The City of Newport has been awarded $75,000 from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to help local restaurants “Take it Outside” this fall.
The grant, which was announced Thursday, Oct. 1st, is part of Commerce Rhode Island’s Take it Outside Initiative, a statewide effort designed to encourage and increase outdoor activities in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The City plans to utilize the funds to procure items including portable heaters, tents, and personal protective equipment as a means to help local businesses weather the onset of colder temperatures.
“This is a significant award and with the weather getting colder, couldn’t come at a better time,” City Manager Joseph J. Nicholson, Jr. said. “Our goal is to work closely and quickly with our business community in order to put them in a position where they can succeed over the coming months even while contending with the incredible challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.”
Throughout the pandemic, the City has sought to bolster its restaurant industry by providing a variety of enhanced service opportunities, including allowing for expanded outdoor dining, take-out, and pick-up options.
Businesses interested in applying for assistance through the City’s Take it Outside grant award are encouraged to contact the City Manager’s Office at (401) 845-5429, or via email at CityManager@CityofNewport.com or Patricia Reynolds, Director of Planning and Economic Development at (401) 845-5450, or PReynolds@CityofNewport.com.
Applicants will be responded to on a first come, first served basis and will be asked to provide hours of operation, the number of employees expected to be retained as a result of the program, and, if applicable, a revenue figures comparing this past August 2020 to that of August 2019.
Expert agencies such as the World Health Organization believe that the coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, outdoor gatherings lower the risk of catching the coronavirus because wind disperses viral droplets and sunlight can kills some of the virus.