WJAR: Providence's Federal Hill cashes in on Take It Outside Initiative grant - Rhode Island Commerce

Originally appearing: https://turnto10.com/news/local/providences-federal-hill-cashes-in-on-take-it-outside-initiative-grant
By: NBC 10 NEWS
Posted: Sunday, October 4, 2020

On Federal Hill in Providence, it’s all about outdoor dining.

More space means more profit and restaurants are now cashing in on Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Take It Outside grants.

“The last few weeks have been interesting. As the weather is turning cold we just need to figure out a way to keep the people as comfortable and as happy as they can,” said Bacco Vino & Contorni Restaurant Owner Armondo Bisceglia.

On Friday, 150 patio heaters were unloaded on to Atwells Avenue which will be distributed to over 30 Federal Hill restaurants to extend the outdoor dining season.

“This is very important to us. We’ve been hoping to get these things for the last few weeks,” said Bisceglia.

The purchase was made possible by a $125,000 grant from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation.

The grant money was set aside for the governor’s Take it Outside Initiative.

It’s also helping to buy blankets and hand sanitizer made right in Rhode Island for restaurants.

“We’ve been able to procure a certain amount of these that we will be distributing to the restaurants in addition to the blankets. And then SaniTides which is a great sanitizer product,” said Rick Simone, president of the Federal Hill Association.

Even with the extra support, the hospitality industry in Providence is still trying to bounce back from the pandemic fallout.

Hotel revenue is down 80 percent this year and 35 percent for local restaurants.

But it’s not all bad news for Rhode Islanders.

“A lot of businesses continue to struggle here but Moody’s just ranked Rhode Island number two in the country for our recovery since COVID,” said Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor.

And more help could be on the way – the Federal Hill Commerce Association will be applying for the second round of grants.

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