Thursday, May 28, 2020        

Letter to Town Residents & Businesses from the Town Manager – April 10, 2020

Dear Residents, Businesses, and Community Partners:

I hope you are healthy and safe. This has been a difficult time for everyone. Many of our neighbors are out of work, small businesses owners are trying to adapt, and we are separated from our friends and loved ones. Our community is here to help. If you or someone you know needs help, please contact our COVID-19 hotline at 949-4590 or the United Way 211 hotline. 

We wish our neighbors a blessed Passover and Easter holiday. We ask that everyone follow the Governor’s orders to not gather in groups of 5 or more. We remind synagogues and churches of all denominations that services cannot be held unless they are virtual. Our holiday celebrations will look different this year but we can still stay in touch and continue our acts of kindness by hosting a virtual celebration, calling an elderly family member, dropping off a meal, or checking on your neighbors. 

Please keep in mind the first responders and healthcare workers that are on the front lines fighting to keep our fellow Rhode Islanders alive and our community safe. Every time you put your own health at risk, you are putting their health at risk, as well. Thank you to our residents who are following these critical directives.

If you are feeling sick and exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, there are two ways to access free testing:

  • Call your healthcare provider (if you have one) to get an order for a COVID-19 test at one of the drive-up testing sites at URI in South Kingstown, at CCRI in Warwick, or at Rhode Island College in Providence (adults and children).
  • Go to the CVS website to be pre-screened for testing and to get an appointment (adult 18+ only). 

Governor Raimondo has extended many of her executive orders until May 8th including the following:

  • Stay at home, unless you are getting food, medicine, gas, or going to work.
  • Social gatherings are limited to 5 people or less.
  • Restaurants open for takeout and delivery only; this includes wine and beer.
  • Public entertainment, recreation and close contact businesses must remain closed to customers (online, delivery or curbside pickup can be established).
  • Domestic or international travel: people returning to R.I. for non-work purposes by any means of transportation must quarantine for 14 days.
  • Suspension of certain criteria of the Open Meetings Act (virtual/telephonic meetings allowed) for essential government operations.
  • Telehealth must be extended under health insurance policies.

Other updates from the Governor:

  • Rhode Islanders must keep a log of the people they have come in contact with every day.
    • This will assist the Dept. of Health to trace your contacts in the event that you contract COVID-19.
  • If you have been quarantined or are in isolation, you can access food delivery services through RI Delivers, com.
  • The time period for local background checks for gun permits is extended from 7 to 30 days.
  • The State House, casinos, state parks and beaches are closed indefinitely.
  • State offices will offer customer services online only.
  • Rhode Island courts are closed for non-essential business until May 17th.
  • The Department of Motor Vehicles has extended driver licenses, learner permits, ID’s, CLPs, CDLs, registrations, inspection stickers, and disability placards scheduled to expire in the months of March or April 2020 by 90 days. Additionally, they have suspended road tests but are continuing to offer other services online.
  • Visitors are prohibited at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and state prisons.

COVID-19 has affected all corners of our community in some way. There is assistance available for families, mental health needs, those unemployed, and businesses.

Individuals and Families

  • If you are unemployed or have been laid off, please contact the Department of Labor and Training. Their fact sheet will help guide you and answer your questions (English, Spanish).
  • The Federal CARES Act extended unemployment benefits for gig economy workers, small business owners, workers for hire, self-employed individuals and those who are otherwise ineligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits. Apply https://covidemergencyuibenefits.dlt.ri.go.
  • Utility shut-offs have been suspended until April 15th. Evictions have been suspended until May 17th.
  • Free “Grab and Go” meals are available for children throughout Rhode Island. Food site locations (Smithfield – Old County Road School – 200 Old County Road)
  • Rhode Island partnered with Care.com to increase childcare access. In addition to providing 90 days of free, premium access to their website, Care.com has created portals specifically for frontline workers and caregivers in R.I. – care.com/rineed.
  • For additional resources please visit: https://www.smithfieldri.com/emergency/.
  • BH Link: If you or a someone you love is going through a mental health or substance use crisis, there is help available: (401) 414-LINK (5465), https://www.bhlink.org/, Triage Center: 975 Waterman Ave., East Providence.
  • For mental health assistance for children under 18, please call (855) KID(543)-LINK(5465).
  • The United Way of Rhode Island 211 hotline is available 24 hours, 7 days a week to answer questions and connect you with the supports you may need.

Businesses and Non-Profits

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advances: Questions and Application
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program: Questions and Application
  • Short-term bridge loans for restaurants and microbusinesses: Rhode Island restaurants and small businesses are eligible (businesses must have 1 to 10 employees; restaurants may have any number of employees). Applications opened on Friday, April 3, through RILISC.org
  • Technology support for Rhode Island businesses is available through Commerce RI (Tech Support for RI Businesses).
  • Rhode Island Small Business Hotline: (401) 521-HELP.
  • Rhode Island nonprofit organizations at the forefront of COVID-19 response can apply for grants from the Rhode Island Foundation/United Way.
  • Rhode Island Superior Court business protection program is available for those that may have defaulted on their debts during this time.
  • State and federal personal and business corporation tax filings have been extended until July 15th.

Municipal Services

As a reminder, our Town staff are also here to help. The Smithfield Town Hall and all other municipal buildings are closed to public traffic until further notice.  All departments are currently operating and all staff will be available by phone, email, or drop box located in the front of Town Hall.

Voting

As a reminder, Rhode Island’s Presidential Primary has been moved to June 2nd, and voting will be done through mail ballot. The Secretary of State’s Office will be sending mail ballots to voters. To make sure your information and address is up-to-date, visit: https://vote.sos.ri.gov/Voter/UpdateYourVoterRecord

Please visit the R.I. Department of Health website for factual up-to-date information or call (401) 222-8022.

Thank you again for your support and cooperation. Stay safe and be well.

 

Sincerely,

Randy R. Rossi
Town Manager