COVID-19: UPDATES, CLOSURES AND CANCELLATIONS
Updated as of May 28, 2020
***We will keep this page updated as new announcements are made. The state has set up a 24/7 public hotline — (401) 222-8022 — staffed with health care professionals for those with questions about the coronavirus or how to self-quarantine.***
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (MAY 19)
- The Middletown Town Council approved reopening Third Beach to Middletown residents beginning on Saturday, May 23. You can read the full press release here.
- The Emergency Mail Ballot process for the Presidential Preference Primary begins Wednesday, May 20. Ballots are available at Town Hall during regular business hours. Read the full press release here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (MAY 13)
- Middletown has passed an Executive Order allowing the temporary expansion of outdoor dining at local restaurants. The Town will be accepting applications from restaurants to permit the service and consumption of food in outdoor portions of the licensed premises on or after May 18. Read more.
- The communities of Aquidneck Island are joining together to launch a COVID-19 relief effort. The City of Newport and the Towns of Middletown and Portsmouth announced on Friday a joint effort to help businesses re-open and job seekers get back to work as quickly and as seamlessly as possible. Read the full press release here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (MAY 9)
- Beginning on May 9, parking lots for certain town parks and beaches will open. Read the full press release here for more information.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (APR 23)
- On Thursday, April 30, the Martin Luther King Center will distribute food at two Middletown locations. Food will be distributed to residents from 12:00 noon to 12:45 p.m. on Ludlow Terrace near the entrance to Calvary Baptist Church, 4 Ludlow Terrace. From 1:30 – 2:15 p.m., food will be distributed at Oxbow Farms apartment complex on Rogers Lane. Read the full press release here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (APR 22)
- The state of emergency for the town of Middletown has been extended to May 22, 2020 and the deadline for the Town Administrator to submit his budget to the Town Council is now June 1, 2020. Read the full press release here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (APR 15)
- The Governor announced that HealthSourceRI is extending its special open enrollment period through April 30. Rhode Islanders looking to purchase coverage should visit www.healthsourceri.com.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (APR 13)
The Governor has recommended that everyone start keeping a “Contact Journal” that tracks all the people you come in contact with, and we are strongly encouraging you all to do this. The journal should contain the name of everyone you come in contact with along with the date and location. If you go to a store and it’s not reasonable to name everyone you come in contact with, you should mark the location, date, and time of day. This is solely for the purpose of providing the Department of Health with accurate personal contact information in the event that you or someone in your household becomes sick. If everyone heeds this advice, the time it takes the Department of Health to complete contact tracing, and most importantly notifying the exposed, will be drastically reduced. Quickly letting people know of their exposure to COVID-19 reduces the likelihood or at least the number of times, they go into public and expose others.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (APR 11)
- Robert Sylvia, Middletown Town Council President, has written a letter to the community for the holiday weekend. Read his full letter here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (APR 10)
- Updates from Governor Raimondo:
- RIPTA: Effective today, RIPTA has limited its capacity to 15 passengers per bus at a time to allow for more space. Passengers are also reminded to wear cloth face coverings when out in public.
- With so many people stuck at home, there has been an increase in domestic violence in the state. Need help or know anyone that does? Use the RI Victims of Crime 24 Hour Helpline 1-800-494-8100. A 24-hour chat line is also available through the RICADV and Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center websites.
- Dr. Alexander-Scott of RIDOH reminds everyone to make sure they dispose of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) properly and not create litter.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (APR 08)
- The Town is working with the Martin Luther King Center to distribute food next week at Commodore Perry and Oxbow neighborhoods. Read the full press release here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (APR 07)
- In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau has adjusted 2020 Census operation. Read all of the adjustments here.
- Effective Monday, April 6, the Middletown Fire Department will be suspending the issuance of new burn permits until further notice. Read the full press release here.
- Please note: There will be changes to Middletown’s Grab and Go meals starting Thursday, April 9. Read more here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (APR 06)
- Grocery Delivery Services –There is a new grocery delivery service for people who are house-bound or under quarantine and cannot get out to the grocery store because of COVID-19. The name of the service is Rhode Island Delivers and the website for this service is http://www.oha.ri.gov/deliveryoptions/ . Customers may also contact Roch’s Grocery Store online at www.rochs.com or at 401.284.2900.
- Smart shopping practices: Online grocery delivery services should be used primarily by at-risk populations and those in self-isolation. Others should shop for groceries in person if possible, sending one healthy person who is not at-risk and who follows social distancing guidance. The fewer shoppers the better – if one household can purchase groceries for other families or neighbors, it would reduce the number of trips to the store.
- Cloth Face Covers: RI Department of Health recommends wearing cloth face covers when in public. A cloth face cover is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps, or wrapped around the lower face. A cloth face cover could be sewn by hand or improvised from household items such as scarves or T-shirts. (Face covers are different than N95 facemasks. People in the general public should not be purchasing or hoarding medical-grade masks, such as N95s.) The primary role of a cloth face cover is to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes. Cloth face covers are not substitutes for physical distancing, washing your hands, and staying home when ill. For more information on face masks, visit the CDC website.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (APR 02)
- Effective April 1, Republic Services, the vendor for Middletown’s Pay As You Throw (PAYT) program, will be suspending the curbside collection of yard waste and bulk waste until further notice. Read the full press release here.
- Governor Raimondo has announced a new grocery delivery service, RI Delivers, for those who are house-bound or under quarantine and cannot get out to the grocery store because of COVID-19. Learn more here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (APR 01)
- Rhode Island State Parks and Beaches Closed Due to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The Town of Middletown announces the temporary closure of all town beaches and parks due to the COVID-19 public health crisis effective Friday, April 3, 2020. To protect public safety, all Middletown parks and beaches, along with adjacent parking areas, will be closed beginning Friday, April 3, until further notice. You are welcome to visit the beach and parks if you can access them by foot or by bike, but everyone is encouraged to practice social distancing.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (MAR 28)
- The Town of Middletown is asking all visitors from New York to register online with the Rhode Island Department of Health. Read the full order here.
- Governor Raimondo has signed an Executive Order for all Rhode Islanders to stay at home and to close non-essential businesses until April 13. Read the order here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (MAR 27)
- The Town is working with the Martin Luther King Center to provide non-perishable items to those in need with their mobile food pantry at the Oxbow Farms apartment complex on Tuesday, March 31 from noon to 1 p.m. To sign up, call the EOC at (401) 842-6555 and click here to learn more.
- Town administrators want to remind residents and visitors that the best safeguard against COVID-19 is social distancing. Read the full letter to the editor here.
- Town Council President Robert Sylvia has written a letter to the community discussing social distancing and meal distributions. Read the full letter here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (MAR 24)
- The Town of Middletown is asking all out-of-state visitors, travelers and seasonal residents to self-quarantine for a period of two weeks while visiting the Town. You can read the full press release here.
- The Town Council has signed an Executive Order to extend Middletown’s state of emergency to April 22. You can read the full order here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (MAR 23)
- Town Council President Robert Sylvia has released a letter stating that the safety of the Middletown community is their highest priority. You can read the full statement here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (MAR 20)
- The Town has signed an Executive Order regarding short term rental registration. Read the full order here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (MAR 17)
- Shawn Brown, Town Administrator, has signed an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency for the town of Middletown.
- The U.S. Small Business Association is offering disaster assistance for small businesses in Rhode Island that have been economically impacted by COVID-19. You can read the full press release here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (MAR 16)
- Governor Raimondo has signed an Executive Order banning bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, and public gatherings until March 30. Read the full press release here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (MAR 15)
Contact: Maureen Maurer, Executive Assistant to the Town Administrator
Middletown, R.I. – Beginning Monday, March 16, Middletown Town Hall, Middletown Public Library and Middletown Senior Center will be closed to public access until further notice. Municipal employees will continue to report to work and provide services by phone, email, and mail. Residents and businesses are encouraged to use online services, online forms, and mail to complete town business. These precautions are being implemented in light of recent developments with the Coronavirus pandemic. These actions are taken to protect the health and safety of our residents by protecting the health and safety of our employees who work in these buildings.
Here is a list of departments and contact information if you need assistance in completing your business with the town:
Town Clerk, (401) 847-0009, email@example.com
– Vital records (birth, marriage, death), licenses, canvassing and election, land evidence records, municipal and probate court, cemetery, Town Council matters, short term rental applications
Building and Zoning, (401) 847-5769, firstname.lastname@example.org
– building permits and inspections, zoning enforcement, short term rental inspections
Tax Assessment and Collections, (401) 847-7300, email@example.com
– tax payments, motor vehicle tax inquiries, tax exemption forms, tangible tax, sewer collections, property valuation
Finance Department, (401) 846-4478, firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Resources, (401) 846-5781, email@example.com
Planning, (401) 849-4027, firstname.lastname@example.org
Middletown Prevention Coalition, Lori Verderosa, (401) 845-0409, email@example.com
Town Administrator, (401) 849-2898, firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Town buildings remain closed to public access, but employees will continue to respond to phone calls and emails:
- Middletown Senior Center, (401) 849-8823, email@example.com
- Middletown Public Library, (401) 846-1573, ext. 1 (circulation), firstname.lastname@example.org
- Middletown Fire Department, non-emergency calls (401) 846-1031, email@example.com
- Middletown Police Department, non-emergency calls (401) 846-1104, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Middletown Department of Public Works, (401) 846-2119, email@example.com
- Middletown Refuse and Recycling, (401) 842-6519, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone may drop off envelopes at the drop box located outside the town hall near the ADA entrance at the rear of the building; this box will be checked daily.
Anyone needing assistance or information is encouraged to contact the Town of Middletown by sending an email to MiddletownHelps@middletownri.com and your request will be forwarded to the appropriate department.
For accurate and up-to-date information, please consult the following websites, and scroll to the next section:
- RIDOH: https://health.ri.gov/diseases/respiratory/?parm=163
- CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- CDC’s list of affected countries: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/
- WHO: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
Recent updates by department:
- On Monday, April 20, 2020, the Town Council held a public meeting via telecommunications and approved the extension of the state of emergency to May 22, 2020. In addition, they agreed to extend the deadline for the Town Administrator to submit his budget to the Town Council to Monday, June 1, 2020. This will allow the administration to learn more about the State’s budget prospects at the May Revenue Conference, which may impact the terms of the town’s budget.
- On April 15, 2020, Governor Gina Raimondo extended the deadline for public meetings to use telephone or electronic communications for the purpose of conducting open and transparent meetings that are accessible to the public by issuing Executive Order 20-25, which extends the deadline to May 15, 2020: “Public bodies conducting meetings, as those terms are defined by Open Meetings Act, are hereby relieved from the prohibitions regarding use of telephonic or electronic communication to conduct meetings, contained in Rhode Island General Laws §42-46-5(b), and are required to make provisions to ensure public access to the meeting of the public body for members of the public through adequate, alternative means.” The full executive order may be found here https://governor.ri.gov/newsroom/orders/.
- In coordination with Judges Michael Miller and Robert Silva and in consultation with the Town Council President, the Town’s Municipal and Probate Courts will postpone all scheduled sessions at Middletown Town Hall until at least May 19, 2020. Please contact Town Clerk Wendy Marshall at (401) 847-0009 with your questions.
TOWN CLERK April 16, 2020 COVID-19 Update: Town Hall has been closed to public access for several weeks now, but municipal employees are still working to assist you with applications, registrations, and licenses. The Town Clerk’s Office encourages residents and businesses to take advantage of its Online and Mail-in services in order to complete certain transactions or applications with the Town of Middletown. You may also use the Town’s Payment drop box located on the west side of the Town Hall near the handicap entrance doors to drop off envelopes or documents. Contact the Town Clerk’s office at 847-0009 or email@example.com for more information or assistance.
June 2, 2020 Presidential Preference Primary –Registered voters are encouraged to apply for a mail ballot. The application is available at https://vote.sos.ri.gov/ and is due by May 3.
Voter Information – It’s easy to check your voter status, disaffiliate (due by May 4) or view a sample ballot by visiting https://vote.sos.ri.gov/. You can also register to vote or apply for a mail ballot.
Marriage, Birth and Death Certificates – To learn more about applying for vital records online, visit the RIDOH website at https://health.ri.gov/records/howto/getacopy/. Return the application, payment and a photocopy of your driver’s license to the Office of the Town Clerk, 350 East Main Road, Middletown, RI, 02842.
Land Evidence (Deeds/Mortgages) –On the town’s website under Online Services, search under “Search Property Records” or https://i2f.uslandrecords.com/RI/Middletown/D/Default.aspx. Your Land Evidence Filings can be mailed to us at Office of the Town Clerk, 350 East Main Road, Middletown, RI, 02842, or dropped off using the town’s Payment drop box outside Town Hall. Documents will be returned to you by mail if possible; otherwise we will make arrangements for you to pick up the documents. Call the Town Clerk’s office at 847-0009 if you would like to make an appointment to have a recording done while you wait.
Probate: For forms please visit the following website https://www.sos.ri.gov/divisions/business-services/probate-forms/.
Business Licenses: Please contact the Town Clerk’s office by phone or email and we will assist you with the application process or the appropriate forms.
Short Term Rentals: As of April 1, you may register online on the town’s website at https://middletownri.viewpointcloud.com/.
- Fourth quarter tax payments due June 10. Payment may be mailed to Town Hall (350 East Main Road) or dropped in the Payment Box outside Town Hall near the ADA entrance (checked daily Monday through Friday.)
- Town is now accepting applications for ACH payment of taxes -the form and instructions are found on the the Tax Assessor’s page here
BUILDING / ZONING DEPT
- The Town of Middletown has been using an online permitting application that allows you to apply for permits, upload the necessary documents, receive approvals and make your payment online without having to come into the Town Hall. We have all been asked to be diligent and take steps to limit possible sources of transmitting the Covid-19 virus. Utilizing the permitting system is one way to achieve this while still allowing us to provide a necessary service. If you are not familiar with how the system works, feel free to call and we will be happy to guide you through the process. To schedule an inspection – do not use the permitting portal or email. All requests for inspection must be made by contacting us by phone at 401-847-5769. If you are greeted by voicemail please select extension 1 and follow the instructions. Failure to request inspections using the voicemail system or speaking directly with someone in the office will likely result in a delay in responding to your inspection request.
- The March 24 and April 28 zoning board of review meetings have been canceled. Agenda will continue to the next scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 26.
- The April 8 Planning Board Meeting has been canceled.
REFUSE AND RECYCLING
Middletown Yard Waste Collection resumes the week of Monday, May 11: Curbside yard waste collection in Middletown will resume the week of May 11, 2020 for Pay As You Throw (PAYT) participants and continue as regularly scheduled every other week through the summer. We ask our PAYT customers to be mindful of the huge task facing the employees of Republic Services in collecting the bags, barrels and bundles that have accumulated during the month of April. The employees will do their best to clear all yard waste as efficiently as possible, but we ask our PAYT subscribers to be understanding if some material is left behind if a soggy bag breaks or wet leaves are sticking to the bottom of a barrel. Thank you for your patience and support during this time. Keeping everyone healthy and safe during this pandemic is our goal, and we appreciate everyone’s cooperation.
- The weekly collection of pink bags for the Simple Recycling Program will resume the week of May 11, 2020.
- Please note that the Bulk Waste Amnesty Day on May 2, 2020 is canceled, and has not been rescheduled.
- Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the following services provided by Republic Services have been suspended until further notice:
- The sale of stickers and the curbside collection of bulk waste items;
- The collection of extra cardboard left next to blue and gray containers.
- During this emergency, we are offering a contactless program where you can purchase PAYT bags and have them delivered to your home for no additional charge. Two sleeves of the large bag can be purchased Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM-6:00 PM by calling the COVID-19 Call Center at (401) 842-6555 and using your credit card for the purchase. The two sleeves of bags will be delivered the following business day, there are no additional fees.
- SURVEY FOR BUSINESSES (May 13 – 27, 2020): The Aquidneck Island Economic Recovery Partnership team is working to measure and track COVID-19’s economic impact, to learn how to best help businesses. Your insight and feedback are critical to developing a recovery strategy— please consider completing this survey.
- Organizations here to help you: for small businesses negatively affected by COVID-19, you can find resources at the following sites:
Small Business Tech Support Program: Connect Greater Newport (CGN) is partnering with CommerceRI to support the Small Business Tech Support Program. Call Connect Greater Newport at (401) 855-2214 or call the state helpline at (401) 521-TECH. More information about the program can be found here. Commerce has partnered with Venture Cafe to use their existing online office hours booking platform. A list of companies offering free consultations may be found here.
- MicroE Stabilization Grant Program: The Town of Middletown is participating in the Microenterprise (MicroE) Stabilization Grant Program offered through the state’s Office of Housing and Community Development for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are available to offer grants of $5,000 to qualifying small businesses located in Middletown. More information can be found here.
- PPE Supplies for Small business support: The state will be distributing 500,000 masks and disinfectant solution to Rhode Island businesses through chambers of commerce and industry associations. These supplies will be available to small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, including retailers, restaurants, grocery stores, manufacturers, and others. Starting next week, businesses will be able to pick up a month’s supply of face coverings as well as a voucher for a gallon of disinfectant that can be purchased from any Rhode Island Ocean State Job Lot store. To obtain these supplies, businesses must show they’ve completed their COVID-19 Control Plan. Templates are available on ReopeningRI.com. For more information about supplies and to find a list of participating chambers and business associations, visit CommerceRI.com.
- Free Laptops for Qualifying Businesses: Thanks to a generous donation from the Microsoft Corporation in partnership with Social Greenhouse Enterprise, Commerce RI will be distributing 500 laptops to Rhode Island small businesses with fewer than 25 employees. The state will prioritize small businesses that are owned by people of color, women, veterans, or lower/moderate income individuals. Applications are available on CommerceRI.com in both English and Spanish and are due on May 26th.
MIDDLETOWN PREVENTION COALITION
- The Middletown Wellness Project and its related events have been postponed.
- Middletown Public Library is making materials currently in the building available for loan via curbside delivery. Email your request, along with your phone number, to the library firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage you to use this service after checking the library’s online catalog to be sure that the material is available in Middletown’s collection.
- Children’s and teen’s library programs are canceled until further notice.
- AARP cancels free personal income tax preparation until further notice.
- Middletown Public Library and the Friends Bookstore closed until further notice
PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT
- Closure to public access notice.
- The Rabies Clinic for March 14, from 10 a.m.-Noon at Public Works has been canceled.
What to know about COVID19, also known as the Coronavirus Disease
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the immediate risk to the general public for contracting the coronavirus remains low, they do suggest that now is the time for communities to start preparing.
Currently, there is no identified risk to the community. The Town of Middletown has been working closely with regional, state and federal agencies to ensure we are prepared, should the disease appear in our community. Below, you’ll find real-time information provided by the Centers for Disease Control, while to the right are local resources intended to provide you the information needed to be prepared to help stop the spread of the virus.
Current understanding about how the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new disease and there is more to learn about how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How easily does the virus spread?
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained.
The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.