Covid-19 Resources

  • Serology Testing for High-Contact Professions:
    • To participate you must:
      • Be currently working as a first responder (police, fire, or emergency medical services), Rhode Island National Guard member, RIDOH employee, correctional facility worker, or a hospital and nursing home staff member in Rhode Island. (Employee ID will be required to participate).
      • Not have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test within the last two weeks, and
      • Have a valid mobile phone number or email address to receive test results.
      • To schedule a test, visit FirstSeroSurveyRI.com. For more information about this serology testing effort, people can see the Frequently Asked Questions document that RIDOH has developed, or they can call Quest Diagnostics at 833-670-0253. Quest Diagnostics is the laboratory that will be analyzing the samples collected.
  • Transportation to Testing Sites
    • Constituents seeking transportation assistance to testing sites can contact the following services: MTM has support in place to transport those enrolled in Medicaid and people who qualify for the Elderly Transportation Program. Eligible individuals call: 1-855-330-9131 (TTY: 711) *This service is only available if no other transportation options are available.
    • Rhode Island now offers asymptomatic testing by appointment at four Stop & Shop locations for eligible Rhode Islanders who do not have coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms. Walk-up and drive-up testing will be provided by Alert EMS in the parking lots of these stores:
    • Cranston: 275 Warwick Ave.Pawtucket: 368-398 Cottage St.Providence: 850 Manton Ave.Providence: 333 W. River St.
    • Eligible Rhode Islanders can schedule a next-day asymptomatic test by visiting portal.ri.gov, or calling 401-222-8022 Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. and 2-1-1 on Saturday, Sunday, and after hours.

Note: The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.

The Department of State encourages all U.S. citizens traveling overseas to immediately enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) via step.state.gov to receive important and timely updates from the local U.S. Embassy.

Constituents with a COVID-19 virus related emergency overseas can contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate or call the Department of State’s 24/7 assistance call center at 1-888-407-4747 (within the U.S. or Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from overseas). 

  • Rhode Island Department of Health
    • For the latest updates regarding COVID-19, click here.
    • Long-term care and assisted living facilities will be allowed to welcome visitors as of July 8th, provided that they abide by strict infection control measures to keep residents, staff, and family members safe such as: https://health.ri.gov/publications/guidance/Basic-Visitation-Plan-for-NH-ALR.pdf
      • Visits will be limited to only those essential to the resident’s physical and emotional well-being and care.
      • All visits must be scheduled in advance. Visits will be allowed for 30-minute increments. 
      • Facilities must actively screen everyone for fever and symptoms of COVID-19 before they enter.
      • Facilities must keep a daily log with names and contact information for all visitors.
      • Outdoor visits are preferred. If a visit must occur inside the facility, the visit shall be restricted to the resident’s room or other area specifically designated for visits. If a resident’s room is used for visitation, only one visitor per resident at a time is allowed in the resident’s room.  
      • Regardless of the location of the visit, visitors must maintain a six-foot distance from staff and residents.
      • All visitors must wear a cloth face covering.
      • All visitors shall perform hand hygiene upon entry to the facility or to the outside visitation area or before entering the resident’s room.
  • Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training 
    • For facts about the workplace and unemployment benefits, please click here. 
    • Contact DLT.COVID19@dlt.ri.gov or 401-462-2020 for workplace-related inquiries.
    • RI Department of Labor and Training has streamlined Unemployment Benefits and Temporary Disability Insurance applications for those out of work due to COVID-19. Click here to apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI).
    • If you are a Rhode Island gig economy worker, contract worker, small business owner, worker for hire, self-employed, or other individual ineligible for regular unemployment insurance, who is out of work because of COVID-19, click here to apply for COVID-19 Emergency Unemployment Insurance benefits.
    • If you believe you have been a victim of unemployment fraud, please email dlt.investigations@dlt.ri.gov
    • Employment: Jobseekers should click here to find jobs as well as other important resources including information on unemployment insurance, résumé tips, and other COVID-19 updates.
    • Back to Work RI connects Rhode Islanders with job opportunities in vibrant sectors across the state, and provides the resources and training you need to pursue those opportunities. It is a public-private partnership designed to train, support, and hire thousands of Rhode Islanders for good jobs with a pathway to a career. Click here to learn more.
    • Behavioral Health Resources
      • If you or someone you know is experiencing a behavioral health care crisis, contact BH link for 24/7 call-in service at 401-414-LINK (5465) or click here for more information. People can also go to BH Link’s drop-in center in-person to get connected to support at 975 Waterman Avenue in East Providence.
      • People with moderate to severe opioid use disorder (OUD) can access telehealth service for initiation of buprenorphine treatment at 401-606-5456.
      • Fire stations in Providence, Newport, and Woonsocket are “Safe Stations.” This means that they are open every day to help people in crisis get connected to a peer recovery support specialist and treatment and recovery support services.
      • More information about drug overdose prevention is available at preventoverdoseri.org. This includes information about naloxone (sometimes called Narcan). This is a medicine that can reverse an opioid overdose. In Rhode Island, you can get naloxone at your local pharmacy without a prescription from a doctor. When you buy naloxone at a pharmacy, the pharmacist can show you how to use it. 
    • RI Delivers
      • RI Delivers is Rhode Island’s connection to help for those living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. This service will ensure that Rhode Islanders in quarantine will have what they need to safely remain home and monitor their symptoms. Connections to groceries, home supplies, restaurants, and mutual aid groups are featured here. For additional information, residents can call 2-1-1 or the Point at 401-462-4444.
    • Rhode Island Commerce Corporation 
      • If your business has questions regarding SBA loans and access to capital, please call the Small Business Hotline during business hours at (401) 521-HELP or e-mail info@commerceri.com anytime.
      • En Español
    • Rhode Island Department of Human Services 
      • For general information on SNAP, RI Works, Child Care Assistance, EBT Cards, General Public Assistance, RIte Care, and other agency programs, click here or call 1-855-MY-RIDHS (1-855-697-4347) from 8:30am – 4:00pm, Monday through Friday.
      • The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recently granted Rhode Island the authority to issue Pandemic-EBT benefits (P-EBT) to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and non-SNAP households with one or more children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced price meals at school due to COVID-19 school closures. For households receiving SNAP benefits, the additional benefits will be added to their existing EBT cards. Households not currently receiving SNAP benefits will receive a new P-EBT card in the mail with benefits automatically added and a personal identification number (PIN) and setup instructions. If you still didn’t receive the P-EBT benefit, call the DHS Call Center at 1- 855-MY-RIDHS.
      • Starting June 10th, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants will be able to select and pay for their groceries online using their EBT card at Amazon and participating Walmart stores. Households can purchase the same food online that they would normally purchase in the store at Walmart. Rhode Island Works cash recipients will also be able to use their benefits to make food or other purchases at Walmart.
      • DHS also recently received approval to issue a Rhode Island Works emergency payment to families currently receiving these RI Works benefits. This payment is to help offset expenses that may have occurred during this pandemic. The $1.6M through the CARES Act will help 3,700 Rhode Island Works families and is a one-time payment for families who were eligible in either April or May and are receiving benefits in June. The funds will be put on parents’ EBT cards on June 19th.
    • Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles 
      • For information regarding updates, licenses, IDs, registration services and reservations, click here.
      • RI Division of Motor Vehicles is currently open by reservation only. Reservations are available for the Cranston, Woonsocket, Middletown, and Wakefield offices.
      • To make a reservation for DMV services, click here
      • The DMV is temporarily waiving the requirement for a VIN check on out of state titles to be conducted by your local police station. The VIN will be electronically verified at the time of titling.
      • The DMV will be extending driver licenses, learner permits, ID's, CLPs, CDLs, registrations, inspection stickers, and disability placards scheduled to expire in the months of June, July 2020 by 90 days. Click here to learn more.
    • Rhode Island Secretary of State 
      • For updates regarding Secretary of State operations, click here.
      • Business Services Division
      • Customers are encouraged to use the new Business Services website to register their business, file annual reports, update information and obtain letters of good standing.
      • Business Services staff will be available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to assist customers over the phone at (401) 222-3040 or via email at corporations@sos.ri.gov.
      • Temporary Remote Online Notarization (RON) is effective until the termination of the state of emergency. Remote Online Notarization is the process by which documents are notarized in an electronic form where the signer and notary public are not physically in each other’s presence but can communicate simultaneously using secure audio-video technology. Learn more here.
    • Board of Elections
      • The Elections Division will offer limited in-person service by appointment only. Elections staff are still available to assist the public by phone at (401) 222-2340 and email (elections@sos.ri.gov)
        • Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General - Consumer Protection Team: 
          • Rhode Islanders who suspect price gouging or COVID-19 scams should contact the Attorney General’s Office. Price gouging is illegal in Rhode Island. Businesses are prohibited from increasing the price of any essential commodity to an "unconscionably high price" immediately before or during a declared state of emergency. 
          • Contact the Consumer Protection Team here or at 401-274-4400.
          • Effective immediately, the RIAG is prioritizing background checks as follows:
            • Healthcare providers, such as nurses and long-term care/assisted living facility workers
            • Individuals requiring background checks for housing
            • First responders
            • Individuals with urgent circumstances who need a background check for employment purposes. 
            • Contact BCI first in order to make an appointment at 401-274-4400, prompt 2.
          • All others, including those seeking background checks for volunteer positions that require a background check, are asked to postpone their visit to the AG Customer Service Center until the state of emergency has been lifted.
          • Applications/renewals for License to carry concealed weapon permits will continue to be accepted by mail only. Applications will be processed, however, permit cards will not be available for pickup at this time. A temporary paper permit will be mailed for use until normal BCI operations resume.
          • Background checks for firearm sales are conducted by local police departments and the Rhode Island State Police. The timeline for background checks has been extended to 30 days by executive order due to the COVID-19 emergency.
          • Attorney General Peter Neronha issued guidance reminding creditors, debt collectors and financial institutions that stimulus payments resulting from the federal government's Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act are exempt from seizure or garnishment by debt collectors.
        • Rhode Island Veterans Home:
          • The Rhode Island Veterans Home has resumed limited visitation. All visits must be scheduled at least 24-hours in advance, be held outdoors (weather permitting), and adhere to standard social distancing practices.  Family and friends of veterans may feel free to reach out to the Rhode Island Veterans Home front desk (401.253.8000), seven days a week, between the hours of 6:00 am and 9:00 pm to set up a one hour visit.
          • At this time, new admissions to the Rhode Island Veterans Home remain on hold until conditions related to COVID-19 improve. Once it is safe to do so, wait-list admissions will resume in the order received. 
        • RI Havens
          • RI Havens is Rhode Islanders’ connection to local establishments offering discounted lodging rates to frontline workers and others who may need a place to stay during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more. 
          • Food Services
            • Due to the closure of schools, free "Grab and Go" meals are available for school children throughout Rhode Island. All of these sites are operating on the same basis, which is that anyone aged 18 or under who shows up gets a free meal.  There are no ID or residency requirements, but the child must be present; schools cannot give a meal to an adult on behalf of a child.
          • Providence VA Medical Center
            • The Providence VA Medical Center and its associated clinics are fully functional and continuing to provide Veterans with health care. Patients have been directed to utilize the medical center’s main entrance for screening prior to entry. Veterans experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 have been advised to call a 401-457-3336 before visiting a VA medical center or a community clinic. 
          • VA Providence Regional Benefits Office
            • The VA Providence Regional Benefits Office is suspending VA benefits services at the VA community clinics. This will not affect health care and mental health operations.
            • Walk-in VA benefits services will continue at both the VA Regional Office (380 Westminster St.) and the VA Medical Center (830 Chalkstone Ave.)
          • Rhode Island Department of Education
            • For statewide information about school closures, please refer to the RIDE website.
            • 2020 Summer Learning Opportunities
              • The State of Rhode Island is committed to providing our children with the opportunity to experience creativity, exploration, learning, and friendship this summer. RIDE along with DHS seeks to offer both in-person programming and distance learning opportunities for Rhode Island students enrolled in grades Pre-K thru 12 with priority for students in Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence, and Woonsocket. Click here to learn more or email: summer@ride.ri.gov.
            • The Governor’s Workforce Board: COVID-19 Response Summer Jobs Program
              • Are you a business, nonprofit, school, or municipality who needs help this summer with work related to the COVID-19 response and recovery? Apply now to the COVID-19 Response Summer Jobs Program and receive funding for wages and program costs to hire youth employees (16-24 years of age).  
              • Basic requirements of the program:
                • Job opportunities must be related to the state’s efforts to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic; examples are listed in the online application.
                • Selected applicant organizations will be required to manage their own recruitment, selection, supervision, and payment of youth employees, either themselves or through a partner organization. 
                • Youth employees must be 16-24 inclusive; can work between July 6 and August 23 and 20-40 hours per week depending on organization needs; and must be paid at least minimum wage ($10.50/hour).
                • The RI Governor's Workforce Board will fund youth wages and reasonable program implementation costs.
                • Applications will be reviewed and selected on a rolling basis.
                • Email pauline.abetti@dlt.ri.gov for any questions. 
            • Back2SchoolRI is RIDE’s new website dedicated to all things related to a safe reopening of schools this fall. Click here to learn more about school reopening.
          • Employ RI
            • Rhode Island Division of Information Technology
              • For businesses, municipalities, K-12 and other entities, Microsoft is providing six months of Office 365 tools for free to enable remote collaboration, file sharing and video conferencing. Click here.
            • Office of Healthy Aging
              • Senior centers and other congregate meal sites are offering boxed meals that are being delivered by staff and/or volunteers, or being offered as grab-and-go options.  The local senior center in each municipality is acting as the coordinating site for these meals within their city/town. A list resources for older adults can be found here
              • Cases of elder abuse, exploitation, and self-neglect can be reported 24/7 to 401-462-0555
              • Case management and wellness checks will be conducted telephonically. Referrals to case management can be made through the Point at 401-462-4444
              • The Office of Healthy Aging has created Project HELLO, a volunteer based effort that connects isolated older adults who are in need of socialization to friendly volunteers via the telephone. Volunteers are not only providing phone-based wellness checks, but also a sense of community. If you are an older adult who would like to receive a Project HELLO call, please call the POINT at: 462-4444. If you are interested in volunteering for Project HELLO, click here.
              • Age-Friendly RI created a statewide Virtual Community Center (VCC), a place where older Rhode Islanders can go whenever in-person experiences aren’t possible. Older Rhode Islanders of all ages, interests and abilities can join the VCC at www.agefriendlyri.org for a full daily schedule of free activities to keep bodies healthy, minds sharp and spirits high – fitness, dance, yoga and mindfulness classes; performances, movies and card games; trips and tours; cooking and gardening demonstrations; college classes; info sessions on financial wellness and health topics; live tech help and much more.  
              • Rhode Island’s Medicaid Division, in partnership with the Office of Healthy Aging, is making $100,000 in grants available to Rhode Island nursing homes that have residents in need of communicative technology – such as tablets, webcams, headphones and other accessories. Eligible facilities can request up to $3,000 to procure smart devices that help residents combat social isolation and access preventative care by connecting virtually with others. For more information about the CMP grant program or to apply, visit www.eohhs.ri.gov. Applications will be accepted through August 7, 2020.
            • Office of Library & Information Services
              • Although schools and public libraries across Rhode Island are closed, there are many opportunities to access free learning and recreational resources through Rhode Island's libraries.
              • Click here for resources for all ages!
            • Rhode Island Judiciary & Courts
              • Beginning June 1, 2020, non-emergency in-person hearings which cannot be conducted remotely will be scheduled by the courts.
                • The McGrath Judicial Complex (Washington County) and the Murray Judicial Complex (Newport County) will remain closed until September 1.
                • The courts are making technological accommodations to make remote hearings accessible to the public.
                • For more information, click here.
              • Rhode Island Superior Court Business Recovery Plan: The court will provide supervised protections for Rhode Island businesses so they can remain operational, access new working capital, and pay debts. For more information, click here.
              • For Bankruptcy Court operations, click here.
              • For RI Supreme Court Miscellaneous Order related to special/rules requirements relative to bar admissions, click here.
            • Evictions
              • Public housing residents with questions can contact Rhode Island Legal Services at 274.2652 x123. Tenants in private rental housing can call the Rhode Island Center for Justice at 401-491-1101.
            • Child and Elder Care
              • Updated guidance for child care programs can be found here.  
              • Care.com is providing Rhode Island residents three months of free, premium access to their site in support of Frontline workers at this difficult time here.
              • You can also sign up here to volunteer for frontline workers by providing child or elder care: 
            • Rhode Island Student Loan Authority 
              • For assistance with non-federal student loans, contact RISLA about relief applications, click here.
            • RI DEM
              • DEM is spearheading an initiative to support RI's commercial fishing and seafood industry during the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis by helping connect consumers with retailers of local seafood. See more information here.
              • DEM issued the following guidance for operation of marinas, boat yards, yacht clubs, and harbor masters during the COVID crisis:
                • All marinas and boatyards must prepare and implement a COVID-19 Control Plan in accordance with the RIDOH emergency regulations, which can be found here. The State prepared a guidance document to assist businesses in meeting the requirements outlined in these RIDOH regulations. 

                  • Marinas and boatyards must comply with RIDOH regulations and active executive orders

                  • Security: Marinas, boatyards and yacht clubs should remain secure so that admittance can be monitored by owners/operators.

                  • Screening: All employees and patrons should be screened prior to entry to the facility for any symptoms of COVID-19. A screening tool is available, in English and Spanish, to aid with proper screening at https://health.ri.gov/covid/for/business/.

                  • Physical distancing: Patrons and staff, whenever possible, should maintain six (6) feet of physical distance between themselves and others who are not part of their household, in accordance with current RIDOH and reopeningri.com guidance.

                  • Group Size: Group size should be limited in accordance with the most current executive orders. Patrons should not congregate on the docks, parking lots, common areas, or near other customer boats on land. Customers should go from vehicle directly to boat and back.

                  • Face Covering: All persons (employees, patrons, or visitors) are required to wear face coverings when in areas where congregating is common in accordance with RIDOH regulations and Executive Order 20-30 or when unable to easily, continuously, and measurably maintain at least six (6) feet of distance from others. Face coverings are not required in outdoor settings for people who can easily and continuously maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other people. Signs are available at https://commerceri.com/masks/

                  • Cleaning Procedures: A cleaning schedule must be implemented addressing the frequent cleaning of high touch areas or equipment and regular cleaning in accordance with RIDOH regulations and CDC guidelines. Signage must be provided to alert users of last official cleaning and encourage users to clean surfaces before and after use. 

                  • Hand cleaning: All persons must have access to soap and water and/or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol at all times.

                  • Food & Beverage Sales: All food and beverage sales should follow the most recent Executive Orders, regulations, and/or guidance related to restaurants.

                  • Retail Sales: All retail sales should follow the most recent Executive orders, regulations, and/or guidance related to retail stores.  

                  • Communication:  Signage regarding physical distancing, the use of face coverings, and other COVID-19 guidance should be posted advising employees and patrons of the same including postings on boat ramps. 

              • Boating during COVID-19 Boaters are urged to follow these safety rules to protect themselves and others:
                • Stay close to home. Travel to and from the access site without making other stops.
                • Boat only with people in your immediate household.
                • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others at all times and keep your distance on the water by not tying up to other boats or beaching your boat near other boaters.
                • Fuel up and plan ahead by packing hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and disposable gloves. When fueling, wash your hands as you would when fueling a car. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
                • When launching and loading your boat, give people ahead of you plenty of time and space to finish launching or loading before you approach.
                • Do not enter the marina office unless you have an appointment.
                • While on the water, find a secluded spot away from others to relax.
                • Call ahead to your destination to make sure it is open and accepting visitors.
                • When returning, be prepared to dock or trailer with your own crew and avoid assistance.
                • Keep distance at dock. Dispose of trash according to marina rules and guidelines.
                • If you are sick or exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, stay home and self-isolate for 14 days.
            • Information for Survivors of Domestic Violence
              • For information to support victims and survivors, click here.
              • The Victims of Crime Helpline is available 24/7 at 1-800-494-8100
              • Safe at Home: The Rhode Island State Police launched Safe at Home in concert with leading community organizations to raise awareness of the threat of increased violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Safe at Home is focused on connecting with those who may be facing violence at home and providing all Rhode Islanders with resources to identify and help those at-risk.
            • Department of Children, Youth and Families
              • Family Care Community Partnerships (FCCPs) are the Department of Children, Youth and Families’ primary prevention resource for the state. FCCPs partner with families and communities to raise healthy children in a safe, caring environment. The Department recognizes that all families struggle and need supports they can turn to from time to time. These supports range from basic needs to bridging family rifts with the overarching goal of increasing the overall well-being of families. FCCP agencies, which are part of DCYF's network of prevention-focused providers, brings community-based services to children and families to build a stronger, brighter futures. For more information, or to contact your local FCCP, please click here. 
              • Kids Link RI 
                • This free hotline connects parents and caregivers to children’s services in Rhode Island, and helps parents determine the best place to go for treatment and counseling. Call 1-855-543-5465 to be connected.

              • IRS
                • The federal tax filing deadline is delayed from April 15 to July 15.  See more information here.
                • Taxpayer Advocate Services remains open to receive phone calls at the local phone numbers but has suspended walk-in services until further notice.
                  • Phone: (401) 528-1921 Fax: 855-807-9697
                • PPS line is open, but extremely limited, 7am to 7pm local time  (Alaska and Hawaii follow Pacific time)
                • e-Services Help Desk line is open 6:30am – 6:30pm Central Time
                • FIRE and AIR system help desks have reopened.
                • The IRS is experiencing delays with Income Verification Express Services as well as processing CAF number authorizations. 
                • Practitioners with e-Services accounts and with client authorization can access the Transcript Delivery System to obtain prior-year transcripts. Taxpayers should use Where’s My Refund? and Get Transcript.
                • On Friday March 20, the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. More information, here
                • On Wednesday, March 25, the IRS unveiled a new People First Initiative to assist taxpayers by providing relief on a variety of issues ranging from easing payment guidelines to postponing compliance actions. See more
                • On Monday, March 30, the IRS will begin temporarily accepting images of signatures (scanned or photographed) and digital signatures on documents related to the determination or collection of tax liability.  In addition, the IRS is allowing IRS employees to accept documents via email and to transmit documents to taxpayers using SecureZip or other established secured messaging systems.
                • On March 31, 2020, the IRS announced Employee Retention Credits are available for many businesses financially impacted by COVID-19. See more here.
                • On April 3, 2020, the IRS is warning taxpayers to be alert about possible scams relating to COVID-19 economic impact payments.
                • On April 15, 2020, the IRS launched the “Get My Payment” Web App for Americans to submit direct deposit information and track economic impact payments. Visit the “Get My Payment” App here.
                • Americans who did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 can click here to submit basic personal information to quickly and securely receive their Economic Impact Payments. 
                • Economic Impact Payment FAQs
                • “Get My Payment” FAQs
                • Economic Impact Payment Issued but Lost, Stolen, Destroyed or Not Received? Request a Payment Trace (See Q56)
              • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
                • USCIS is preparing to resume public services at it’s field offices, asylum offices and Application Support Centers (ACSs) on June 4.Please call the Contact Center for assistance with emergency services here or at (800) 375-5283.
                • As services begin to reopen, offices will reduce the number of appointments and interviews to ensure social distancing, allow time for cleaning and reduce waiting room occupancy. Appointment notices will contain information on safety precautions that visitors to USCIS facilities must follow.
                • USCIS asylum offices will automatically reschedule asylum interviews that were cancelled during the temporary closures. When USCIS reschedules the interview, asylum applicants will receive a new interview notice with the new time, date and location for the interview and information about safety precautions.
                • USCIS will send notices to applicants to reschedule postponed naturalization ceremonies.
                • USCIS will send notices to applicants and petitioners with previously scheduled appointments and interviews. 
                • For the latest information on the status of individual offices, check the office closures page.
                • USCIS announced that any testing, treatment, or services relating to COVID-19 will NOT be used against immigrants in their public charge evaluation. Learn more here.
                • Until further notice, USCIS has announced it will no longer be accepting I-907 Premium Processing Application requests, which ask for faster processing, for I-129 and I-140 petitions.  USCIS will notify the public with a confirmed date for resuming premium processing and reject and return the $1,440 filing fee for all petitions requesting premium processing that were mailed before March 20 but not yet accepted.
                • More information on current processing times can be found here.
                • USCIS is extending the response due date by 60 days for any requests for evidence (RFE) and notices of intent to deny (NOID)s received between March 1 and May 1. 
                  • For applicants and petitioners who receive an RFE or NOID dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020, any responses submitted within 60 calendar days after the response deadline set forth in the RFE or NOID will be considered by USCIS before any action is taken.
                • As of May 6, 2020 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that U.S. service members and veterans can now file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, online. USCIS offers a toll-free military help line, 877-CIS-4MIL (877-247-4645, TTY: 800-877-8339) and e-mail address at militaryinfo@uscis.dhs.gov exclusively for current members of the military and their families, as well as veterans.
                • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a regulatory change to provide greater flexibility in the processing of initial employment authorization documents (commonly called EADs) for asylum applicants by removing the burdensome and agency-imposed 30-day time frame. The final rule becomes effective on Aug. 21.
              • U.S. Department of State 
                • H-2 Visas and COVID-19:Consular officers can waive the visa interview requirement for first-time and returning H-2 applicants who have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility.   This expansion also increases the period in which returning workers may qualify for an interview waiver. Applicants whose previous visas expired in the last 48 months, and who did not require a waiver of ineligibility the last time they applied, do not need to be interviewed in-person if they are applying for the same visa classification as their previous visa.
                • Passport Agencies throughout the nation are working with limited staff and processing life/death applications with travel within 72 hours only. Should you need these services, please call the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) at 877-487-2778.  
                • Passport's COVID-19 Update
                • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Passports During COVID-19
              • Providence VA Medical Center
                • The Providence VAMC is operational. We are calling Veterans to help determine if their appointments are best seen in person or virtually. If you have a specific question about your appointment, a list of clinic phone numbers can be found here
                • If you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, please call 401-457-3336 before coming to the Providence VA Medical Center (VAMC) or one of their clinics, or send a secure message with My HelatheVet.
                • As a precaution, we are screening everyone at the medical center’s main entrance for symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, and other CDC evaluation criteria, such as recent travel or exposure to someone confirmed to have COVID-19. Additional instructions and evaluation will be provided for those who need it. Facemasks are now being provided to everyone entering the medical center.
                • The Pharmacy is now only using the mail-order system for prescription refill requests. Emergency prescriptions, including post-surgical, emergency department and discharge medication will still be provided on location by the Pharmacy. For other medications and supplies, Veterans should request refills and renewals by:
                  • Calling the Pharmacy Call Center at 866-400-1241
                  • Mailing in refill slips
                  • Requesting through My HealtheVet
                • DAV van service has been temporarily suspended. Providence VA shuttle services to the VA Hyannis Clinic, VA Boston and Eagle Square are suspended for the time being, as well. 
                  • Please contact the Travel Office with questions at (401) 273-7100 ext. 3550 or call the applicable clinic to discuss alternative care-delivery options
                • For more VA Related Questions, click here.
                • Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is offering $250 grants to veterans left unemployed by coronavirus pandemic, click here for details.  
              • VA Providence Regional Benefits Office
                • The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Regional Offices will be closed to the public starting March 19. Regional offices will remain open, but will no longer accept walk-ins for claims assistance, scheduled appointments, counseling and other in-person services.
                  Veterans with claims specific or other questions may call toll-free 1 (800) 827-1000, Monday through Friday, 8:00AM-9:00PM ET or
                • Contact the VA through the Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS).
              • Social Security Administration
                • All local Social Security offices will be closed to the public for in-person service, but still able to provide critical services.
                • You can speak with a  representative by calling your local Social Security office or the National 800 Number: 1-800-772-1213.  
                • Although SSA offices are not providing service for walk-in visitors, they may be able to schedule an appointment for limited, critical issues if they cannot help someone by phone and if they cannot get the information they need or conduct their business online. Online services are also available for you to:
                  • Apply for Retirement, Disability, and Medicare benefits,
                  • Check the status of an application or appeal,
                  • Request a replacement Social Security card (in most areas)
                  • Print a benefit verification letter
                • On April 1, 2020, the Department of Treasury announced  Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an economic impact payment.  The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 to generate $1,200 economic impact payments to Social Security beneficiaries who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019.
                  • Treasury, not Social Security, will make automatic payments to Social Security beneficiaries.  Beneficiaries will receive these payments by direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their Social Security benefits.
                  • Economic Impact Payments for Social Security and SSI Recipients – Steps to Take and Schedule of Payments
                    • SSI recipients who did not file a 2019 or 2018 tax return and who have a child must use the IRS' Non Filer: Enter Payment Info tool by May 5 to receive $500 economic impact payments now for their children.
                  • Social Security Retirement Benefits Portal
                • FEMA
                  • You can visit FEMA’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response page for more updates on the federal response.
                  • Stay informed with FEMA’s  updated myth vs. facts related to the federal (COVID-19) response.
                  • FEMA Extends Grace Period for Flood Insurance Renewal Premiums: National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) customers who may be experiencing financial hardships, the agency is extending the grace period to renew flood insurance policies from 30 to 120 days.
                  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 
                    • OSHA published an alert listing safety tips employers can follow to help protect retail workers from exposure to coronavirus. Safety measures employers can implement to protect employees working in pharmacies, supermarkets, big box stores and other retail establishments include:
                      • Routinely cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and equipment with Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus
                      • Using a drive-through window or offering curbside pick-up
                      • Recommending that workers wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus
                      • Practicing sensible social distancing, which could include opening only every other cash register, temporarily moving workstations to create more distance and installing plexiglass partitions between workstations
                  • U.S. Census Bureau
                    • Some Area Census Offices (ACO) are re-opening in a phased approach. To see the status of current operations, click here.
                    • The final date to respond to the 2020 Census has been extended to October, 31, 2020.
                    • You can still complete the Census online.
                  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
                    • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions until August 31, 2020.
                    • On March 18, 2020, HUD announced immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April.
                  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
                    • Rhode Island has been approved to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), a new program authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA), which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures.
                    • The State of Rhode Island will be the second state to operate Pandemic EBT, a supplemental food purchasing benefit to current SNAP participants and as a new EBT benefit to other eligible households to offset the cost of meals that would have otherwise been consumed at school.
                  • U.S. Department of Labor
                    • U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published additional implementation guidance pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
                    • Fact Sheet for Employees
                    • Questions and Answers 
                    • Click here to determine your paid sick leave or extended family and medical leave eligibility pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This online resource guides workers through a series of questions designed to determine the FFCRA’s applicability to their employer.
                  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
                    • April 22, 2020: U.S. Customs and Border Protection will extend the temporary closure of Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers until at least July 6, 2020.
                  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
                    • Medicare has further temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services — allowing doctors and clinicians to perform dozens more additional services via telehealth.
                    • Other expanded services due to the COVID-19 emergency include: 
                      • Lab tests for COVID-19. You pay no out-of-pocket costs. 
                      • All medically necessary hospitalizations. This includes if you're diagnosed with COVID-19 and need to stay in the hospital under quarantine instead of being discharged from the hospital after an inpatient stay.
                      • Learn more about COVID-19 and your Medicare coverage here. 
                  • U.S. Small Business Administration
                    • Additional materials for small businesses are below under Small Business Resources
                    • Paycheck Protection Program
                      • The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Click here to learn more.
                      • Applications are now being accepted for the Paycheck Protection Program. Please contact one of the SBA approved lenders or your bank/credit union, and let them know that you want to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program.
                  • Food Services
                    • Free "Grab and Go" meals are available for school children throughout Rhode Island.  All of these sites are operating on the same basis, which is that anyone aged 18 or under who shows up gets a free meal.  There are no ID or residency requirements, but the child must be present; schools cannot give a meal to an adult on behalf of a child.
                    • To find the Summer Food Service Site closest to you, call the RI United Way 2-1-1 hotline; just dial 2-1-1 on your phone
                  • Commerce RI
                    • If businesses have questions regarding access to capital and other lending options, please call the RI Commerce Small Business Hotline at (401) 521-HELP or e-mail info@commerceri.com.
                  • Unemployment Insurance
                    • Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training filed an emergency regulation to waive the waiting period for COVID-related Unemployment Insurance claims. If employees are laid off from their position due to COVID-19 (i.e., temporary business closure/other circumstances where they are not self-quarantined but are out of work), they may be eligible to apply for UI. 
                    • If you are laid off from your position due to COVID-19 (i.e., temporary business closure/other circumstances where you are not self-quarantined but are out of work), you may be eligible to apply for UI. Click here to apply for UI.
                    • If you are a Rhode Island gig economy worker, contract worker, small business owner, worker for hire, self-employed, or other individual ineligible for regular unemployment insurance, who is out of work because of COVID-19, click here to apply for COVID-19 Emergency Unemployment Insurance benefits.
                  • U.S. Small Business Administration
                    • For information on the SBA resources, click here on our COVID-19 Stimulus Bill FAQ tab. 
                    • The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Click here to learn more.
                    • Applications are now being accepted for the Paycheck Protection Program. Please contact one of the SBA approved lenders or your bank/credit union, and let them know that you want to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program.
                    • The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 
                    • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
                    • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
                    • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
                    • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible. 
                    • To apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, click here. 
                    • For questions or to check on your application status, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
                    • For FAQs regarding the SBA's Disaster Loan Program, click here. 
                    • The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, is providing this guidance to assist businesses in calculating their payroll costs for purposes of determining the amount of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan businesses can apply for. Click here to calculate your maximum loan amount. 
                  • Gift it Forward
                    • Gift it Forward is an online resource aimed at helping Rhode Island small businesses make it through the COVID-19 pandemic. To purchase a gift card or support a local small business, click here
                  • Microenterprise Stabilization Grant Program
                    • Rhode Island’s microenterprise stabilization grant program is designed to assist small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 and left out of federal stimulus programs to-date. The program will provide grants of up to $5,000 to qualifying microenterprises. Funds may be used for working capital to cover business costs, such as rent, staffing, utilities. Click here to learn more. 
                  • Restore RI
                    • Restore RI is a new program to help small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Grants will be available for up to $15,000 for eligible Rhode Island businesses impacted by COVID-19. Grant amounts will be calculated based on the number of employees and the degree of revenue loss. Click here to learn more.
                    • As a requirement of the CARES Act, grant recipients are required to have a DUNS number. A DUNS number is a unique nine-character number used to identify your organization. The federal government uses the DUNS number to track how federal money is allocated.  If you do not already have a DUNS number you can obtain one online free of charge. For more information on the DUNS number and how to apply for one, please go here.  Please note that receiving a DUNS number may take up to 2 days.
                    • Get a DUNS Number
                  • Understanding Rhode Island and Federal Paid Leave and Unemployment Insurance via the Economic Progress Institute 
                  • Reopening
                    • For needed supplies: Contact the Commerce hotline at 401-521-HELP
                    • For sector specific questions about Phase 3 reopening: Contact the Department of Business Regulation DBR at 401-462-9500 or click here. 
                    • For questions regarding reopening plans for businesses contact: covidplan@reopeningri.com
                  • Masks and Supplies for Small Businesses
                    • Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees that are open or are reopening — including retailers, grocery stores, manufacturers, restaurants and service-based businesses — are able to access a month’s supply of product through these organizations. Local chambers of commerce or industry associations will distribute the supplies starting May 18th. Click here to learn more.

                  Food

                  • Grocery Stores offering shopping hours for At-Risk populations 
                    • Aldis: 8:30 a.m. (Tuesday & Thursday)
                    • Clements Market: 7-8 a.m.
                    • Brigido’s Fresh Markets 7-10 a.m.
                    • Dave’s Markets (large locations): 7-8 a.m.
                    • Dave’s Markets (small locations): 8-9 a.m.
                    • Dollar General: 6-7:30 a.m.
                    • Jerry’s Market: 7-8 a.m.
                    • Ma & Pa’s in Hope Valley: Curbside Service
                    • Richmond Farms Fresh Market: 7:30-8 a.m.
                    • Roch’s Fresh Foods: Curbside Service
                    • Save-A-Lot: 8-9 a.m.
                    • Seabra: 6-7 a.m.
                    • Shaws: 7-9 a.m. (Tuesday & Thursday)
                    • Stop & Shop: 6-7:30 a.m.
                    • Target: 8-9 a.m. (Tuesday & Wednesday)
                    • Walmart: 6-7 a.m. (Tuesday)
                    • Whole Foods: 8-9 a.m.

                  Renters & Homeowners

                  • For Mortgage and housing assistance during the coronavirus national emergency, click here.
                  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. On March 18, 2020, HUD is providing immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions until August 31, 2020. Click here for more information.
                  • To help homeowners who are in COVID-19 related forbearance, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) are making available a new payment deferral option. The payment deferral option allows borrowers, who are able to return to making their normal monthly mortgage payment, the ability to repay their missed payments at the time the home is sold, refinanced, or at maturity.
                  • On April 24, 2020, the State of Rhode Island announced that financial institutions have committed to offering the following relief to homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic:
                    • 90-Day Grace Period for All Residential Mortgage Payments
                    • No Negative Credit Impacts Resulting from Relief
                    • Moratorium on Initiating Foreclosure Sales or Evictions
                    • No Fees or Charges
                    • For more details, click here. 
                    • CFPB released resources for consumers to understand issues that may arise as a result of COVID-19, including information on how to protect their finances and how to submit complaints.
                          • Evictions
                            • Public housing residents with questions can contact Rhode Island Legal Services at 274.2652 x123. Tenants in private rental housing can call the Rhode Island Center for Justice at 401-491-1101.
                          • Rental Assistance
                            • $1.5M in emergency rental assistance is available to low-income renters who've been impacted by the COVID-19 emergency and are at immediate risk of homelessness. You can click here to view requirements and apply. 
                          • Safe Harbor Program
                            • If you, or your tenant, is behind on rent due to COVID-19, contact United Way. Safe Harbor is an eviction diversion initiative designed to help Rhode Island landlords and tenants resolve disputes over late or unpaid rent without having to go through the traditional court process.

                          Utilities

                          • RI Public Utilities Commission
                            • The Public Utilities Commission has extended the moratorium on service terminations for nonpayment for customers National Grid customers enrolled in the electric or gas low income rate through November 1, 2020, the start of the winter moratorium. The effect is to protect these customers from service termination due to nonpayment until April 15, 2021. The moratorium for all other National Grid residential customers has been extended to September 30, 2020. The moratorium for all other regulated utilities will expire on Friday, July 17, 2020.
                            • If the provider is unable to help, customers should call the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers at 401-780-9700
                          • National Grid
                            • National Grid is temporarily suspending collections-related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic may have on our customers. These policies will remain in effect in alignment with the respective executive orders issued in RI. We will evaluate their continued need at that time. Please note that regular billing will continue for all customers.
                            • Providence Water
                              • Providence Water’s Customer Service Center is open for in-person service Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM.
                          • Keep America Connected Pledge 
                            • On March 13, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai called for broadband and telephone service providers to take pledge to promote connectivity for Americans affected by disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  The Keep Americans Connected Pledge calls for providers to do the following for the next 60 days: 
                              • not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
                              • waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
                              • open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.
                          • AT&T, Cox Communications, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon have all signed the pledge. 

                          Health Care

                          • CVS Pharmacy/Minute Clinic:
                            • On March 9, 2020, CVS Health announced additional COVID-19 resources to increase patient access to medications.
                            • CVS Pharmacy will waive charges for home delivery of prescription medications, which will help patients avoid visiting their local CVS Pharmacy for refills or new prescriptions.
                            • Aetna will offer 90-day maintenance medication prescriptions for insured and Medicare members.
                            • CVS Caremark is working with all PBM clients to waive early refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications.
                            • If you suspect you may have COVID-19, telemedicine services such as MinuteClinic Video Visits are an effective option for screening. MinuteClinic Video Visits enable patients to talk with a health care provider and have a basic screening to determine their risk for COVID-19, without having to come into a clinic. 
                            • On March 25, CVS Health announced it is waiving cost-sharing and co-pays for in-patient hospital admissions related to COVID-19 for Aetna’s commercially insured members. This is one of several steps to help members access the care they need during the pandemic.
                            • April 6, 2020: Rhode Island has partnered with CVS Health to make free, rapid COVID-19 tests available to Rhode Islanders. Click here to learn more.
                          • Walgreens Pharmacy:
                            • To make online shopping even easier, there will be free delivery on any purchase on Walgreens.com beginning tomorrow and until further notice, with no minimum purchase required.
                            • March 30, 2020: Walgreens is now offering select products at its more than 7,300 pharmacy drive-thrus nationwide. The offering provides greater convenience while also helping to promote social distancing, and is another way Walgreens is helping to support patients and customers during this time.
                            • More than 60 front-end products are currently available for purchase at drive-thru, including household essentials chosen specifically to support the needs of customers and communities during the pandemic.
                            • Walgreens stores nationwide have resumed standard operating hours

                          Rhode Island will receive stimulus funding through a number of federal programs.  The following is a list of funding estimates for those programs based off of the Senate's recently passed stimulus package.

                          • State Stabilization Fund:  $1.25 billion for Rhode Island
                          • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG): $9.8 million for Rhode Island, including $646,417 for Cranston, $448,348 for East Providence, $1 million for Pawtucket, $3.1 million for Providence, $575,033 for Warwick, $785,912 for Woonsocket, and $3.2 million for other cities and towns
                          • Child Care Development Block Grant: $8.1 million
                          • CDC Coronavirus State, Local, and Tribal Grants Minimum Awards: $5.4 million
                          • Community Service Block Grant (CSBG): $5.5 million
                          • Election Assistance: $3 million
                          • Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants: $4 million
                          • HUD Emergency Solutions Grants: $4.9 million for Rhode Island, including $549,000 for Pawtucket, $1.5 million for Providence, $399,000 for Woonsocket, $2.4 million for other cities and towns
                          • Federal Transit Administration Grants: $105 million
                          • Housing Opportunities for Persons With Aids (HOPWA): $177,466
                          • Indian Housing Block Grant: $117,000
                          • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): $4.8 million
                          • Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP): $227,500
                          • National Endowment of the Arts: $424,000
                          • National Endowment of the Humanities: $418,000