Newfound Freedoms

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by | Jul 1, 2021

Polaris MEP Center Director Kathie Mahoney at Darlington FabricsRhode Island hit a remarkable pandemic milestone that flew under the radar: On June 21, there were zero new hospital admissions for COVID-19.

As Dan McGowan noted in a recent Boston Globe “Rhode Map,” that’s the first time that has happened since March 14, 2020.

At the time of this writing, 69% of Rhode Island residents were vaccinated against COVID-19. This means that this weekend and this summer there will be more opportunities to

  • gather with friends and co-workers
  • go sit in a restaurant
  • visit with family

It’s a newfound freedom for many of us.

This has been a year like no other. In my family, we are looking forward to getting to what our “new normal” will be, while doing our due diligence to remain safe.

COVID Rapid Testing Kits Available to Help Manufacturers Remain Vigilant

During the past 14 months, most Rhode Island manufacturers did not shut down. They maintained the safety of their employees as their top priority. Kudos to manufacturing!

Through everything that has happened, Rhode Island manufacturing companies remained productive, forward thinking and resilient. It is going to be important to keep up this commitment.

Did you know, the state is still offering COVID rapid testing kits for companies? I visited with a company yesterday that told me they continue to test their employees once a week. It gives them the comfort level that they are able to continue to keep their employees safe.

(We previously recorded an information session with the Department of Health about the COVID rapid test kits. Click here to view.)

As we enter the 4th of July holiday weekend, I hope you will enjoy these newfound freedoms. I wish you and your family health and a great BBQ.


Vaccines & caution allowed us to gather recently with our Polaris MEP/URI Research Foundation family. Among the highlights was FINALLY getting to properly thank Project Managers Jeff Stevens and John Gilheeney for years of service to RI’s manufacturers!

Jeff (“Mr. Quality”) retired in December and John last June, but the pandemic prevented us from honoring them at the time. Former Polaris MEP Center Director Christian Cowan did the honors before finding some shade.

John Gilheeney, Christian Cowan and Jeff Stevens - Rhode Island manufacturing business improvement advisors

John Gilheeney (L), Jeff Stevens (R) retired in 2021 after serving for many years as trusted Rhode Island manufacturing business improvement advisors.

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