Rhode Island Manufacturer Resources and Support – COVID-19 Coronavirus
Supporting Rhode Island manufacturers continues to be the Polaris MEP mission.
We are working closely with RIMA and state agencies including CommerceRI and the Department of Labor and Training (DLT) to make sure manufacturing employer needs are represented related to the coronavirus.
Below you’ll find a list of guidelines related to COVID-19 coronavirus and/or links to resources that we felt relevant to manufacturing.
NEW! RI Manufacturing Workplace Readiness Playbook
Polaris MEP and the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association (RIMA) have developed a “Playbook” for manufacturers to help you resume full-time operations, bring employees back safely and/or recover or ramp up production.
Help the state respond to COVID-19 coronavirus manufacturing challenges.
RI Manufacturing Talent Exchange: Some companies are displacing employees, others are hiring. The Talent Exchange connects both scenarios for an easier transition of experienced floor workers into similar situations with need. https://polarismep.org/ri-manufacturing-job-board/
How to deal with sick employees who come into work? TheRhode Island Department of Health’s official pagehas the latest information on the novel coronavirus. People or businesses with general questions and/or questions of how to follow the latest guidance should call 401-222-8022. If inquiring outside of business hours, dial 211.
The Rhode Island DLT has programs to help employees out sick or not allowed to work. Contact them at [email protected].
If employees are laid off from their position due to temporary business closure/other circumstances where they are not (self-)quarantined but are out of work, they may be eligible to apply for UI. http://www.dlt.ri.gov/
The Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training received a grant to fund approximately 43,000 hours of temporary labor for local businesses and employers providing essential services. Skills for Rhode Island’s Future will be assisting in the implementation of this program, which comes at little or no cost to employers. https://gwb.ri.gov/programs-and-incentives#1588622960010-01f216d9-69dc
SBA Disaster Loan Assistance Program – Eligible RI manufacturers affected by the coronavirus since 1/31/20 can apply for a loan of up to $2Million with a 30-year timeline for repayment. Nine-month window to apply. Click here for RI details.
Have questions regarding access to capital and other lending options? Call the Rhode Island Commerce Corp. Small Business Hotline at 401-521-HELP (401-521-4357) or email [email protected].
And, subscribe to our blog. We’re collecting and sharing best practices from manufacturers around the state and the globe.
MESSAGES TO THE RHODE ISLAND MANUFACTURING COMMUNITY
MAY 5, 2020:
A poll of owners/CEOs of Rhode Island manufacturing businesses found that, despite operational challenges posed by state guidance on social distancing and masks, more than one-quarter would not ask for any restrictions to be relaxed at this moment. The Polaris MEP survey also revealed that sales is the area most affected by the pandemic to date.
Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor will be the featured speaker on a manufacturing industry conference call for manufacturers Friday, April 24, 2020 at 3:00pm.
The program is an opportunity for business leaders to ask questions and learn best practices for coronavirus response specific to the manufacturing industry. Polaris MEP and RIMA collaborated on the session, which also will include representatives from the Department of Labor and the Department of Health.
Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor has organized a conference call for manufacturers on April 14, 2020 at 2:30pm to discuss best practices for coronavirus response. This opportunity to ask questions is presented in collaboration with Polaris MEP and RIMA.
If you have employees crossing the state border for work-related reasons, encourage them to carry a company ID badge or employee card so they are easily identified as part of the essential manufacturing sector. No ID cards? Consider what else you could provide them to ease movement in and out of the state.
Kudos to the many businesses that have taken the Manufacturing Pledge, committing to compliance with Rhode Island Department of Health COVID-19 safety guidelines. RI manufacturing business leaders should expect changes to occupational safety requirements, to reflect the new coronavirus reality. The procedures outlined in RIMA’s Internal Review Checklist, seem an excellent way to ensure you’re ready for change.
The Rhode Island Manufacturers Association (RIMA) has been working with Rhode Island Commerce, Polaris MEP and others to advocate for manufacturers remaining open safely during the COVID-19 response. We are asking ALL manufacturers to pledge to maintain compliance with DOH coronavirus protocols and to show your commitment to workplace safety and supply chain integrity. Please click here to take the Pledge. Return your form to RIMA by April 30. Click here to download an Internal Review Checklist, due back by April 30.
MARCH 25, 2020:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration took action to increase U.S. supplies to support the U.S. response to COVID-19 by providing instructions to manufacturers importing personal protective equipment and other devices. Click here for instructions.
In food production/processing facilities and retail food establishments, an evaluation should be made to identify and implement operational changes that increase employee separation. However, social distancing to the full 6 feet will not be possible in some food facilities.Click here for FAQs (frequently asked questions) from the FDA.
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released Guidance for State & Local Government -“Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” (Industries and Sectors Thought to Be Essential).
Find the CISA guidance here.
MARCH 22, 2020:
Rhode Island’s manufacturing employers are in a unique position: some are laying off, but others are hiring because they supply critical products into this new world landscape. Polaris MEP has launched a pilot connecting these two scenarios, so it’s easier for a manufacturing company to find someone accustomed to work on a manufacturing floor.Go to the RI Manufacturing Talent Exchange webpage to notify the DLT about hiring needs or displaced employees.
MARCH 16, 2020:
Congressman Jim Langevin is holding a “telephone town hall” about COVID-19 tonight. Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott will join him to offer updates and answer questions. Call 855-962-1080 on Tuesday, March 17, at 6:15pm to participate.
We continue to work with various state agencies, passing along the concerns manufacturers are sharing with us. Please email us ([email protected]) with questions.