PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee and Rhode Island Commerce announced they are accepting proposals from intermediaries for the "Take It Outside" Initiative. The Take It Outside Initiative is a state-wide effort designed to encourage and increase outdoor commercial activities while helping to reduce the transmission rate of COVID-19. It is anticipated that the initiative will provide approximately $4.5 million in total awards to support small businesses throughout the state.
The Take It Outside Initiative is part of the Rhode Island Rebounds effort, proposed by Governor McKee and funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars. Other elements of Rhode Island Rebounds include the Small Business Grant Program which will provide direct grants of $2,500 or $5,000 to eligible small businesses and a new site acquisition fund to support the development of affordable housing.
"I am proud to support the Take It Outside Initiative to continue helping our local businesses who have faced extraordinary challenges since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Governor McKee. "This funding will go a long way in boosting our economy and keeping our momentum going. Thank you to all of our partners who step up to help our businesses thrive."
The initiative was proven successful earlier in the pandemic as the Take It Outside program awarded more than 100 intermediary organizations a total of more than $6 million across two rounds of funding in 2020 and 2021.
"Many Rhode Island businesses have creatively and successfully taken our fight with the pandemic outside over the past couple years," said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. "As we continue to emerge from COVID-related challenges, these grants will help more small businesses take their activities outdoors – attracting additional customers, increasing revenues, and boosting the economy."
This Take It Outside Initiative seeks to respond to the public health emergency, stimulate economic activity and assist small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through activities that support public health adaptation for small businesses. This may include, among others: the cost of purchasing, obtaining, delivering, or installing, chairs, tables, heat lamps, tents, outdoor Wi-Fi systems, staffing, security, insurance costs related to specific outdoor activities, lighting, power sources, relevant signage, and bike racks.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) closes on March 10, 2022 at 2 p.m. Eligible proposers include: nonprofit organizations, chambers of commerce, municipalities, merchant associations, arts/cultural organizations, tourism regions, and businesses that are registered with the Rhode Island Secretary of State that conduct operations within the State of Rhode Island and are proposing to serve as intermediaries to businesses or other entities.
For more information on the RFP and other Rhode Island Rebounds initiatives, visit Rhode Island Commerce's website.
The project is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRFP0136 (State Fiscal Recovery Funds) awarded to the State of Rhode Island by the U.S. Department of Treasury.