October 29, 2020 Governor Gina Raimondo today announced a new $20 million relief program targeted specifically to the hotel, arts & tourism industries (“HArT”). The two-part program will provide direct support grants, as well as placemaking activity grants to eligible businesses. The competitive grant program aims to prevent the long-term closure of arts, culture, hospitality and tourism businesses and institutions, while also building resiliency, workforce support, and community engagement.

“Rhode Island’s hospitality, tourism, and arts industries have made great sacrifices to ensure the safety of their customers and staff, and we need to do everything we can to help them through this pandemic,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “The HArT Relief Program will not only help these businesses stay open, but also to find innovative ways to adapt to this crisis.”

Of the $20 million grant allocation, $10 million will support engagement, service, and resiliency activities (“ESR Funds”). ESR funds are designed to spur economic activity, create safe convening opportunities, and allow increased and accessible artistic and tourist-friendly opportunities. Some examples of ESR activities could include: hosting COVID-appropriate events or activities, providing hotel vouchers and or discounts to those wishing to work or learn remotely, hosting safe meetings; and enabling virtual and remote events.

Additionally, $10 million will come in the form of direct support for hotels, arts, culture, and tourism organizations.

“Rhode Island’s arts and hospitality organizations are at the center of our economy and are at the heart of our community,” said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. “This program will help support this important sector – which has been hit so hard by the COVID-19 pandemic – and will contribute to its resurgence.”

Applicants may receive up to $1 million in direct support and up to $350,000 for ESR activities, depending on the size of the entity. Awards may not exceed the organization’s demonstrated revenue loss after accounting for other federal funding received.

“The arts in Rhode Island have been significantly impacted by COVID-19,” said Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. “During the pandemic the arts sector in Rhode Island literally ground to a halt. Theatres and concert halls and museums were shuttered, and artists and cultural workers lost their livelihoods. Arts jobs are jobs, and we are grateful to Governor Raimondo and Secretary Pryor for providing our state’s artists and arts organizations with the resources they need to survive.”

Direct support grant funds may be used for operating costs (including salaries), reopening costs, critical repairs/maintenance, adaptive upgrades, technical assistance, marketing support, activities to boost community wellbeing, and other activities to build up the sustainability and resilience of the hospitality and tourism industry in Rhode Island.

More information can be found at https://commerceri.com/hart-recovery-grant-program/. Applications will be posted by Monday, November 2 and applications must be submitted by Monday, November 9, 2020. Funds must be spent by December 30, 2020.

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