WJAR: RI will provide supplies to help small businesses reopen - Rhode Island Commerce

RI will provide supplies to help small businesses reopen
by BRIAN CRANDALL, NBC 10 NEWS

Small businesses in Rhode Island will get supplies from the state to help them reopen.

Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Wednesday that that free masks, cleaning supplies and computers will be available.

Encouraging Rhode Islanders to go out and start shopping again, Raimondo acknowledged that some may be afraid.

“You have to go at your own pace and the name of the game in phase one is slow and cautious,” she said.

And she reminded Rhode Islanders to follow the rules, calling them “simple but life-saving and very important.”

For businesses, the new rules mean added precautions. Raimondo announced that starting next week, 500,000 face masks will be available to distribute to businesses with fewer than 50 workers.

Businesses can also apply for vouchers for cleaning supplies at Ocean State Job Lot.

“Frankly, the ones that have been hit the hardest and have been struggling the most in getting their hands on the supplies, they need to reopen safely with the new guidelines,” she said.

The goal, Raimondo said, is to give those businesses a 30-day supply to get started.

The governor also announced that 500 laptops donated by Microsoft are available to small businesses with fewer than 25 workers.

“We’ve been hearing from small businesses. They want to sell more online. They want to enable folks to work from home. They need a hand with the equipment, the software and the technical know-how,” Raimondo said.

Microsoft is donating 500 additional laptops to help students with distance learning.

Applications for the supplies and the laptops will be available on the Rhode Island Commerce website.

To qualify, businesses will have to show they have completed their COVID-19 control plans.

 

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