Small business grants available; new RI virus cases rising

Outside a Providence hair salon, Democratic Lt. Gov. Dan McKee called on Gov. Gina Raimondo to use federal coronavirus aid to help keep small Rhode Island businesses afloat in a July 7, 2020 news conference. File photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s lieutenant governor is urging owners of small businesses struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic to apply for a grant to help them recover.

Applications for the Restore RI program will be available starting Monday, Lt. Gov. Dan McKee said in a statement Thursday.

The $50 million program will provide grants of up to $15,000 based on whether the business is in a severely impacted industry, the number of full-time employees, and the degree of revenue loss.

Businesses will need to demonstrate at least 30% revenue loss if they are in a severely impacted industry or at least 50% revenue loss for other eligible industries.

Applicants must have a physical presence in Rhode Island and must be open or plan to be open within 60 days.

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NEW CASES ON THE RISE

The seven-day average of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Rhode Island rose to more than 100 on Thursday, the highest it’s been since early June, according to state Department of Health statistics.

The department on Thursday reported 110 new confirmed cases and a positive rate of 2.5%.

No new deaths were reported.

The number of people in the hospital climbed to 77 as of Tuesday, the latest day for which the information was available, up from 74 the previous day. Of those, 13 were in intensive care.

Gov. Gina Raimondo on Wednesday blamed the uptick in cases on social gatherings and warned people not to party so much.