- Associated Press - Monday, October 19, 2020

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The city of Providence is throwing a lifeline to small businesses struggling during the coronavirus pandemic with microgrants of up to $10,000, officials said Monday.

The microenterprise grant program will support more than 20 low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs and business owners, Mayor Jorge Elorza and Local Initiatives Support Corp. Rhode Island Executive Director Jeanne Cola said in a statement.

“Small businesses, especially microbusinesses, are the backbone of Providence’s economy,” Elorza said. “This program will provide much needed relief to our neighborhoods and ensure businesses have access to the resources and financial supports to ride out the current economic storm.”

The businesses, typically ineligible for funding through federal programs, will be able to use the grants for business expenses including rent, staffing, utilities, and retail location modifications.

Grant applications will be available online starting Oct. 29.



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VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS

Rhode Island had 582 new confirmed coronavirus cases and seven virus-related deaths over the weekend, the state Department of Health reported Monday.

The state also added 74 positive cases to previous days’ totals. The data released Monday is from Friday, Saturday and Sunday because the agency does not update statistics on the weekends.

The state has now had more than 28,300 confirmed cases and 1,159 fatalities.

The positivity rate is on the rise. The 7-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Rhode Island has risen over the past two weeks from 1.44% on Oct. 4 to 2.4% on Sunday, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

The number of people in the hospital declined to 124 as of Saturday, the latest day for which the information is available, down one from the previous day.

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