Park, North Kingstown
    • Fort Adams State Park, Newport* (closes at 6 PM)
    • Fort Wetherill State Park, Jamestown*
    • Haines Memorial State Park, East Providence
    • John H. Chafee Nature Preserve, North Kingstown
    • J.L. Curran State Park, Cranston
    • Lehigh High Grove, Portsmouth
    • Lincoln Woods State Park, Lincoln* (closes at 6:00 PM)
    • Meshanticut State Park, Cranston
    • Pulaski State Park, Glocester*
    • Purgatory Chasm, Middletown
    • Snake Den State Park, Johnston 

*Parking capacity has been reduced to limit the number of visitors at the park to limit crowding and support social distancing.

    • All Portsmouth Playgrounds are closed until further notice. 
    • Most Parks and Beaches are open.  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, gatherings can be no greater than five people, and everyone to wear a cloth face covering in all indoor or outdoor public places.  Group activities of greater than 5 people are not allowed and out of state visitors must self-quarantine for 14 days before any outdoor activity.  See below for a list and status of Portsmouth Recreation areas.
      • Bocce at Sr Center:                                  Open
      • Bristol Ferry Town Common:               Open
      • Dog Park:                                                     Closed
      • Elmhurst Park:                                           Open
      • Founders Brook:                                       Open
      • Glen Farm/Gardiner Seveney:            Open
      • Glen Park:                                                   Open
      • Heritage Park:                                            Open
      • Legion Park:                                               Open
      • McCorrie Point:                                         Open
      • Melville Recreation Area:                     Open
      • Mount Hope Park:                                   Open
      • Oakland Forest:                                        Open
      • Sakonnet Greenway Trail:                     Open
      • Sandy Point Beach:                                  Open
      • Weaver Cove Boat Launch:                  Open
    • As required, the Portsmouth Police department will work to remind people of the current guidelines.
    • The Portsmouth EOC is coordinating with Golf Courses to ensure safe operations and best practices are shared across all Aquidneck Island Courses, to include compliance with State and National Golf Associations' COVID 19 Safety Operating Guidelines.


  • PORTSMOUTH STATE OF EMERGENCY.  The Portsmouth State of Emergency Declaration issued March 16, 2020 has been extended through May 22, 2020.
    • Town Hall remains closed.  Business is being conducted online or via phone.
      • In person service is by appointment only.


  • LARGE EVENTS SCHEDULED FOR SUMMER 2020.  Large events will not be feasible this summer.  This will include the Bristol July 4th Parade and the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals.  No weddings that would include a significant number of guests (more than 50) will likely not be allowed in June or July.  The situation will be monitored and wedding gatherings of up to 100 could be allowed by August.


  • DISTANCE LEARNING FOR REST OF THE SCHOOL YEAR.  The Governor announced today Rhode Island public schools are continuing with distance learning for the rest of the school year.
    • Parents and Educators looking for support with Distance Learning should visit the Highlander Institute by clicking here.


  • NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER ON HEALTH INSURANCE.  Executive Order 20-29: Twenty-Sixth Supplemental Emergency Declaration – Promoting Better Coordination of Health Care Coverage was signed.  The order includes directives requiring insurers not to increase out-of-pocket prescription costs or change drug coverage; relaxes the process for obtaining specialist referrals; limits mandates for prior authorization to seek care; and maintains mental health coverage.


  • GUIDANCE FOR WEARING CLOTH FACE COVERINGS AT WORK.  Governor Raimondo’s Executive Order 20-14 prohibited all gatherings of more than 5 people and all non-critical, retail businesses from conducting in-person operations. However, critical businesses remain open and some of their employees must be physically present at the work site, requiring further measures to keep those employees, and their customers/clients safe.  Therefore, per Governor Raimondo’s Executive Order 20-24, beginning Saturday, April 18th, all employees of the following business types are required to wear cloth face coverings:
    • Customer-facing (including retail stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, liquor stores, banks, etc.)
    • Office-based
    • Non-profit organizations
    • Manufacturing
    • Construction
    • Food Service Industry
    • All other businesses continuing in-person operations where DBR has not granted an exemption
    • Details can be found by clicking here.


  • 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.

  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 20-05 SUPERSEDED.  The Governor issued Executive Order 20-25 – Public Meetings and Public Records Requests.  It supersedes the previous order concerning this subject.
    • Open Meetings may allow remote participation.
    • Statutory timeframes within which to respond to an APRA may be extended by 20 days.
    • The order is in effect until May 15, 2020.


    • All young adults who were VEC or YESS Aftercare participants as of January 1, 2020, and who turn age 21 from January 1, 2020, through June 30, 2020, shall be permitted to voluntarily receive services and supports for a period of up to 60 days following the termination of this order.  The Order is in effect until May 15, 2020.


  • 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.

  • ENFORCEMENT OF QUARANTINE RULES.  The Governor signed Executive Order 20-20 (link to directing health officials to develop regulations to enforce penalties, including a series of fines, on those who break their quarantines.
    • The rules apply to those who have been ordered to quarantine because they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as well as those required to do so because they had contact with someone with the disease.
    • Out of state visitors.  All out of state visitors must also self-quarantine for 14 days.  This applies to everyone traveling for non-work-related purposes and includes travelers entering RI for the purpose of using local marinas.

  • PORTSMOUTH PLAYGROUNDS.  Portsmouth playgrounds are closed until further notice.

  • VOTING BY MAIL.  The Governor’s Executive Order 20-11 moved the Presidential Preference Primary (PPP) in Rhode Island to June 2nd.  The Executive Order also stated that this will be a predominantly mail ballot election. 
    • For this election, all Rhode Island registered voters will receive a mail ballot application along with a postage-paid return envelope.  To vote by mail, voters must return the application by May 19th. The deadline to register to vote and to update your voter information for this election was May 3rd. 
    • Due to the public health emergency there will be fewer polling places available on June 2nd. For this reason, we are urging voters to vote by mail.  If you choose to vote at a polling place, go to to confirm where you will vote.  Polling places will be confirmed soon.


  • RI COURTS CLOSED.  The state judiciary has decided to keep the courts closed to non-emergency matters through May 17th.


  • 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.


  • GRAB AND GO.  Breakfast and lunches are available for all Portsmouth students in the main foyer of Portsmouth High School, Monday-Friday, between the hours of 9:00 - 10:30 am.


  • PORTSMOUTH LIBRARY.  The library is closed but you can still download books and audio.  Find out more here.   Additionally, starting immediately, Portsmouth Free Public Library will fulfill requests for books, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and audiobooks.  Curbside pickup is available Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM.  Items may be requested via phone at 683-9457 x 2 or via email at  Patrons may borrow up to 6 items.  The items must show as AVAILABLE in the online catalog at
    • WiFi is available 24/7 in the library parking lot.
    • Tumblebooks is free until August 31st.


  • 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.


    • SHREDDING: August 8, at Clements’ Market from 9 a.m. - 12 noon
    • ELECTRONIC WASTE COLLECTIONS: June 13; Sept. 12; Nov.14 - at Portsmouth High School servicefrom 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.

  • SCRAP METAL COLLECTION: July 18th at Portsmouth Transfer Station (Lower Area) from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Contact the Recycling Coordinator for specific rules and eligibility: or 401-643-0359.


  • FATHER'S DAY SOCCER TOURNAMENT.  The Father’s Day Soccer Tournament scheduled for June 20-21, 2020 has been cancelled.


  • DOG PARK.  The Portsmouth Dog Park will be closed until further notice.



  • REGIONAL COLLABORATIVE.  Rhode Island has joined a multi-state collaborative to purchase personal protective equipment and other medical supplies. The coalition of states, including Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania, will identify regional need for medical supplies, work together to reduce costs and stabilize the supply chain.

  • 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 or 401-643-0379 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:


  • 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.


  • 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.
      • 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.


  • PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM LOAN MONEY STILL AVAILABLE.  There is still loan money available to help small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program.  The process is smooth and easy and funding can be moved quickly.  Click Here to find a qualified lender.  If you are having trouble finding a lender or have questions about the Paycheck Protection Program contact


  • 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.


  • OUTDOOR DINING.  Outdoor dining will be permitted in Rhode Island starting May 18, with strict guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
    • Outdoor tables will be required to be eight feet apart or have physical barriers in between.
    • Tables and chairs must be disinfected in between parties.
    • Parties are limited to no more than 5 people.
    • Valet parking and buffets or salad bars will be prohibited.
    • Seating will be by reservation only.
    • More information is available at


  • 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.


  • ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE ON REOPENING RI, PHASE 1.  The Governor and the Administration provided additional detail on reopening RI, Phase 1.  General business guidance, including recommendations for non-critical retail establishments, is available at  Guidance from the Department of Business Regulation on specific types of businesses and operations is available on  Additional details include:
    • Non-essential retail will be allowed to reopen with new guidelines (
    • Gyms, as well as close-contact businesses (such as nail salons, spas, barbers/hairdressers, tattoo parlors, etc.), remain closed.
    • Yard sales are prohibited.
    • Expansion of medical services into non-emergency services, though dental and optical services are only for time-sensitive procedures (at the discretion of the provider).
    • Employees are still encouraged to work from home to the greatest extent possible.
    • Gatherings remain limited to five people.
    • Religious services may occur with up to five people present (with streaming video); funerals may proceed with up to ten people.
    • Self-quarantine requirements for people entering Rhode Island from domestic travel will remain in effect until at least May 22, but the Governor signaled some flexibility for Rhode Island residents who need to travel out of state on short trips for necessities. The self-quarantine requirement for international travel was extended until June 5.
    • For full details and ways to prepare for Phase 1 as well as the following phases, please go to
    • Businesses in need of help with remote working can receive free tech help by calling 521-Help, or by going to the Commerce RI tech support page.


  • 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.

  • GARDEN CENTER PROTOCOLS AND GUIDANCE.  The RI Department of Environmental Management in conjunction with the Department of Business Regulation issued guidance to clarify the April 18 directive by the Governor that all garden centers cease in-store retail sales until April 27 and then reopen only in strict compliance with the protocols.  The guidance can be found by clicking here.

  • PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM.  The US Treasury and US Small Business Administration “have noted the large number of companies that have appropriately reevaluated their need for PPP loans and promptly repaid loan funds in response to SBA guidance reminding all borrowers of an important certification required to obtain a PPP loan.  To further ensure PPP loans are limited to eligible borrowers, the SBA has decided, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, that it will review all loans in excess of $2 million, in addition to other loans as appropriate, following the lender’s submission of the borrower’s loan forgiveness application.  Regulatory guidance implementing this procedure will be forthcoming.”
    • If you need help navigating the CARES Act programs, the U.S. Chamber has produced a number of guides to help small businesses. 
    • Apply through your financial institution.  More information can be found at Rhode Island Commerce.


  • COVID-19 ECONOMIC RECOVERY WEBINARS. 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:
  1. Has the rate of spread of disease continued to decrease?
  2. Do we have the capacity to quickly identify community spread on an ongoing basis before a major outbreak occurs?
  3. Do we have necessary supports in place for vulnerable populations and those in quarantine?
  4. Does our health care system have capacity and proper PPE equipment to handle future surges?
  5. Do businesses, schools, childcare facilities, churches, faith groups, and others, have plans for social distancing for the next year?
  6. 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.




  • 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.


  • INTERNET FOR DISTANCE LEARNING. Cox Communications has extended its internet assistance offerings for families through July 15th.  Click here for more details.


  • 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.

  • RI READS AT HOME.  Congratulations to Portsmouth Middle Schoolers for excelling in the Governor’s Reading Challenge for April!  More information about the program can be found by clicking here.

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 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.



  • ARTS.  RI has launched a new website,, to connect artists with available resources and provide Rhode Islanders with an up-to-date list of virtual performances happening in the state.


  • FREE SINGLE OCCUPANCY HOUSING.  Brown University is providing 700 dorm rooms for front line workers who can’t or don’t want to return home after their work shifts due to fear they are contagious and could infect their families.  More information can be found by clicking here.


  • DISCOUNTED LODGING RATES TO FRONTLINE WORKERS.  Rhode Island is creating a network of college dorm rooms and cut-price hotel rooms for people who need to remain quarantined during the coronavirus pandemic.  The state has also worked with the hospitality industry to create, which offers hotel rooms for as little as $25 per night for people who need a place to quarantine.
    • The dorm rooms at the state colleges will be for health care workers and first responders who, while not necessarily infected with the disease, don't want to risk the health of family or roommates by staying at home.


  • 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.

·         FOOD BANK DONATIONS.  THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to the Portsmouth Food Bank.  To date, over $16,945 has been received.

  • FOOD BANK.  The Town of Portsmouth is currently stocking a community emergency food bank that is designed to serve the needs of those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. St. Barnabas Church has graciously provided the use of their parish hall at 1697 East Main Rd, Portsmouth, for the Food Bank.
    • TO DONATE FOOD.  The Food Bank is accepting donations from 8:30 am – 2:00 pm, Monday, Wednesday and / or Friday.  The Town expects an increasing need to replenish the Food Bank throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Call 401-643-0323 or email and leave a message if you need more information about donating food.  Non-perishable, non-expired food Items can be dropped off at the parish hall (church lower parking lot).
      • Food and food-related items needed include things such as:  cereal, pancake mix, syrup, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly, powdered milk, baked beans, canned fruit, pasta sauce, canned pasta, canned vegetables, canned tuna and  chicken, crackers, Minute Rice packages, canned soups, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and grocery store gift cards.
    • TO GET FOOD FROM THE FOOD BANK.  Come to the Food Bank between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and a Food Bank volunteer will bring food out to your car. We are in the St. Barnabas Parish Hall, around the back of the church, lower parking lot. If you are unable to get to the Food Bank between 10 am and 2 pm, please call 401-643-0323 or email and a Food Bank volunteer will get back to you within 24 hours to address your needs.
    • WANT TO VOLUNTEER?  If you desire to volunteer at the Food Bank to accept food, re-stock the shelves or have the ability to deliver food or pick up food donations from those who cannot come to the Food Bank, call 401-643-0323 or email with the days/times available and what you would be interested in doing.
      • Text pefb to 555888 and click on your choice of a one-time gift or a recurring payment, or
      • Visit the Donation link and click on the “Make a Donation” button under the “Portsmouth Emergency Food Bank,” or
      • 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 Community Food Bank, visit the Portsmouth Town Hall website at, or contact Wendy Bulk at the Portsmouth Town Hall by calling 401-787-0281 or emailing

  • 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.



  • HELP FOR LAID OFF WORKERS.  The CARES Act signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, gives states the option of extending unemployment compensation to independent contractors and other workers who are ordinarily ineligible for unemployment benefits.  More information can be found at the U.S Department of Labor and the RI Department of Labor and Training.

  • CONTINUATION OF MEDICAID.  The State is halting terminations and income verifications related to RI Medicaid for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.


  • STIMULUS BILL.  On March 27, the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to be signed by President Trump.
    • Direct Cash Payments: Folks who make less than $75,000 per year ($150,000 for couples) will receive a $1,200 check in a few weeks, with an additional $500 for each child.
    • Unemployment Protections: The average worker who gets laid off as a result of this crisis will be eligible for four months of full pay. Rhode Islanders are eligible for 39 weeks of unemployment benefits.


  • SNAP BENEFITS.  In March and April, SNAP households that were not already receiving the maximum SNAP benefit amount for their household size received an increase to their benefits to bring them to the maximum amount.
    • The Federal government has approved a similar increase for May. The Department issued these additional benefits on May 1. RI will receive additional funding form the Federal coronavirus spending bills which will provide extra money for food to parents with school-age children who receive free or reduced lunch.  The amount is $5.70 per child per day that school is closed, retroactive to March 16, or about to about $200 per child so far.

  • FAMILY SERVICES.  Family Service of RI is asking for help to provide items to help the low-income children, families and seniors it serves “be safe” from COVID-19.   Anyone interested in helping should click here or call Maggie Slane at 401-331-1350 ext. 3840 or email

  • 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 and enrolling online, or by contacting the HealthSource RI call center Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm at 1-855-840-4774.






  • 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


  • The town has established local information on the town website, its NOTIFY ME system, and social media as follows:
    • Town Website: – 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.  A volunteer is ready to assist you.  If you cannot get through, use email.  We will get back to you.
    • Email:  Email and your message will be routed to the appropriate town staff person to help.
    • Town Webpages:

§ (and the Quick Links located on the right side of the page)

Portsmouth Emergency Management Blog