Press Releases


Lt. Gov. McKee Hosts Virtual Town Hall Meeting: Support Available to Small Businesses

Office Activity Update - May 25, 2020

Lt. Governor McKee today hosted a COVID-19 virtual town hall meeting for Rhode Island's small business community. He opened the discussion with a call to action on his proposal for financial support for small businesses which he mentioned during a May 19 town hall meeting.

The Lt. Governor then introduced Joe Rodio, Legal Counsel to the Office of the Lt. Governor, to discuss the Senate Committee on Small Business and its consideration of extending the Paycheck Protection Program by 8 weeks. More information will follow on these details.

The Lieutenant Governor introduced Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training Assistant Director Matt Weldon to provide an update on Unemployment Insurance (UI). There are currently 230,000 individuals on UI with 58,000 receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

Lieutenant Governor McKee introduced the Gift it Forward Panel ( featuring Justin Gontarek of OceanSide Graphics. Justin is expanding the business resource section on the website and will assist small businesses with reopening including conducting site visits at no charge to help put plans in place for a successful reopening. Anyone with questions can email him at Chris Parisi of Trailblaze Marketing reminded organizations that are offering free or reduced assistance to small business that they can contact him at Lori Giuttari of Visual Thrive ( recommends the RIThrives website as another partner that is free to everyone and can assist business with opening and operating concerns. Anyone with questions can contact Lori at

Lt. Governor McKee introduced the small business donation panel featuring Justin Gontarek of OceanSide Graphics. Justin has fabricated face shields and other plastic sneeze guards using FDA approved plastics. Justin can be contacted at Anthony Manfredi of RI Training School & Safety Management Solutions was introduced and has been the recipient of face shields donations that were coordinated by the Lieutenant Governor. Maryanne Brandmeier of Lt. Governor McKee's International Economic Ambassador Initiative discussed securing medical grade hand sanitizer and medical grade N-95 face masks to donate to small businesses and is now working on collecting face shields to donate to businesses. She is using her international ties as an Economic Ambassador to benefit small businesses.

The Lt. Governor provided closing remarks for today's call and urged everyone to continue following protocols for social distancing.

Related links

Share this: