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Welcome to Issue 3 of the City's Community Newsletter concerning the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have any questions, or suggestions for future editions, please email us at 
Don't forget! This week marks Earth Week on Aquidneck Island and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! 
To mark this year's event, the Aquidneck Island Earth Week Committee has put together a week-long community celebration to take place from April 18th through 25th. In alignment with Rhode Island’s stay-at-home order, all activities will be based on things that individuals and families can do online, at home or in their backyards. The public is invited to participate in a variety of family-friendly programs that support environmental stewardship, awareness, and sustainability. Dates and times will be announced on the Aquidneck Island Earth Week website here:

(Photo: John Street in early bloom)

Here's the latest on the City's Response to the COVID-19 outbreak

Once again, we would like to say thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this incredibly difficult time.It's been a busy week around town and we're happy to report that we're continuing to build upon our response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Here's a recap: 
  • If you have questions about food assistance, concerns about social distancing practices, or would like information about a specific COVID-19 questions, the City's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is  fielding non-emergency phone calls Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. at (401) 845-5501. Alternatively, you can email us at 
  • Cloth face masks are now required to be worn in the workplace and at customer-facing businesses . The Governor’s Executive Order 20-24 also requires businesses to take steps to require customers to wear face coverings, including the posting of that requirement at the entrance of the business and any other steps recommended by the Department of Business Regulation. 
  • We hosted our third Drive Through/Walk Up community food distribution at the Pell School on Wednesday. If you or a loved one is in need of food assistance, we've compiled a list of local food resources on our COVID-19 website here. We're also happy to report that a new mobile food pantry stop is being added to Bayside Village courtesy of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center beginning on Thursday, April 23rd.
  • Meanwhile, volunteers once again delivered over 1,400 frozen meals to at-risk residents across Aquidneck Island through our partnership with Meals on Wheels and the Aquidneck Island Emergency Volunteer Alliance. We can't even begin to express our gratitude to these tireless community partners. If you or a loved one may benefit from this program, please email  
  • There's still time to enter the Newport Police Department Children's Art Contest! All Newport kids 16 years or younger are invited to submit drawings, paintings and sidewalk chalk projects that illustrate the summer activities they are most looking forward to. We've received some truly inspiring entries already and are working with some incredibly generous local businesses for prizes! So if you're looking for something to do with the kids this weekend, please take a picture of your child's artwork and email it to Lt. April Amaral at, or send it via Facebook message to @NewportRIPolice
  • Have you opened our Community Toolkit yet? It was among the first resources we developed to help spread the word about the coronavirus and we're continuing to update it with downloadable and shareable  graphics for you to keep informed and spread the word to your friends and neighbors. 
  • City Councilors hosted their weekly COVID-19 update on Wednesday, April 15th and will be meeting again this week on Tuesday, April 21st at 4:30 p.m., and Wednesday, April 22nd at 6:30 p.m. Be sure to check our events calendar on the City’s website for time and call-in information. 
  • As a reminder, access to certain parks and beaches  around town, including Easton's Beach, Braga Park, and the Cliff Walk remains limited as restrictions were put in place on Friday, April 3rd in order to discourage crowds. And while we hope that you do get some exercise by taking walks or riding your bikes, we're asking that you do so closer to home. City staff and police will be monitoring for gatherings of five (5) people or more and will be reminding people of the expectations set forth in the Governor's Stay at Home order. 
  • While Newport continues to prepare for a surge in cases, as of Saturday, a total of 22 people have tested positive in the City since the outbreak began last month. If you feel as though you may be exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19, please contact your primary care physician or dial the RI Department of Health hotline at 401-222-8022, Monday -Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. If you'd like to schedule a rapid COVID-19 test, please visit to schedule an appointment at the State's central rapid testing site at Twin River Casino in Lincoln. 

Have you signed up for our Emergency Alerts?

Over the last two weeks, Newport's Emergency Management team has been sending automated messages to both at-risk residents as well as the general public. Make sure you're signed up and we'll make sure you're informed of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak. 
Sign Up here for E-Alerts

Staying Informed with Health Data

We've added State health data to the City's website

You've probably been hearing a lot over the last few days about the Rhode Island Department of Health's updated COVID-19 data sets. In case you haven't seen them yet, we've embedded them directly onto the City's dedicated COVID-19 website, which can be found at

This real-time data portal is updated daily by State health officials and is referenced throughout Gov. Gina Raimondo's daily press briefing. To access the latest data about Newport, be sure to scroll down to the town-by-town reports. And don't miss the official State modeling projection found just below!
With 1,200,000 daffodils now in full bloom, Bike Newport, in partnership with Daffodillion, is encouraging Newporters to take a self-guided tour of the City's daffodils. The large fields of daffodils which can be found across the City from Easton's Beach to Ballard Park and Ocean Drive, are the result of a nearly decade long campaign to plant bulbs donated to the City by the Newport Daffodil Project and planted by City crews.The full route for this year's self-guided "Tour de Jonquilles" can be found at

Just remember the following ground rules:·
  • No groups of five or more.
  • Keep your distance from others on bikes or otherwise, at least 6 feet.
  • Stay aware of the numbers (people, not flowers). If others begin crowding an area, move on.
  • Always wear a face mask when biking or walking anywhere near others.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Don’t pick the flowers.


Have you taken the 2020 Census yet?

Newporters have been responding to the 2020 Census, but we've still got a ways to go to make sure that Newport Counts in 2020. Census data is used to help determine how billions in financial support is allocated for scores of projects and initiatives, from road repairs to healthcare. 

Please take a few minutes to visit and find out how you can help make sure #NewportCounts
Mental Health & Social Service Resources
The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence and all of its member agencies are open, as are domestic violence shelters. Rhode Islanders seeking help can call the 24/7 confidential hotline at 1-800-494-8100. Services are provided in English and in Spanish. While courts are closed for non-essential business including evictions, they are open for all domestic violence matters.

If you'd like to speak to someone about accessing mental health resources, BH Link is available seven days a week.  
  • Adults seeking mental or behavioral health support should call BH Link at 414-LINK(5465). MORE
  • For services for children, call Kids Link 855-543-5465
Construction Updates
We're making progress on some exciting construction projects around town

As the temperature rises, several infrastructure improvement projects are also getting underway around town.  

Beginning this week, the the Department  of Utilities is beginning the design for the rehabilitation of the City’s brick storm drain that stretches from West Marlborough Street to Gladys Carr Bolhouse Road. Due to the location of the storm drain, the proposed structural rehabilitation will utilize trenchless technologies to minimize the need for excavation. On Monday, crews are due to get started with a CCTV inspection and cleaning that's expected to take about five days to complete. Newport Police will be providing traffic control while work is underway.

In the Kay Catherine neighborhood, sidewalk construction has begun on Gibbs Avenue, where we're installing a new ADA-accessible sidewalk that will stretch from Memorial Boulevard to Old Beach Road. 
In Historic Hill, Division Street road construction is continuing with sidewalks reconstruction  ongoing.

And in The Point, work to repair the Storer Park Seawall is advancing at a steady clip, with a new concrete parapet (or top wall) being poured this week. Once complete, the park will boast vastly improved public access to the water, a new grassy sitting area along the existing concrete pier, and a significantly improved coastal barrier.  

More information on the City's ongoing construction projects can be found at

Here's the Latest from the
R.I. Department of Health

Updated 04/19/20


Face Coverings

    • The Governor signed an executive order clarifying the state’s directives around cloth face coverings. Beginning Saturday: 
    • All employees of customer-facing businesses, office-based businesses, manufacturers and nonprofits, must wear cloth face coverings when they are at work.
    • Business must provide face coverings for their employees. Face coverings can include scarves, bandanas, and other homemade and non-factory-made masks.
    • Additionally, all customer-facing businesses must take steps to remind customers to wear face coverings. That means they should be putting up signs at the door reminding customers to wear a face covering inside. Signs for businesses are available to download and print. (English) (Spanish)
    • The only exceptions from these rules are for anyone whose health would be in jeopardy because of wearing a face covering or any children under 2 years old.
    • CDC video on making a face covering. VIDEO
  • Stay At Home: The Governor has extended the stay-at-home order until May 8th. This means that all Rhode Islanders should stay home unless getting food, medicine, gas, or going to work.
  • Gatherings: All gatherings of more than 5 people are banned. Individuals should be interacting with the same people every day to minimize the risk of spread. This order does not apply to healthcare workers in a workplace setting, public transportation or office buildings. However, people must practice social distancing at all times.
  • Travelers: Starting immediately, any person coming to Rhode Island by any mode of transportation after visiting another state for a non-work-related purpose must self-quarantine for 14 days. This restriction will not apply to public health, public safety or healthcare workers. MORE ON SELF-QUARANTINE
  • Commuters: Those who are able to work from home should do so, and anyone commuting in and out of the state for work should remain in their home when not at work.MORE ON SELF-QUARANTINE
  • Retail Businesses: All non-critical retail businesses were to close as of March 30, 2020 and the Department of Business Regulation is providing a list of critical and non-critical retail businesses.

Behavioral Health

  • Adults seeking mental or behavioral health support should call BH Link at 414-LINK(5465). MORE
  • For services for children, call Kids Link 855-543-5465. MORE
  • People with moderate to severe opioid use disorder (OUD) can access telehealth service for initiation of buprenorphine treatment 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call Rhode Island’s Buprenorphine Hotline 401-606-5456.

Commerce/Business Information

  • Retail Businesses: All non-critical retail businesses were to close as of March 30, 2020 and the Department of Business Regulation is providing a list of critical and non-critical retail businesses. All recreation and entertainment facilities as well as close-contact businesses are closed. This includes theaters, cinemas, sporting events, bowling alleys, gyms, fitness centers, hair salons and barbershops, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors.
  • Business guidelines during the COVID-19 crisis: While the State of Rhode Island is working to keep as many businesses open as possible, we are asking businesses operate within strict paramters to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and for non-critical retail, entertainment and other close-contact businesses to close. For ideas how to minimize in-person interactions in order to continue operating safely, see our COVID-19 BUSINESS CHECKLIST .
  • Food Establishments: Through May 8th, there will be no on-site food consumption for restaurants, bars, coffee shops, or other food establishments in Rhode Island. (Establishments with a food license can continue to conduct pick-up, drive-thru and delivery only.)
  • Small business support: Help is available for businesses. Visit the RI Commerce website for information on programs and resources that are currenly avaiable or call 521-HELP (521-4357) to get started.
  • Business Recovery Plan: The Rhode Island Superior Court is rolling out a new program to assist businesses that have been significantly disrupted by this virus. This program will give qualifying businesses vital protection so that they can get back on their feet after this crisis is over. MORE
  • Tech Support During COVID-19: MORE

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

  • Rhode Islanders will have a 90-day extension on expirations for March or April. This goes beyond the original 30-day extension announced weeks ago and will apply to all licenses, registrations, inspections, permits, and temporary plates.
  • The DMV is open by appointment only.
  • MORE

Employment Related Issues

  • The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training has set up a COVID-19 Assistance Line and email address (401-462-2020; They are intended to provide support to people regarding COVID-19 and employment issues. The phone line is staffed Monday to Friday during business hours. FACTSHEET

Grief Support

  • The pandemic has led to a series of losses, from our sense of safety to our social connections to our financial security. Many people are reckoning with individual losses, including illness and death due to the novel coronavirus, or loss of employment as a result of economic upheaval. Grief counseling points to ways we can heal. MORE

Health Insurance Information

  • Medicaid: Rhode Island Medicaid will be suspending all terminations and quarterly income verifications for the duration of this emergency. 
  • A special enrollment period for Rhode Islanders without health insurance is now available through April 30th, 2020 to qualified individuals who are uninsured. Visit to enroll, or call customer support or use our web chat function between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday – Friday at 1-855-840-4774. For anyone who is concerned that they need to be tested for coronavirus -- or anyone who is seeking care because of coronavirus exposure -- coverage will start retroactively.
  • A special enrollment period for job loss or loss of health coverage. You may also qualify to sign up for coverage through HealthSource RI if you have lost your employer sponsored coverage due to job loss, or if you have experienced another qualifying life-changing event. You must sign up within 60 days of your qualifying life event. LEARN MORE 

Healthcare Facilities, Nursing Homes, Assisted Living

  • Nursing home administrators have been directed to not allow any visitors (unless they are essential to the care of a resident). Additionally, nursing home administrators have been directed to continue actively screening staff, vendors, and all other people who enter facilities for illness and COVID-19 risks (for example, travel history or exposure to someone under investigation for COVID-19).
  • Oak Hill Center in Pawtucket has signed a contract with the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) to serve as a COVID-19 Specialty Nursing Home. As of April 15, Oak Hill Center will only be accepting new patients who are known or suspected of being COVID-19 positive or who have COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Current residents who do not have COVID-19 symptoms will be relocated to a separate unit within Oak Hill Center with other symptom-free patients. All residents will continue to be very closely monitored for any COVID-19 symptoms and very aggressive infection control measures will remain the standard. In addition, staff who are caring for COVID-19 negative patients will not be working on units with COVID-19 positive patients.
    • Serving as a COVID-19 Specialty Nursing Home is a critical public health need right now. It assures all patients receive the level of care they need, and Oak Hill Center can be supported as a skilled nursing facility that will specialize in care of patients with COVID-19.
  • Check hospital websites for visitation restrictions.

Resources for Undocumented Immigrants

  • Get healthcare: The following places provide access to healthcare regardless of immigration status. These places may ask about your status, but only to help determine your eligibility for coverage, and must keep this information confidential.
    • Community Health Centers: Call 401-274-1771 or see the Rhode Island Health Center Association website to find a health center near you (for adults and children).
    • Rhode Island Free Clinic (for adults only): Call for an eligibility appointment: 401-274-6374.
    • Clinica Esperanza-Hope Clinic (for adults only): For patients who might have COVID-19, call 401-408-0238. For general questions, call 401-347-9093. 
  • Get tested: There are ways for patients for people without health insurance to get tested for COVID-19. MORE
  • Hospital care:
    • Seeking care: Anyone, regardless of immigration status, can seek healthcare at hospitals, emergency departments, and health centers If you have symptoms of COVID-19, call first before showing up at the facility.
    • Charity Care: If you need care at a hospital, ask about the hospital ‘charity care’ program and request an application. The hospital may cover all or part of your bill if you are unable to pay. Charity care is available regardless of immigration status.
    • Emergency Medicaid: If you are in need to of emergency services at a hospital (in-patient or emergency room), but are ineligible for Medicaid solely because of your immigration status, you may nevertheless be eligible to have Medicaid pay the hospital bills. The hospital will help you apply.
  • Health insurance: Medicaid coverage for undocumented pregnant women is available, regardless of immigration status, as long as income and state residency requirements are met. You can apply for Medicaid any time. Call 1-855-840-4774 or apply online at
  • Access to interpreters: All Rhode Island healthcare providers who receive federal funds are required to provide interpretation services for their patients, at no cost to the patients, regardless of immigration status.
  • Public Charge: USCIS has released statement declaring that testing, treatment, and preventive care related to COVID-19 will not negatively affect any immigrant in a future public charge determination. As a reminder, WIC does not ask immigration status and is not included in public charge determinations.
  • More information: The Economic Progress Institute has posted information online for undocumented immigrants, and for DACA, TPS, and DED holders.

School and Child Care Information

  • Child Care: The state will continue to suspend childcare licenses through the month of April. Rhode Island has partnered with to increase childcare access to Rhode Islanders. In addition to providing 90 days of free, premium access to their website, has created portals specifically for frontline workers and caregivers in Rhode Island. Frontline workers looking for child care can visit to find a local caregiver. Rhode Island residents interested in becoming caregivers can visit  to register. Potential caregivers are subject to’s extensive background and safety checks. While child care services are not typically free of charge, the Rhode Island portal gives residents the ability to waive their fees and volunteer as caregivers, providing additional support to frontline workers. MORE DHS WEBSITE
  • Distance learning for all public schools in Rhode Island will continue until Friday, May 1st. During this time, school buildings will be closed to students, but school will be taking place remotely in homes across the state.MORE
  • WIFI: To ensure that all Rhode Island students have access to WiFi necessary for distance learning at home, the Governor today announced that all households that have a smart phone with a WiFi hot spot feature and have cell phone service from the four most common providers in our state - Verizon, AT&, T-Mobile, and Sprint - will be able to activate the hot spot feature for free. There will be no activation fee, no usage fee, and no overage fee. This policy will last until at least May 13.
  • Due to the closure of schools, free "Grab and Go" meals are available for children throughout Rhode Island. MORE

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • To support Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients and their families, the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS) worked with the federal government to increase benefit amounts for some SNAP households. The federal government has allowed states to give all SNAP households the maximum SNAP benefit for their household size for the months of March and April. DHS is also allowing states to extend deadlines for those due to recertify in the months of March, April, and May 2020. MORE

Parks and Recreation

  • As of April 3rd, state beaches and parks in Rhode Island will be closed. Campground openings will be postponed until at least May 1st. PRESS RELEASE MORE
  • Visit individual city/town websites for local parks and recreation information.

Violence Prevention

  • People who are surviving violence in their relationships or families may be experiencing increased isolation and danger caused by social distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. A comprehensive resource document can be found in English and Spanish.
  • The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence and all of its member agencies are open, as are domestic violence shelters. Rhode Islanders seeking help can call the 24/7 confidential hotline at 1-800-494-8100. Services are provided in English and in Spanish. While courts are closed for non-essential business including evictions, they are open for all domestic violence matters. MORE
  • Health plans issued in Rhode Island are now providing temporary new benefits during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. MORE


For more information, please be sure to visit

Small Business Assistance
The RI Commerce Corporation has established a variety of COVID-19 Resources for small businesses affected by COVID-19.  Information can be found at RI Commerce Help or by calling (401)521-HELP. Whether you're interested in learning more about the CARES Act or accessing SBA loan information, CommerceRI is leading Rhode Island's effort to connect businesses with state and federal assistance programs.

The City of Newport is also providing help to both business owners and residents through a special COVID-19 Financial Relief package Click here for more information.
In Case You Missed It

We've been providing updates throughout the COVID-19 outbreak on our social media channels. If you haven't already, please be sure to find us on Facebook and Instagram @CityofNewportRI. Below are some of our more popular posts over the last week.

Doing Business with the City


As a reminder, although City Hall may be closed, local government is
very much open
  • City Council meetings have moved to a remote format for the time being. For more information on upcoming meetings, please be sure to check the City's website and click on Upcoming Meetings.
  • The Newport Public Schools have also transitioned to online learning. Be sure to visit for the latest updates from the School Department.
  • Trash and Recycling collection remains on a normal schedule, however the City's Spring Recycling Day has been cancelled. To download a copy of this year's Trash & Yard Waste Calendar, please visit
  • Plans for the redevelopment of the North End are also ongoing, and public comments are still being accepted through the City's North End Urban Plan  website 
  • For Real Estate transactions, sales are being recorded on an individual basis. Please contact the City Clerk's Office to make arrangements.
  • Marriage Licenses are being issued for Newport residents only until further notice. Please contact the City Clerk's Office for more information. Vital records including birth certificates can also be requested online. 
  • Property taxes, utility bills, and parking tickets can also be paid on the City's website
  • Building permits can be applied for online 24/7
  • And the Police Department is accepting non-emergency reports through our Online Reporting tool. 
Copyright © 2020 City of Newport, All rights reserved.

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