PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation says applications are once again being accepted for its Restore RI Grant Program, which provides assistance to small businesses affected by the pandemic.
The link to the application went live at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
The program helps offset fixed costs incurred during the pandemic, or costs related to reopening or adapting to COVID-19 rules and regulations.
This time around, R.I. Commerce says not only is the application more streamlined, but the program is also open to more kinds of businesses.
Who is eligible?
- New: More businesses are now eligible, including sole proprietors and businesses without employees and businesses with up to 50 full-time employees
- New: Any eligible business with at least 30% revenue (sales) drop in a month between March and July 2020 (compared to the same month in 2019, January 2020, or February 2020) due to COVID-19
- Businesses must have a physical location in Rhode Island
According to Matt Sheaff, director of communications and stakeholder outreach for R.I. Commerce Corp., there is no cap on the number of employees for restaurants and caterers.
Restaurants are also encouraged to apply for grants made available through Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Take it Outside Campaign.
According to R.I. Commerce, if a business previously applied and was deemed ineligible (like a sole proprietor with no additional employees), they do not need to reapply.
Commerce staff started reaching out to those businesses over the weekend, according to Sheaff.
“We’ll just be making sure that all of the application is in order, if you’re missing one document here, or maybe you didn’t answer a question there before you were determined ineligible before, we’ll help you get that finished and through the process,” Sheaff told 12 News on Tuesday.
“We hope businesses, whether they applied before or they’re now newly eligible, we hope all businesses will give the program a fresh look,” he added.
In the seven weeks since the program began receiving applications, nearly 900 Rhode Island small businesses have already received Restore RI grants totaling approximately $8 million.
“While this money won’t solve all the problems that the pandemic has caused, we hope it’s a small step to covering some of the expenses that the businesses incurred,” Sheaff said.
Commerce is also holding Zoom office hours for those who might need one-on-one help.
- Wednesday, Sept. 23, 3 p.m. Register here »
- Thursday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m. Register here »
- Thursday, Sept. 24, 5:15 p.m. Register here »
Sheaff said a closing date for this round of applications has not yet been announced.