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Welcome to Issue 2 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 COVIDQuestions@CityofNewport.com 
Wishing you and your family a very Happy Easter & Happy Passover.
(photo taken earlier this week at Queen Anne Square)
 
 

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: 
  • Our Emergency Management Team began the week by activating the City's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in order to coordinate the City's response. We're now fielding non-emergency phone calls Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. at (401) 845-5501 and via email by sending a note to COVIDQuestions@CityofNewport.com. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. 
  • We served 229 community members this week at our Drive Through/Walk Up community food distribution site at the Pell School on Wednesday, along with delivering 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 carmateach@gmail.com.  
  • The Newport Police Department is continuing to accept submissions for its 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 aamaral@cityofnewport.com, or send it via Facebook message to @NewportRIPolice
  • Food access and food insecurity remains a primary focus for the City which is why we're happy to report that the Aquidneck Growers Market was able to make its return this weekend at their new temporary location across from the Claiborne Pell Elementary School. The market had been setting up on Saturdays at Easton's Beach, however with access to the beach closed for the time being, they've made the the move to the North End. If you're planning on visiting the popular market, please be sure to practice social distancing, wear a protective face covering, and pay particular attention to proper food handling. More information about the market's new COVID-19 protocols can be found by visiting AquidneckCommunityTable.org. 
  • 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 were also busy this week, hosting a remote COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, April 7th and their first regular Council meeting on Wednesday, April 8th. In addition to hearing an update from City staff on our COVID-19 response, they also voted to extend a building moratorium in the North End, push out the deadline for the North End Urban Plan, and reduced the City's operating budget by $1.785 million.  The Council will meet for their weekly COVID-19 update once again in remote session later this week. 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 so exercise by taking walks or riding your bikes, we're asking that you do so closer to home. Over the coming weeks, 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. 
  • On a somewhat related note, due to some persistent animal activity and heavy rains seen over the last few months, we've had to close a portion of the Easton's Pond berm to walking while repairs are made to the earthen embankment along the south side of the pond. More on that can be found here.
  • Utility customers should also note that due to a processing delay by the City's bank, payments mailed prior to March 31st may have been delayed. As a result, April bills that were mailed to customers last week may inaccurately include a past due balance reflected on their account. For more information, please click here.
  • While Newport continues to prepare for a surge in cases, as of Saturday, a total of 18 people have tested positive in the City since the outbreak began last month. Earlier this week, Gov. Raimondo announced a partnership with CVS Health to provide rapid testing for anyone exhibiting coronavirus symptoms at a central testing location at Twin River in Lincoln. 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. To schedule a test, please visit www.CVS.com. 

 
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
Another Type of Unsung Hero
A recently installed tidal gate is keeping waters at bay

We're happy to report that a recently installed tidal gate beneath Storer Park  appears to be having its intended effect. Earlier this week, with the April Super Moon causing higher than normal tidal activity, this normally flood-prone area of The Point was spared its typical round of street flooding.

Meanwhile, the City is continuing to pursue funding for the installation of additional tidal gates underneath Wellington Avenue, where street flooding was once again observed during the same high tide period. 


Although these critical infrastructure components are designed to remain unseen, they're vital in our effort to combat sea level rise and maintain the overall quality of life we've come to expect for our City-by-the-Sea. 
Have you taken the 2020 Census yet?

We’re working 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 www.2020Census.gov and find out how you can help make sure #NewportCounts
Socially Distanced Exercise at Newport's Common Burying Ground 
While we all need to do our part to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, spending time outside while practicing social distancing is not only an approved activity, but is also good for your mental and emotional health. 

Thankfully, over the last several years, our volunteer Historic Cemetery Commission has been busy making improvements to the City's Common Burying Ground and is encouraging anyone interested in learning more about this historic part of Newport to take a self-guided tour. Boxes with maps (pictured above) are located at each entrance to the site and the commission will make every effort to restock the supply. A copy of the map can also be printed at home by selecting this link.

In the months to come, the Historic Cemetery Commission is looking forward to continuing its work to restore these unique open spaces, with the City's gravestone conservators scheduled to begin work in the next few weeks to reset fallen stones in the Braman Cemetery and continuing to clear brush along the railroad track where previously undocumented gravestones have been uncovered. Work is also set to begin on the second group of stones in God’s Little Acre through a grant funded by the National Trust. 
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

During this challenging time, we are working safely to improve the City’s infrastructure.

In the Kay Catherine neighborhood, sidewalk construction is scheduled to begin on Gibbs Avenue from Memorial Blvd to Old Beach Road beginning on Monday, April 13th. Our contractor, LAL, will be replacing the substandard existing asphalt sidewalks with fresh concrete and connecting it to Memorial Boulevard. 
 
In Historic Hill, Division Street road construction continues as sidewalks are reconstructed and our contractor continues to work toward final paving.

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 www.CityfoNewport.com/ConstructionUpdates

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


Updated 04/12/20

 

  • Testing

All Rhode Islanders who have symptoms of COVID-19 are urged to call a healthcare provider or urgent care center to get scheduled for a test. Individuals experiencing symptoms must also self-isolate and have as little contact with others as possible.

  • Patients with health insurance
    • If you are tested at an urgent care, physician office, health center, emergency room, or hospital, there is no cost to the patient for lab tests.
    • You should not be charged for a visit with a physical exam or a tele-health evaluation for a COVID-like illness.
    • If you are charged for either of these services, talk to your provider at the time of service. If you still have questions, contact your health insurer’s customer service phone number on the back of your health insurance card.
    Patients without health insurance
    • You will be charged for a COVID-19 test and/or a doctor’s visit if you go to a Respiratory Clinic or to a healthcare provider’s office.
    • You can get a free COVID-19 test two ways:
      • Call your provider (if you have one) to get an order for a COVID-19 test at one of the drive-up testing sites at URI in South Kingstown, at CCRI in Warwick, or at Rhode Island College in Providence.
      • Go online to be pre-screened for testing and to get an appointment. 

    Transportation options to testing: MTM has procedures/policies in place to transport Medicaid and ETP (Elderly Transportation Program: individuals 60 years of age and older) individuals to COVID-19 testing sites. MTM will confirm individuals are eligible for transport, have an authorization for testing and have no other transportation options prior to scheduling a trip. Eligible individuals can call: 1-855-330-9131 (TTY: 711) MORE This service is only available if no other transportation options are available.

  • 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.

 

For more information, please be sure to visit health.ri.gov

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
  • On Saturday, the Newport Recreation Division and Newport Police Department escorted the one and only Easter Bunny  for a socially distant hop around the City's neighborhoods! Look for photos on Facebook later this week. 
  • 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 NPSRI.net 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 www.CityofNewport.com/Trash
  • 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.
  • 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. 
 
The one and only Easter Bunny made a special visit to Newport on Saturday!
Special thanks go to the Newport Police Department for the escort, and the Newport Recreation Division for inviting him to town




 
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