By Suraj Sait

Wednesday marks the fifth time the East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce will hand out personal protective equipment (PPE), collaborating with the state to help local businesses reopen with all the extra supplies they need.

“Commerce RI and the RI Emergency Management Authority made available to us disinfectant, masks, and hand sanitizers,” explained Chamber Director Steve Lombardi. From Lombardi’s perspective, the government aid was much needed.

“It’s been a really tough situation,” he said. “Some businesses are off 50 to 70 percent. Some businesses are in jeopardy.”

However, Lombardi also pointed out their resilience, noting that many restaurants had adapted to outside dining and that some retailers were selling masks. He also highlighted the community’s appreciation for small businesses.

“I was very heartened by how the public has come on to the fact how important small businesses are to our community,” Lombardi told the Town Council last week. “Main Street in East Greenwich is still desirable for businesses.”

Lombardi said as tough as things have been he’s hopeful. 

“We’re concerned about our businesses going forward,” he said “There is going to be a lag time in terms of how we’re doing. [Although] it’s very challenging, [our work has] never been as rewarding as it is now.”

EG Chamber of Commerce’s Steve Lombardi, left, at The Patio.

To receive PPE from the chamber, businesses must fill out a COVID-19 control plan, detailing how they will handle customers during the pandemic as well as any modifications they would make to pre-pandemic practices in order to comply with new regulations. They do NOT need to be a member of the chamber. The form is available HERE. Once businesses fill out the form, they should let the Chamber know they’ve done that and how many employees they have by emailing linda@eastgreenwichchamber.com

So far, 84 local businesses have taken advantage of this opportunity. “We distributed 7400 masks and 920 bottles of sanitizer to 920 employees,” Lombardi said.

The chamber will be distributing PPE once again this Wednesday, June 17th, at 580 Main Street (where the Chamber is located) from noon to 3 p.m. All businesses are welcome, regardless of whether they are part of the Chamber.


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