The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced Thursday that it has set up a $1 million fund capitalized by CARES Act money to help owners of indoor sports facilities affected by Executive Order 20-90 recover losses incurred November 2-8. This was the week that indoor sporting venues had to close to allow the state time to review and update its regulations and guidance to ensure that indoor sporting facilities and sport organizations had clear directions for operating during the pandemic to slow the spread of COVID-19. When she announced the temporary closure in late October, Governor Gina M. Raimondo promised business owners in this sector that she would work to protect them from the impacts of the unexpected pause. The RI indoor sports venue support fund makes good on the Governor’s promise.
“Whenever and however we can, we will work to provide direct economic assistance to businesses that have been harmed by this pandemic,” Governor Raimondo said. “I’m grateful to DEM and Director Coit for immediately taking action to help our local businesses.” Governor Raimondo asked DEM Director Janet Coit to be on point for handling issues related to sports during the pandemic.
“From our Zoom calls and frequent conversations with owners and operators in this sector, we realize that indoor sports complexes are big investments that are expensive to build, staff, and operate,” said Director Coit. “Based on our experience in standing up a similar program to help commercial fishermen who endured COVID-related losses earlier this fall, we are ready to help owners of indoor sports venues starting today and encourage eligible businesses to apply for funding now.”
Here are the criteria that applicants must meet to qualify for this program.
Indoor sports venue operator. The applicant must be an organization that operates an indoor sports venue, such as an indoor ice rink, multi-use sports facility, basketball courts, tennis courts, swimming pool, indoor track, and squash facilities, etc., in Rhode Island. Public education institutions and municipal-owned or government-owned facilities and their affiliates are not eligible.
Subject to closure under Executive Order 20-90. Applicants must have closed their complexes entirely or cancelled prohibited activities in their venues from November 2 to 8 as required by Executive Order 20-90, which Governor Raimondo signed October 30. Here is the relevant section of the order:
All indoor sporting facilities, such as indoor ice rinks and basketball courts, may not host games, practices, or any other sport, for the period beginning on Monday, November 2, through Sunday, November 8. To the extent that such facilities are used for purposes other than sports activities, they may continue to be open. This Order does not apply to activities of professional or collegiate interscholastic athletic programs; only professional and collegiate interscholastic athletic programs may conduct indoor activities during this time. If a gymnasium or fitness center has an indoor sport facility within its establishment, it may not be used for games, practices, or any other sport for the period beginning on Monday, November 2, through Sunday, November 8.
Revenue loss. Applicants must have suffered a revenue loss of at least $2,000 as a result of the closure required by the executive order.
Good standing. The applicant must be in good standing with the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office and the Rhode Island Division of Taxation. If a business is in compliance and is up to date with its taxes, fee payments, and filing periodical reports, it is in good standing.