By PHILIP MARCELO, The Associated Press
Rhode Island election officials want the state to delay its presidential primary by more than a month because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The state Board of Elections on Tuesday voted 6 to 1 to ask Gov. Gina Raimondo to postpone the April 28 primary to June 2.
The Democratic governor has expressed skepticism about moving the primary, but her office said she was “open to the idea” following the board’s vote.
Democratic Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, who oversees elections, has called for moving to a mail ballot-focused primary.
The elections board on Tuesday said moving the primary date would allow officials to better prepare for such an election.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover.
The latest coronavirus developments in Rhode Island, which has more than 20 positive cases:
The Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island said Tuesday they’ve raised $1.5 million for their newly created COVID-19 Response Fund to support local nonprofits serving vulnerable populations.
SMALL BUSINESS LOANS
The U.S. Small Business Administration on Tuesday approved Rhode Island’s request for economic disaster relief, Raimondo said.
The low interest loan fund will help small businesses access up to $2 million in emergency capital to help cover operational costs.
Businesses should call 521-HELP for more information.
UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS SPIKE
The state Department of Labor and Training said Unemployment Insurance claims for coronavirus-related reasons rose to 9,593 from just 10 last Tuesday.
COVID-19-related claims through the separate Temporary Disability Insurance program have increased to 545 from zero last week.
Rhode Island’s court system has postponed trials, grand jury proceedings and other matters until at least April 17.
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell said in an order issued Tuesday that only emergency and essential matters will be heard in court until then.
KENNEDY PLAZA CLOSED
The passenger waiting area and ticket counters at Providence’s Kennedy Plaza have been closed, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority announced Tuesday.
Buses, however, will continue to drop off and pick up passengers at the busy downtown area in front of City Hall.
The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.