PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Nearly 900 have already benefited, but more businesses in Rhode Island are set to receive grants to help make up for revenue loss due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The expanded Restore RI grant program launches Sept. 22, according to Rhode Island Commerce. Gov. Gina Raimondo had indicated an expansion was in the works at a state briefing last week.
More businesses will be eligible for grants, including sole proprietors, businesses without employees and businesses with up to 50 full-time employees.
Furthermore, any eligible business can apply if they lost at least 30% of revenue in any month from March to July.
Businesses that were previously deemed ineligible don’t need to put in a new application, but need to contact the Commerce agency to reactivate their previous application.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the small business community hard and our team is working day and night in order to support more and more small businesses,” R.I. Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said.
The small business grants that have already gone out total about $8 million, according to R.I. Commerce’s Matt Sheaff, ranging from $1,500 to $15,000.
Still, 16 restaurants and eateries said last week they would have to close for good because of the pandemic — some, because they couldn’t accommodate outdoor dining, others because of capacity or the cost of COVID-19-related equipment.