COVID-19: Town Updates Procedures, Policies

by | Mar 17, 2020

The East Greenwich flag.

The Town of East Greenwich has hired communications firm RWD Group to help out with messages to residents for at least the next month ($3,000 for the month). Here’s the town’s first press release following the emergence of COVID-19, with EG News’s own “big takeaways” at the start. We will be updating this as needed.

The Big Takeaways

  • Call first. 
  • The Town is open for business, just not as open for face-to-face gatherings, so use the Town Hall dropbox (at the first floor entrance off Courthouse Lane) or mail in applications, payments, etc., or call first!
  • All students age 18 and younger may pick up box breakfasts and lunches (drive-thru!) at either Frenchtown or Eldredge schools between 11:30 a.m.and 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Senior box lunches are available – seniors need to sign up for the lunches just as has been the practice for Swift Community Center sit down lunches – call (401) 886-8669. 
  • Parks, fields and playgrounds remain open but the town urges residents to minimize crowd sizes and practice good hygiene, especially at the playgrounds.
  • The Town is working on providing live streaming capabilities to host Town Council, Planning and Zoning Board meetings and possibly School Committee meetings by the end of March. Stay tuned.
  • And, again, if you need to interact with the town or schools, CALL FIRST! Find specific numbers below.

Important COVID-19 Information for East Greenwich Residents as of March 18, 2020

The following steps have been implemented as a part of the Emergency Declaration passed by the Town Council on Monday, March 16. Find updates on the town’s website HERE.

Senior Center at Swift Community Center (401) 886-8669, 121 Peirce Street 

Given the unique health risks associated with COVID-19 and those age 60 and over, we have moved to close the center, effective immediately. 

  • All programs have been canceled. 
  • Administrative Offices will remain open for normal business hours, 8:30am – 4:30pm (Monday – Friday) but are subject to change; please call before visiting
  • The on-site senior lunch program has been replaced with box lunches, with preregistration still being required, (pickup and delivery options may be available – call for more information); 
  • Transportation to medical appointments and grocery shopping has been restricted, although this may change and we are attempting to maintain a minimal service level with appropriate spacing and limits on the number of riders. Additional trips on various dates/times are being considered as well as potential other options, to accommodate the need within the community. 
Parks and Recreation 401-886-8626; 1127 Frenchtown Road

To minimize potential exposure to the virus that may be passed from children and adults to more vulnerable populations, we have taken the following interim steps: 

  • Administrative Offices will remain open for normal business hours, 8:30am – 4:30pm (Monday – Friday) but are subject to change; please call before visiting. 
  • All programs have been canceled through April 3; this will be revisited for the next series of programs and subsequent sessions later in the spring; 
  • All outdoor permits for organized field /park /facility use have been withdrawn until further notice; staff will be in constant communication with league, group and individual permit requests in the coming weeks/months as we plan for when access is again allowed; 
  • All parks and outdoor facilities/fields/playgrounds will remain open and accessible to the public, although minimizing crowd size and hygiene is strongly recommended; 
  • All outdoor parks, field preparation work, grounds cleanups and equipment maintenance and installation will continue as scheduled. 
Public Works/Engineering/Mechanics/Wastewater (401) 886-8618, 111 Peirce Street
  • Administrative Offices will remain open for normal business hours, 8:30am – 4:30pm (Monday – Friday) but are subject to change; please call before visiting
  • All normal work activities are continuing, as planned. Street sweeping, road work, tree work, fleet maintenance and other indoor/outdoor maintenance/repair and construction projects are underway and continuing during this time.
Town Clerk’s Office (401) 886-8605, 125 Main Street    *** Restricted Access to Walk-Ins ***

ALL services will be managed by mail, online or over the phone as much as possible. 

Individual appointments (made by and under the discretion of the Deputy Town Clerk) are available for access to the vault strictly for the purpose of title searching and the recording of deeds/mortgages (essential recordings). 


  • Land Records (Deeds and Mortgages) ~ CONTACT DIANNE POTTER (401) 886-8607 * Access to the vault for title searching available by appointment only for essential documents. All others must mail originals to the Town Clerk’s office, PO Box 111, East Greenwich, RI 02818.
  • Records are currently NOT available online
  • Elections and Voting ~ CONTACT ELAINE VESPIA (401) 886-8603. Find Mail Ballot Applications and Voter Registration information HERE.
  • Probate Court ~ CONTACT DIANNE POTTER (401) 886-8607 * Forms can be printed and mailed to PO Box 111, East Greenwich, RI 02818 * No court in March. Next session scheduled for April 16th @ 9AM CLICK HERE for forms.
  • Municipal Court ~ CONTACT NANCY PHILLIPS (401) 886-8606 * Parking tickets can be mailed in (cash/check) OR paid by credit card over the phone * Court session for March & April have been cancelled. Next court scheduled for May 21st @ 6PM 
  • Vital Records (Marriage, Birth and Death) ~ CONTACT NANCY PHILLIPS (401) 886-8606 * Forms can be found HERE * Order directly from State Dept. of Health HERE
  • Marriage Licenses ~ CONTACT NANCY PHILLIPS (401) 886-8606. *CALL FIRST!  CLICK HERE for more info.
  • Dog Licenses ~ CONTACT MARYJO GREIG (401) 886-8602. Find the application here: Dog License Application. (PLEASE CONTACT YOUR OWN VETERINARIAN FOR RABIES VACCINE. RABIES CLINIC CANCELLED). 
  • Overnight Residential Parking Permits ~ Contact Mary Jo Greig CLICK HERE
  • Business Licensing ~ Contact Elaine Vespia (401) 886-8603 

Special circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Town Clerk, Leigh Carney (401) 886-8604 or (401) 261-7729 or [email protected].

Finance Department (401) 886-8612, 125 Main Street  ***Restricted access to walk-ins*** 
  • The Finance Department will continue to remain open in providing public services. The general business of this office can be addressed via phone contact and mail service. Anyone seeking to engage a member of the Finance Department staff, on a particular transaction, will be advised to contact the office to schedule an appointment. 
  • The Tax Assessor’s office remains open during normal hours. Tax Assessor, Anthony Davey can be reached at (401) 886-8614, 111 Peirce Street.

Special circumstances for in-person meetings will be considered on a case by case basis by the Finance Director, Patricia Sunderland (401) 886-8609. 

Planning/Zoning Department (401) 886-8645, 111 Peirce Street
  • Administrative Offices will remain open for normal business hours, 8:30am – 4:30pm (Monday – Friday) but are subject to change; please call before visiting
  • The standard practice of scheduling an appointment for application submittals remains in effect. 
School Department (401) 398-1200, 125 Main Street; CLICK HERE for website.
  • Consistent with Governor Raimondo’s statewide emergency order, East Greenwich Public Schools are closed the week of March 16-20. Gov. Raimondo said Tuesday she would be announcing the plan going beyond March 20 on Wednesday. 
  • Breakfast and Lunch Grab N’ Go Meals for ALL East Greenwich Public School Students 18 and under are now available through drive-up service from 11:30am to 12:30pm until further notice at Frenchtown and Eldredge Schools. Children must be present in order to receive meals
Additional Details: 
  • The status of spring sports has not yet been resolved.
  • Mental health is always important, particularly in challenging times like these. Drug prevention and mental health counseling is available from Director Bob Houghtaling (401) 230-2246 or [email protected].
  • Houghtaling will be available to meet with clients at the Swift Community Center, 121 Peirce Street from 8:30am – 4:30pm (Monday – Friday). This service will be by appointment only. Call (401) 230-2246 or email [email protected]. Residents under the age of 18 will require parental permission; 
  • The focus is on individuals experiencing substance related conditions or mental health concerns; 
  • Articles and information through the Town website and local media will be provided about mental health, substance and stress related conditions, as well as inspirational messages; 
  • Mr. Houghtaling will also be conducting weekly walks through the community with residents in small groups of 3-4 to check in with neighbors and others that may be in need. 
Business Community and General Gatherings 
  • Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Director of the RI Department of Health, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott announced there will be NO on-premise food consumption for restaurants, bars, coffee shops, or other food establishments in Rhode Island through March 30. Establishments with a food license can continue to conduct pick-up, drive-thru and delivery only. 
Town Meetings 
  • The Town is postponing all less critical committee meetings that are not as time sensitive to government operations, please check the Town website HERE for specific meeting updates; 
  • The Town is preparing for increased use of live streaming capabilities to host Town Council, Planning and Zoning Board meetings and possibly School Committee meetings and working on options to receive remote public participation and possible tele-conferencing. Additional updates will be forthcoming on this subject. 
Crowd Size/Gatherings 

This information has been changing rapidly and we urge you to check back frequently for current guidance. 

  • The Governor and Dr. Alexander-Scott also directed all Rhode Islanders not to host or attend gatherings of 25 people or more; 
  • Effective March 17 – March 30, 2020, gatherings of 25 people or more are prohibited in Rhode Island. Gatherings subject to this order include, but are not limited to, community, civic, public, leisure, or faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions, fundraisers, parades, fairs, festivals, and any other similar activity that brings together 25 people or more. 
  • President Trump’s Task Force and the CDC have recommended limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people 
Revised Town Government Personnel Policies 

We are here to serve the people of East Greenwich throughout this pandemic. We will continue to serve our residents while taking every measure possible to ensure the safety of our staff and the people who interact with our staff. 

  • The majority of our staffing is made up of essential employees that do not work directly in contact with larger groups from the general public; 
  • All public safety officials are essential Police/Fire/EMS; 
  • Town Hall will remain open during regular business hours for as long as possible with restricted access to walk-in customers. 
  • Administrative employees will continue to work in all departments, with the possibility of streamlining the number of staff working at any one time; 
  • The next phase of scale down, if required, may include reduced hours, or the closing of smaller offices; 
  • Evaluate policies to rotate employees to minimize staff interactions; 
  • Employees that are showing any signs of being sick are directed to use sick leave and stay home. 

The General Policy moving forward is for everyone to please call in advance of coming to Town Hall to get the most up to date information on accessing various forms/types of public services. 

Stay up to date on events in East Greenwich during this critical time – sign up for the email newsletter HERE. Contact EG News with any tips or suggestions at [email protected]. We can get through this together!




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