In Response to COVID-19 (Updated 10/14/2020)
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.”
Reopening your business
Find information about your business sector to learn more about reopening, and what you must do to follow all required protocols and guidance here.
The City of Providence allows businesses to apply for a no-cost, expedited permit for outdoor seating. Outdoor dining is permitted outside of a principal restaurant provided the outdoor seating shall be located on the same lot or adjacent to the principal restaurant.
Businesses who would like to expand beyond their same lot or adjacent to their establishment are encouraged to apply for a free temporary license here, that is subject to approval from the Licensing Department in conjunction with Traffic Engineering and Public Safety Officials.
Financial Assistance and Tax Information
Loans and Grants Available:
Providence Business Loan Fund
The Providence Business Loan Fund (PBLF) provides access to capital for eligible small businesses and immediate relief for existing borrowers. PBLF offers 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
The Providence Revolving Fund Commercial Corridor Micro-Business Loan
This program offers loans from $500-$5,000 to make renovations/alterations needed for the safe reopening of businesses. Eligible businesses include service, retail, and manufacturing companies that employ fewer than ten full-time employees, earn less than $250,000.00 annually, and are located on or near the pilot commercial corridors. You can download a copy of the application here.
Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) Rhode Island, together with the City of Providence, is offering working capital grants to qualifying small business microenterprises adversely impacted by COVID-19. The grant program will support low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs and business owners in Providence.
This one-time microenterprise grant program is intended to assist small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and left out of federal stimulus programs. Up to $10,000 will go to qualified low-moderate income businesses for working capital and business expenses such as rent, staffing, utilities, and retail location modifications. LISC Rhode Island will conduct the fully independent verification and application process.
An informational session to address frequently asked questions will be hosted on Thursday, October 22 at 5 PM. Apply here: http://rilisc.org/microenterprise-grants-pvd/
Restore RI is targeted to assist small businesses severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For any additional questions about the Restore RI program or application, please contact the RI Commerce Small Business Team by clicking here.
Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance Loans
If your business or not-for-profit 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. EIDL proceeds can be used to cover a wide array of working capital and normal operating expenses, such as continuation to health care benefits, rent, utilities, and fixed debt payments. Apply Here: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
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 and virtual business advising to small businesses. To register to receive information on advising please contact (401) 874-7232 or submit a request for counseling.
Local Initiatives Support Corporation(LISC)Small Business Grants
LISC is offering grants to small business owners for paying rent and utilities, meeting payroll, paying outstanding debt and other operational costs. The fund awards grants of up to $20,000 and target entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically under-served places where access to flexible, affordable capital is not always possible. Nonprofits are ineligible for this round of funding.LISC is offering grants to small business owners for paying rent and utilities, meeting payroll, paying outstanding debt or other operational costs. The next round of funding will be available on August 31st. Find more information on their website.
Providence Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber hosts free virtual events to provide local business resources with information and resources. See the calendar of upcoming events here.
Rhode Island Hospitality Association COVID-19 Resources
The Rhode Island Hospitality Association has put together a site focused on the industry that includes resources such as best practices for safe dining experiences, free reopening supplies, and reopening guidance. Learn more here.
Virtual Venture Cafe Providence
The Venture Cafe hosts weekly webinars for small business owners and entrepreneurs. In addition, Venture Cafe Provides office hours with industry experts, online networking, events and support services. See the calendar of upcoming events here.
For additional tips for keeping your business safe and minimizing losses during COVID-19 visit the Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants website.
Affected businesses with specific questions on Unemployment Insurance, Paid Sick and Safe Leave, or other work-related programs should contact the Department of Labor and Training by emailing or calling (401) 462-2020. Residents seeking employment can learn more about who is hiring in their communities by visiting EmployRI.org.
Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston
To better serve the public during the public health crisis, Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston, a partner of the American Job Center network, has launched an online appointment portal dedicated to connecting job-seekers to employment opportunities and resources. New job-seekers or employers can make a program intake appointment to review job training services. Existing clients can also schedule an appointment to meet with their counselor here.
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.
Employers may be able to avoid layoffs by choosing the WorkShare alternative. Previously in a temporary layoff situation, employers who hoped to reemploy their workers ran the risk of losing those skilled workers to other business opportunities. The WorkShare program allows employers to retain their skilled workers during times of slowdown by simply reducing the work hours of a larger group of employees. Employees whose hours and wages are reduced would be eligible to receive a portion of their regular unemployment insurance benefits to compensate for the lost wages.More information about the Workshare Program can be found 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 can be found here. .. 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
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