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Guidance for Your Business

As the impact of the Coronavirus swells, we are compiling existing resources and opportunities to help small businesses throughout Greater Newport during this crisis. We also encourage you to visit the state health department website for local information.

We are updating this page frequently so please keep checking back for the latest information.

Connect Greater Newport is a resource for the business community throughout Newport County and Bristol County. If you need additional assistance please contact us at 401-314-0329 or email

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did the governor declare a state of emergency? 

This declaration enables Rhode Island to access additional resources to respond to Covid-19. These resources include access to federal aid.

Why did municipalities declare a state of emergency?

This declaration allows for a more effective response to the evolving COVID-19 public health crisis by temporarily suspending purchasing policy rules to allow quick response and recovery action, as deemed necessary.

Why aren’t all businesses impacted equally by restrictions and closures?

Decisions are made based on the CDC guidelines for community mitigation. Actions are guided by local characteristics of disease transmission, demographics, and public health and healthcare system capacity.

How will the recently passed stimulus package help businesses?

Click here for a summary.

Restrictions & Closures Impacting Business

Business owners should contact the Department of Business Regulation at 401-462-9500 with any questions about restrictions and closures relating to their business.

Critical Business Determination Request

Submit your business to be evaluated as a critical business:

Close Contact Businesses 

(Including but not limited to spas, salons, and gyms)

Will close all in- person operations effective 5pm March 23rd.

Public Events

Rhode Island has restricted groups, meetings & gatherings of more than 5 people.

Recreation & Entertainment Facilities  

(Including but not limited to theaters, bowling alleys, sporting events)


Will close all in-person operations effective 5pm March 23rd. 

Nonessential Retail Businesses
Food & Drink Establishments

No on-premise consumption. Establishments with food licenses can offer pick-up, drive through, and delivery.

Large Retailers & Grocery

New capacity and cleaning  requirements must be implemented by 5:00pm on March 26. Click here for guidelines.

Health Care Facilities

Visitation policies may be in place. Check the health care provider or hospital website for information about visitation or other safety protocols.

Oral Health Care Providers

No non-essential or non-urgent dental care.

Schools & Child Care Facilities

Schools will remain closed. Some Child Care Facilities may reopen under new emergency regulations. Providers should contact the RI Department of Human Service for more information.

Business Resources

New Business Regulation 

Governor Raimondo signed an executive order, effective Saturday April 18th,  requiring employees in customer-facing businesses to wear a cloth covering their face. Although not required it is recommended that all workers wear cloth face covers. Businesses are also required to post signs requiring customers to wear face masks. The Department of Business Regulation will do spot checks to ensure businesses are complying. 


More information, updates, and executive orders can be found here:

Unemployment, Temporary Disability Insurance & Temporary Caregiver Insurance 
  • For COVID-19 related claims, DLT will waive the seven-day minimum amount of time that claimants must be out of work to qualify for TDI/TCI benefits. 

  • For individuals under quarantine, DLT will waive the required medical certification.

  • Gig workers, contract working, business owners, self employed and those who do are not typically eligible can now apply for unemployment benefits. 

  • The CARES Act $600 weekly unemployment compensation boost will be made available in the coming days and will be retroactive to the week ending 4.4.20. No need to reapply for this benefit.

Questions or Assistance: Call 401-462-2020 or email

Tax Filing & Payment Extension

The federal government is providing 90 additional days to pay income taxes due, up to $1 million in taxes owed. During this deferral period taxpayers will not be subject to interest and penalties.  

The tax deadline for paying taxes due has been extended from April 15th to July 15, 2020.

Utility Service Payment Extension

The RI Public Utilities Commission has directed all electric, gas, water, and wastewater utilities regulated by the Public Utilities Commission to cease certain collections activities, including service terminations for nonpayment. This moratorium extends to May 6 for residential and non-residential customer accounts.

Health Insurance: HealthSource RI Special Enrollment Period

A special enrollment period (SEP) is now available through April 30th  Use “COVID-19” as your reason for an SEP when filling out the online application. Call 1-855-840-4774  for help. 

Additionally, anyone who has lost their benefits due to unemployment has 60 days to enroll.

Child Care for Employees of Critical Businesses

In partnership with Governor Raimondo and the state of Rhode Island, is offering three months of free, premium access to Rhode Island residents. In addition. is enabling Rhode Island residents to provide needed child care for critical frontline workers. In many cases, these caregivers are willing to volunteer their time at reduced or no costs.

Rhode Island Child Care for Hospitals

The Boys And Girls Club, Greater Providence YMCA, Children’s Workshop, Children’s Friend and Learning Brook will offer on-site care for children of essential workers at some hospitals. 

The Boys & Girls Club of Newport has 40 child care spots available for critical care workers. Child care will be available from 8:30am-5:30pm. Click here to learn more.

Gift it Forward: Supporting Small Businesses

An online resource developed to make it easier for Rhode Islanders to support local small businesses.

The Gift it Forward site features: 

  •  Business registration: Small business owners can submit information on how Rhode Islanders can purchase gift cards from their business. 

  •  Community nominations: Nominate local businesses to be included in the gift card database. 

  •  Corporate giving: Larger companies interested in supporting small businesses can submit their contact information through the site and the Gift it Forward team will work to connect them with a business in need.

Free Tech Support

Connect Greater Newport is partnering with CommerceRI to provide free Tech Support to businesses. Greater Newport businesses can sign up by clicking below or reach out directly to Ashley Medeiros.

Rhode Island Superior Court Business Recovery Plan

The court will provide supervised protections for Rhode Island businesses so they can remain operational, access new working capital, and pay debts. Through the use of a non-liquidating receivership model the court will keep a business and its assets intact. The court will appoint a receiver to oversee the preparation of an operating plan for businesses in the program until new working capital can be established.


Microenterprise Stabilization Grant Program

The Rhode Island Office of Housing and Community Development in partnership with local municipalities has launched the microenterprise stabilization grant program. This program is designed to assist small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and left out of federal stimulus programs to-date. The program will provide grants of up to $5,000 to qualifying microenterprises. Funds may be used for working capital to cover business costs, such as rent, staffing, utilities.

SBA Disaster Loan

Rhode Island has been issued a disaster declaration from the Small Business Administration. This declaration enables the U.S. SBA to offer low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Disaster Loan FAQ can be found here.

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

Learn More
SBA Express Bridge Loans

Businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender can access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Honeycomb Crowdfunded Small Business Relief Loan

To help deliver the working capital that businesses need, Honeycomb is offering 45-day payment free periods, 6-month interest-only periods and reducing our posting, success, and investor fees.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance

Small business owners can apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available following a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.

Corporate Response

Many companies, banks, and organizations are offering free or reduced cost resources for businesses to adjust to new needs brought on by the pandemic. 

Platform to sell gift cards online

Gannett Media Company launched a nationwide effort to help communities support local small businesses. Users can select local businesses in their community to support by buying gift cards for use at a later time.

Cisco Webex

Offering free services and training to support remote workers across the globe.

Communications Companies

Multiple Communications companies are waiving late fees, signing the "Keep Americans Connected Pledge at the request of Federal Communications Commission.

National Grid

Suspending service disconnections and other "collections-related activities" through the end of April, after which the policy will be reevaluated.

Cox Communications

Cox is waiving late fees and suspending service termination for customers. Cox is also offering a $19.99 offer for new Starter internet customers with no annual contract or qualifications, as well as, expending the Connect2Compete program.


Offering 30 days of free self-storage at U-Haul-owned and operated facilities to help college students impacted by unforeseen schedule changes at their universities. The free month applies to new customers with college IDs and is a limited-time offer subject to availability.

CVS Health

Will waive charges for home delivery of prescription medications and waive co-pays for telemedicine visits for any reason for the next 90 days.


Temporarily suspending commission fees for impacted independent restaurants of up to $100 million.

Newport Daily News (Gannett Media company)

Offering free multimedia advertising packages to help local businesses.


Microsoft is providing six months of Office 365 tools for free to enable remote collaboration, file sharing and video conferencing.


All Room Alert users currently on Base or Personal tiers are being upgraded to the Professional tier at no cost.

Ford Motor

Offering customers potential delay of payments and also providing new-car buyers the chance to delay their first payment by 90 days.


Waiving late fees and suspending service termination.


Offering free live online classes for students ages 3-18 affected by public school shutdowns, conducted over video chat.


Offering assistance programs, available 24/7, to help with credit line increases and collection forbearance. Beginning March 9 and for “an initial 30 days” Citibank said it would waive monthly service fees and penalties for early CD withdrawal for regular and small business customers.

Boston Singers' Relief Fund

If you are facing a situation where you might have to sacrifice paying a bill(s) or borrow money due to the loss of singing wages, you may be eligible for BSRF funds. Any professional New England singer earning at least 15% of your income through singing.


Several banks listed in the link below are offering relief to customers affected by Coronavirus.


Reducing the minimum age for renting a car to 18 through May 31 "to make it easier for students to get home to their families" due to the suspension of college courses.


Providing unlimited data to all current customers who have plans with data for the next 60 days. It will also provide additional data to mobile hotspot users.


Providing video conferencing tools to K-12 schools for free.


Free business subscriptions for a three-month period to nonprofits and NGOs that are focused on fighting COVID-19.

Capital One

Providing assistance such as minimum payment assistance, deferred loan assistance, and fee suppressants to customers that face “financial difficulties”.

Best Practices

CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to prevent Covid-19

Recommendations to protect yourself and your employees.

H.R.6201 — 116th Congress (2019-2020) Families First Coronavirus Response Act

This bill responds to the coronavirus outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.

National Association of Realtors®

Coronavirus Guide for Realtors

National Restaurant Association

Coronavirus Information and Resources page

Society of Professional Journalists

Coronavirus (COVID-19) announcements, information and resources

Cleaning after Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Case

CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations

Keeping your Environments Safe

Recommendations for workplace, school, home, and commercial

National Council of Nonprofits

The Nonprofit Community Confronts the Coronavirus

National Retail Federation

Coronavirus Resources for Retailers

The Global Association for the Attractions Industry

IAAPA Member Resources for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Food & Hospitality: Rhode Island Hospitality Association

Food & Beverage Establishment restrictions and Closures Take out, pick up & delivery Guidelines Unemployment for food & hospitality employees

National Association for Homecare & Hospice

Coronavirus Resources for Home Care & Hospice

National Electrical Contractors Association

Coronavirus Resource Center


Guidance on Preparing Workplaces

World Tourism Organization

Tourism and Coronavirus Disease

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