513 Broadway

Newport, RI 02840

​​Tel: 401-314-0329

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© 2019 by Connect Greater Newport


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.

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 10 people.

Recreation & Entertainment Facilities  

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


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

Food & Drink Establishments

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

Nursing Homes

No visitors.

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

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.

Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program
  • 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.


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

Unemployment, Temporary Disability Insurance & Temporary Caregiver Insurance 

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.

Tax Filing & 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 4/15/20 for residential customers and to 3/31/20 for non-residential customer accounts.

Utility Service Payment Extension

A special enrollment period (SEP) is now available through April 15th. Use “COVID-19” as your reason for an SEP when filling out the online application. Call 1-855-840-4774  for help.

Health Insurance: HealthSource RI Special Enrollment Period

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.

Child Care for Employees of Critical Businesses

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. 

Rhode Island Child Care for Hospitals

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.

Gift it Forward: Supporting Small Businesses

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. 

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.

Platform to sell gift cards online

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

Cisco Webex

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

Communications Companies

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

National Grid

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.

Cox Communications

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.


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

CVS Health

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


Offering free multimedia advertising packages to help local businesses.

Newport Daily News (Gannett Media company)

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.


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

Ford Motor

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.


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.

Boston Singers' Relief Fund

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.


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

Capital One

Best Practices

Recommendations to protect yourself and your employees.

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

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.

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

CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations

Cleaning after Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Case

Recommendations for workplace, school, home, and commercial

Keeping your Environments Safe

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

Food & Hospitality: Rhode Island Hospitality Association

Guidance on Preparing Workplaces