In Response to COVID-19
Mayor Elorza has declared a State of Emergency in Providence, Rhode Island. The health and safety of residents, visitors and businesses is the top priority. The City has created this resource guide to serve as a centralized resource for employers, employees and businesses to help ensure they have access to the resources they need in response to the challenging business climate created by COVID-19. To suggest an addition, email with the subject line, “PVD Biz One-Pager.”
What Businesses Can Stay Open?
- Food and beverage stores (e.g., supermarkets, liquor, specialty food, and convenience stores, farmers’ markets, food banks and pantries)
- Pharmacies and medical supply stores
- Compassion centers
- Pet supply stores
- Printing shops
- Mail and delivery stores and operations
- Gas stations
- Electronics and telecommunications stores
- Office supply
- Industrial and agricultural/seafood equipment and supply stores
- Hardware stores
- Funeral homes
- Auto repair and supply
- Banks and credit unions
- Firearms stores
- Health care and public safety professional uniform stores
- And other stores and businesses identified as critical by the Department of Business Regulation. For more information visit the Department of Business Regulation critical businesses list.
Per Governor Raimondo and Mayor Elorza’s State of Emergency Executive Orders, food establishments, bars and nightclubs are prohibited from offering dine-in services. Currently, they are only permitted to offer delivery, drive-thru and pick up services. Businesses that are found in violation of these restrictions will be issued emergency closure letters and will remain closed until further notice.
Financial Assistance and Tax Information
Providence Business Loan Fund
The Providence Business Loan Fund (PBLF) has created temporary modifications to provide access to capital for eligible small businesses and immediate relief for existing borrowers. PBLF will offer microloans to provide working capital to support business-related expenses. New loan recipients will also receive capped closing costs, zero interest for up to 12 months, and deferred loan payments for 6-12 months. PBLF is ALSO suspending the accrual of interest and fees on the loans to all current borrowers in April. Pre-Applications are available online via here. For more information, contact Tom Hoagland at .
Small Business Administration (SBA) Assistance Loans
If your business or not-for-profit has suffered substantial economic injury in a declared disaster area, you may be eligible to apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan. These loans generally offer up to $2 million in assistance to businesses experiencing temporary loss of revenue. Apply through the SBA portal.
- Do you have additional questions before filling out an application? Find answers to frequently asked questions here.
- Do you need help preparing your loan application?
The Center for Women & Enterprise is hosting free live webinars weekly to assist small business owners in filling out their applications and answering questions that they may have. For more information on an upcoming session, contact or visit their website.
- The Rhode Island Small Business Development Center is offering free webinars advising to small businesses. To register to receive information on advising please contact (401) 874-7232 or submit a request for counseling.
LISC Verizon Small Business Grants
LISC is offering grants to small business owners for paying rent and utilities, meeting payroll, paying outstanding debt or other operational costs. Apply today on their website.
Did you know there are ways to avoid laying off workers? The Rhode Island Paycheck Protection program lets you take out a loan to cover 8 weeks of payroll, rent and utilities. This includes the cost of rehiring laid off staff. After 8 weeks the loan is forgiven. For more information please call the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center at (401) 874-7232.
City Tax Deadlines
The City will accept all non-escrowed and current-taxpayer fourth quarter tax payments until June 30th without 4th quarter interest or penalty. All residents who are able are encouraged to pay their taxes via mail or online. This applies to residential and commercial real estate, personal property tangible and motor vehicle taxes.
Federal Tax Deadlines
The IRS has announced tax deadline changes for 2019 federal tax submissions and business tax payments available here. The deadlines to file and pay federal income taxes are extended to July 15, 2020.
State Tax Deadlines
The Rhode Island and Providence Division of Taxation will mirror the federal extension and has extended collections to July 15, 2020. Sales taxes already collected are still due. The Rhode Island Division of Taxation understands the difficulty that many businesses, including small businesses and retailers, are facing during this unprecedented crisis. Under Taxpayer Rights and Responsibilities regulation, you can request that penalties be abated. Visit the Rhode Island Division of Taxation COVID-19 page.
For additional tips for keeping your business safe and minimizing losses during COVID-19, visit the Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants website.
Supports for Employees
Free Tools to Work Remotely
Learn about technology companies that are helping small businesses by enabling remote work like video conferencing, conference calls, signing agreements and contracts online and more.
The Open for Business Hub lists technology companies that are helping small businesses by enabling remote work throughout this period.
Rhode Island-based small businesses are eligible for 6 months of free Microsoft 365. get applications like Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook.
If you are in need of general tech support such as setting up work from home technology, online meetings, e-commerce, remote working security or document management you can book online coaching sessions Monday through Friday from 1 to 5 pm.
Need help figuring out how to sell products or do business online?
If you have questions about transforming your brick and mortar business to have more of an online presence, call CommerceRI’s Small Business Hotline at (401) 521-HELP or e-mail
Employees who have reduced hours or have been laid off due to COVID-19 can file an Unemployment Insurance Claim through the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training. All applications are done online. Please be sure the information you are putting into the application is correct and double-check important information such as social security numbers, date of birth and addresses. Apply here.
Temporary Disability Insurance
Employees who are unable to work due to having been exposed to COVID-19 may file a Temporary Disability Insurance Claim form for short-term partial wage replacement payments. Caring for Others: Those employees who are staying home to care for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 can file for a Caregiver Insurance claim which provides partial replacement benefit placements.
Loss of medical coverage
Employees who had insurance coverage through their employer and have been laid off are eligible to maintain their insurance through HealthSource RI. The application for medical insurance is now available through April 15th. Please use “COVID-19” as your reason for an “SEP” when you are filling out the online application. Please call 1-855-840-4774 for help.
For additional assistance, please use the PVD311 mobile app or call 3-1-1 to connect to City Departments and services. Learn more at www.pvdcovid19.com
City of Providence
Director of Business and Development
Small Business Director
Confidential Assistant to Michael Solomon
Director of Providence Business Loan Fund
MBE/WBE Outreach Director
Key state/Federal Contacts Partners
Rhode Island Division of Business Regulation
Rhode Island Division of Taxation
(401) 574-8935 (Corporate)/ (401) 574-8700 (Employer)
Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
Rhode Island Internal Revenue Service
Rhode Island Small Business Administration