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Jun 08

Portsmouth COVID-19 UPDATE June 8, 2020 1607

Posted on June 8, 2020 at 4:11 PM by Richard Talipsky

COVID-19 UPDATE

6/8/2020

 

PORTSMOUTH EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER

Phone: (401) 643-0379

In an Emergency dial 911

Email: covid@portsmouthri.com

All personal identifiable information received will be held strictly confidential

 

SITUATION TO DATE:

  • World

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

  • Cases:                           7,068,144
  • Recovered:                 3,170,596
  • Deaths:                        404,142

 

  • USA

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

  • Cases:                           1,951,722
  • Recovered:                 506,367
  • Deaths:                        110,771

 

  • Rhode Island

(RI Department of Health)

  • Cases:                           15,642
  • Hospitalized:              146
  • Deaths:                        799

  • Aquidneck Island (as of May 29th)

(RI Department of Health)

  • Cases:                           160
  • Deaths                          Not Available

 

  • Staff
    • Active Cases:              0
    • Recovered:                 2
    • Quarantined:             0
    • 72 Hour wait:             0
    • Deaths:                        0

TODAY’s NEW INFORMATION:

·         PORTSMOUTH STATE OF EMERGENCY.  The Portsmouth State of Emergency Declaration issued March 16, 2020 has been extended through July 4, 2020.

  • Town Hall remains closed.  Business is being conducted online or via phone.
    • In person service is by appointment only.

  • 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.

  • PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM FLEXIBILITY ACT.  On June 5, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. The act provides modifications that will allow businesses more flexibility in using the loan funds and qualifying for forgiveness.
    • The PPP Flexibility Act amends the Paycheck Protection Program to give borrowers more time to spend loan funds and still obtain forgiveness.
    • Borrowers now have 24 weeks to spend loan proceeds, up from 8 weeks.
    • The Act also reduces mandatory payroll spending from 75% to 60%.
    • Two new exceptions let borrowers obtain full forgiveness even without fully restoring their workforce.
    • Time to pay off the loan has been extended to five years from the original two.
    • The Act will now let businesses delay paying payroll taxes even if they took a PPP loan.
    • June 30, 2020 application deadline for a PPP loan remains in effect and was not changed under the new law.

  • 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 RhodeIsland_DO@sba.gov.
    • The Small Business Administration (SBA) has prepared an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) guide concerning paycheck protection program loans.  It can be viewed by clicking here.
    • 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.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • PORTSMOUTH ELECTRONIC WASTE COLLECTION.  Portsmouth’s Electronic Waste Collection Event is slated for June 13 at Portsmouth High School 120 Education Lane from 9 am to 12 noon. To minimize social contact, the collection provider (Indie Cycle) has requested residents have their electronic waste ready for unloading and that they remain in their vehicles as much as possible.
    • This electronics collection is available to any Rhode Island resident and appointments are not required.  
    • Items accepted at NO charge include televisions, computers, laptops, monitors, routers, computer parts, cell phones and other hand-held devices, mice, keyboards, ink-jet printers, toner cartridges, CD/DVD players, radios, network equipment, wires, stereos, plastic speakers, telephones, cameras, microwaves, small household appliances, and acid lead batteries including auto/marine/laptop with battery back-ups.
    • There is a $10 disposal fee for each laser printer, air conditioner, dehumidifier, and other coolant-containing devices and wood-cased speakers ($5 for small speakers).
    • Not accepted: light bulbs, single use batteries, tapes/disks, glass, cardboard, Styrofoam, broken TV tubes, any other type of non-electronic recyclables or any hazardous materials.
    • For information contact Ray Antaya, 401-643- 0359 or rantaya@portsmouthri.com. More information is available here.

  • PORTSMOUTH BEACHES.  The Portsmouth Council approved new operating guidelines for Portsmouth Beaches (Sandy Point and McCorrie).

Sandy Point

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 100 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 resident only parking.  Parking permits are being distributed to residents on Sigourney Road.

McCorrie Point

  • 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 resident only parking.  Parking permits are being distributed to residents on these roads.

Both Beaches

  • 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.

 

  • 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 clerkoffice@portsmouthri.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.

  • SUMMER CAMPS.  Summer camps may begin on June 29th under certain conditions (more guidance can be found at reopeningri.com ):
    • Camp will be limited to 15 campers and adults, with ideally the same group interacting with each other every day.
    • Camp employees and counselors will be required to wear masks.
      • Campers will be encouraged to do so.
    • Portsmouth plans to conduct summer camps under the new guidance.
    • For questions on the above, or anything recreation related, contact the Recreation Director, Wendy Bulk, at 401-787-0281 or wbulk@portsmouthri.com.

  • EXTENSION OF PORTSMOUTH TAX PAYMENT GRACE PERIOD.  The grace period for the payment of property taxes has been extended to June 30, 2020.  Click here for more information.

  • 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 started 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 rperry@portsmouthri.com. 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.

PLEASE TAKE THE WELLNESS SURVEY:

·         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 https://bit.ly/PEMA-COV19-Wellness-Survey
  • 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 COVID@portsmouthri.com

 

INFORMATION WHICH IS STILL CURRENT

ORDERS, CLOSURES and SERVICES

  • 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.

 

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

  • 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.

 

 

  • FITNESS CENTERS AND GYMS.  Fitness centers and gyms are permitted to open. Guidelines include keeping people and machines six feet or more apart, banning water fountains and locker rooms, and requiring masks be worn. Click here for more information.

 

  • RELIGIOUS SERVICES.  The Governor announced that religious services can resume under Phase II guidelines.  Religious facilities are limited to 25% capacity.  More guidance is available by clicking here.

  • CHILD CARE.  The state has published guidance for childcare centers, which are permitted to reopen.  Guidance is available by clicking here.

 

  • PORTSMOUTH LIBRARY.  Portsmouth Free Public Library is offering access to the computers by appointment. This limited access will only be for the computers; the other areas of the library will still be off limits. This service is intended to provide patrons with access to library computers.  Computer instruction is not available at this time.
    • Appointments will be made in 30-minute blocks of time. Please call the library at 683-9457 option 3 or email porlibref@gmail.com to make your reservation.  The Library is staffed Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM but is still closed to the public during Phase II of Reopening RI.
    • For user's safety, keyboards and mice will be swapped out and counters and chairs wiped with spray sanitizer after each appointment.  Hand sanitizer is available for public use.  Face masks must be worn at all times in compliance with recommended safety protocol. 
    • 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.  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 porlibref@gmail.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.

 

  • 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 clerkoffice@portsmouthri.com, 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 PLAYGROUNDS and RECREATION AREAS
    • 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 fifteen people, and everyone must wear a cloth face covering in all indoor or outdoor public places.  Group activities of greater than 15 people are not allowed and 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 stay at home order.  See below for a list and status of Portsmouth Recreation areas.
      • Bocce at Sr Center:                                  Open
      • Bristol Ferry Town Common:               Open
      • Dog Park:                                                     Open
      • 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.

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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.
    • 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 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.

  • 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: rantaya@portsmouthri.com or 401-643-0359.

 

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

 

PERSONAL PROTECTION

  • CONTINUE TO WEAR CLOTH FACE COVERINGS 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 July 4th.

  • 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 a new 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.

 

  • 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 covid@portsmouthri.com 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:

·         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.

COVID-19 TESTING

  • 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.

BUSINESS INFORMATION

  • RHODE ISLAND STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARTS. RISCA has announced the availability of COVID-19 emergency funding for small and medium sized arts organizations through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  The deadline to apply is June 19th. For more information, click here.

 

  • 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:
  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.

 

SOCIAL WELFARE

  • RE-ORIENTING HEALTHCARE AND LONG-TERM HEALTH PLANNING.  The Governor signed an Executive Order 20-43 today 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 studentloans@riag.ri.gov.

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

 

  • 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, 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.

·         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 portsmouthri.foodbank@gmail.com 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 portsmouthri.foodbank@gmail.com 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 portsmouthri.foodbank@gmail.com with the days/times available and what you would be interested in doing.
    • WANT TO DONATE MONETARILY?
      • Text pefb to 555888 and click on your choice of a one-time gift or a recurring payment, or
      • Visit the Donation link stbarnabasportsmouth.weshareonline.org 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 portsmouthri.com, or contact Wendy Bulk at the Portsmouth Town Hall by calling 401-787-0281 or emailing wbulk@portsmouthri.com.

  • 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 covid@portsmouthri.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