Governor Raimondo today announced during her weekly press briefing that her administration has made $1 million in available funding to assist businesses and organizations interested in participating in the state’s Take It Outside initiative.

The Take It Outside initiative is a statewide effort to encourage and increase outdoor activities for all Rhode Islanders in an effort to reduce the transmission rate of COVID-19.

In addition to making State-owned land available for fitness classes, outdoor meetings, recreational activities, and equipping outdoor office spaces with WiFi internet, the Take It Outside Initiative will now provide $1 million available in grants through an RFP process.

“In our fight against COVID, let’s take it outside,” said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor in a statement provided in a press release. “We want to help business associations and chambers extend the outdoor season and reduce the rate of transmission. Through the work of these partner organizations, we will support small businesses as they move some of their operations and activities outdoors. In addition, we ask all Rhode Islanders to consider taking their meals, meetings, workouts, or work sessions outside.”

Intermediary organizations such as nonprofit organizations, chambers of commerce, municipalities, merchant associations, downtown improvement districts, tourism regions, and arts/cultural institutions may apply for up to $150,000 to fund the cost of expenses associated with the expansion of business to outdoor spaces – for example making use of closed streets, sidewalks, and parking lots –  to increase commerce while reducing the transmission rate of COVID-19. 

Intermediary organizations may use the funds to cover the cost of purchasing, obtaining, installing, or otherwise enabling the use of items such as chairs, tables, heat lamps, tents, outdoor WiFi systems, masks, hand sanitizer, staffing, security, and insurance costs related to specific outdoor activities. Items such as lighting, power sources, relevant signage, bike racks, and other costs affiliated with purchasing or obtaining goods or services that are necessary to increase outdoor opportunities are also eligible.

Intermediaries may choose either directly distribute their materials to businesses and organizations or create outdoor markets, street closures, or other opportunities for businesses to expand their operations outside.

The first round of proposals to the RFP are due on September 22, 2020. To learn more about eligibility requirements, proposal requirements, and ways in which these funds may be spent, please visit www.takeitoutsideri.com

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.