How Rhode Island businesses and shoppers continue to handle COVID-19 | Rhode Island Commerce


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Greetings. We recognize that this remains a challenging time for our state and our valued small businesses. You received a message over the weekend about additional steps the Governor is taking to protect Rhode Islanders. As you know, these actions included a Stay at Home Order and additional closures that affect retailers. If you have any questions about these orders, we encourage you to reach out to the Department of Business Regulation. They’ve set up an  online form to receive your questions, or you can call them at (401) 889-5550.
We know that many of you are understandably eager to learn about what financial resources will become available to help you through this difficult time. This is a top priority for our team, and in the coming days and weeks, we will be saying more about the measures that will be available as a result of the new federal stimulus package. 
In the meantime, we want to share some additional news about resources to help businesses adapt and a few more examples of Rhode Island businesses that are responding to this unprecedented situation with continued creativity and generosity.
Wishing you well during this challenging time,
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New Tech Resources for Small Biz
If you need help with technology in order to minimize in-person interactions as a result of coronavirus, RI’s leading tech businesses are volunteering free 45-minute remote support sessions. This help includes assistance with home technology, online meetings, e-commerce, remote working security, and more. Coaches with various specialties are available from Monday-Friday, 1 PM – 5 PM. Small businesses can sign up for a coaching session with the specialist of your choice here .

Manufacturers Making A Difference

Rhode Island’s manufacturing community continues to answer the country’s call for help.
After outreach from Rhode Island Commerce staff , Contech Medical w as able to help the state secure 60,000 swabs. The specialized swabs will be sent to the state’s Department of Health to be used for nasal testing kits. Thank you, Contech!37b17ab1 1daa 485d bf81 9da5dc99948d
Additionally, Honeywell in Smithfield will be producing N95 masks. These masks are critical for medical professionals on the front lines of the pandemic because they filter and block the airborne particles and droplets that transmit coronavirus.
The facility will expand its operations, creating approximately 500 new jobs to be filled immediately. For more information on how to apply, click here.
Other companies are exploring potential capacities for producing parts for medical ventilator machines and some companies are assisting with supply chain logistics, among other efforts.
We are still searching for key medical products. If you know of potential sources (manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, or companies with extras in storage), please visit this webpage:

Feeding the Need
eeaa0752 ecfa 46aa 9410 d6fef97ac529The Ocean House food truck, Off the Menu , is delivering and distributing complimentary lunches to local children 16 and under. The food truck is parking at the ice rink at 61 Main Street in Westerly and lunches are available Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 AM-1 PM. Follow the Ocean House Facebook page for the latest information.
Additionally, Granny Squibb is donating iced tea to accompany the lunches, just one of the many donations they’ve made recently. The company last week donated 10 cases of tea to the staff at Women and Infant’s Hospital, a natural extension of their “If We Can, We Will” charitable campaign.
Other restaurants such as Koi and Matunuck Oyster Bar are also offering childrens meals for families who need help. Thank you for your generosity!

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Providence Monthly compiled a list of restaurants, and other businesses that have adapted to remain open for takeout and delivery, and would appreciate your business. Check it out here .
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The Columbus Theatre has assembled a list of local musicians with music available for streaming and purchase on Bandcamp. Support your favorite local artist or discover a new one here .

Restaurants switch to delivery and Pick-up — Now with Beer and Wine

Our state’s hospitality community has put together lists of local restaurants offering takeout and delivery. For up-to-date menu options, visit:

And good news; you can now include beer and wine in your takeout orders!

Craving local craft beer? You can still purchase and pick up beer from many of the state’s breweries. Rhode Island Monthly has put together a handy guide. And Farm Fresh Rhode Island continues to make local produce available through its Market Mobile wholesale service.

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How You Can Support Local Businesses
While businesses do everything they can to help halt the spread of COVID-19, there are ways that you can shop remotely & electronically and support your local restaurants while following safety guidelines. Namely – if you’re able and up for it, please buy gift cards, shop online, order takeout and delivery. 
Purchasing a gift card to your favorite restaurant, shop, or venue is a great way to support local businesses immediately. Whether you give such cards as a gift or save them for future shopping or dining, purchasing gift cards will help businesses now . A nd with the “Gift it Forward” program, there’s a new way that makes it even easier for Rhode Islanders to support businesses impacted by COVID-19 by purchasing gift cards. You can lean more here .
Although restaurant dining areas will be closed during the COVID-19 outbreak, you are still able to order take out or delivery from your favorite Rhode Island eateries. And while non-essential retail storefronts are closed, you can support many of your favorite retailers by visiting their websites to shop their collections online.

If you know of a business to feature in an upcoming newsletter (including your own), please  contact us  and we’ll do our best to highlight its efforts.

For the latest information about COVID-19, please visit  the official page of the Rhode Island Department of Health .  People or businesses with general questions about COVID-19 and how to follow the latest guidance should call 401-222-8022, or if the call is outside of business hours, call 211.
For questions regarding Unemployment Insurance or Temporary Disability Insurance, please contact the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training via email at or phone at (401) 462-2020.
If you have questions about business closures or restrictions, please call the Department of Business Regulation at 401-889-5550 or submit your questions online on the Department of Business Regulation’s website .
For information on SBA small business loans and on technology providers offering free services (including videoconferencing), please visit   , call (401) 521-HELP, or e-mail .