CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The Cranston City Council will hold a special meeting Thursday night to take up a resolution that would ask the state to help struggling small businesses.
The resolution calls on Gov. Gina Raimondo and the R.I. General Assembly to “adjust public health guidelines and executive orders that are harming Rhode Island’s small business community.”
Specifically, councilors want the state “to act without delay to allow small businesses to resume their normal operating hours.”
In early November, Raimondo ordered businesses, such as restaurants, bars, personal services, gyms, and recreational facilities, to end service by 10 p.m. (10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays) as part of a statewide stay-at-home advisory.
At the time, Raimondo argued state inspectors discovered people were letting their guard down frequently the later they were out in public. The restrictions remained in effect during the state’s three-week “pause,” and are still in effect now.
The resolution argues the restrictions were supposed to be temporary, and have “caused significant and, in some cases. irreparable harm to restaurants, bars, social clubs, stores, vendors, indoor recreational facilities, and other small businesses.”
Cranston City Council President Chris Paplauskas told 12 News last week he hopes the resolution sends a message to the state the continued restrictions will cause businesses to close.
“This resolution is a small touch to let everybody know that one, we’re listening, and two, we are here to help,” Paplauskas explained. “The small businesses across the state have complied every step of the way, and this ‘pause’ has really turned into something more permanent.”
Cranston City Council is special meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday via Zoom, with the resolution being the only item on the agenda.
Providence City Council is also holding a regular virtual meeting at 5:30 p.m. to discuss a similar resolution.