atrubia@ricentral.com

NORTH KINGSTOWN – Going into November, North Kingstown Town Manager Ralph Mollis provided residents with updates on town services amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Updates touched on the gradual and “very limited” reopening of the Beechwood Senior Center, as well as library services and the food pantry.  

Mollis provided the updates on the town’s website.

“[W]e are already well into our fall season. I hope this message finds you and your families well and the days and months ahead are safe and enjoyable,” he said. “Our thoughts continue to go out to the members of our community who have lost someone they care about due to COVID or have experienced hardships as a result of this pandemic.”

Mollis said that the town continues to “be at the forefront in North Kingstown in moving safely forward in this pandemic while providing the valuable and important services our residents have come to expect.”

“This could not take place without the hard work, dedication, and contributions from the employees of North Kingstown,” he continued.

Mollis said in his updates that the senior center was in weekly discussions “with hopes of expanding their virtual and in-person services and transitioning to a gradual safe reopening.”

And on Monday, he confirmed that the Senior Center would begin a limited reopening this week.

“The Senior Center has reopened on a very limited basis this week,” he said. “They are open by appointment for any services or questions that can be addressed. They are hoping to increase the reopening next week with some programs requiring pre-registration.”

Marie Marcotte, director of the senior center, said she was in regular communication with Mollis, the Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging and other senior centers.  

“I continue to monitor the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) statistics and have weekly discussions with our Town Manager, Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging, and other Senior Centers towards reopening Beechwood,” Marcotte said in a newsletter. “Careful decisions are being made in accordance with [Center of Disease Control and Prevention] and state guidance.”

Curbside pick-up boxed lunches will continue to be offered Monday through Friday, though, at this time, the Federal Meal program has not returned to a hot lunch option.

The senior center will also continue offering exercise classes virtually, which can be found by searching for “Town of North Kingstown” on YouTube.  Veterans’ Benefits will be offered by phone in December. The Beechwood Book Club and Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults are also being operated virtually, as well, and Music Appreciation with Lloyd Kaplan is available on the Town of North Kingstown’s YouTube webpage for “leisure enjoyment.”

“Our Social Services staff is available by appointment and we are providing transportation for grocery shopping, on a limited basis, for individuals who are unable to drive,” Marcotte continued.

And Friends of Beechwood 2021 memberships are now open to new members, with renewals beginning in December. For more information and updates on the Beechwood Senior Center, visit www.northkingstown.org/387/Senior-Human-Services.

Mollis also said the town’s library has reopened as well. Reopening schedules for the senior center and library can be found at their websites, as well as COVID-19 protocols and operations.

The town manager went on to detail information for North Kingstown business owners who might be in need of assistance.

“If you own a business in North Kingstown and need our assistance in reopening under the current state guidelines, please contact us via our viewpoint application process or by calling or emailing us,” he said. “Also contact the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce for assistance or access to grant funds under the state’s Take It Outside Grant Program.”

“The State of Rhode Island and Rhode Island Department of Health also encourage local businesses to familiarize themselves with the reopening process by visiting their website and reviewing the Phase III guidelines,” he continued.

Gov. Gina Raimondo recently made changes to the Phase Three guidelines, further limiting capacity restrictions and implementing a stay-at-home advisory. Raimondo also directed bars and restaurants to stop serving by 10 p.m. on weeknights and 10:30 p.m. on weekends. (For more information, visit https://health.ri.gov.)

Mollis also discussed protocols for the town’s food pantry.

“If there are individuals or families in need of food services, please call the North Kingstown Food Pantry at (401) 885-3663 and leave a message and give your name and telephone number,” he said. “The food pantry will call you back and schedule a time for you to come to the pantry.”

The North Kingstown Food Pantry, an emergency pantry that does not turn anyone away who asks for food, is located at 445 School Street.

“They do not require any proof of income but do ask for proof of residency,” Mollis said. “The food pantry will provide a week’s worth of groceries with the amount being determined by the family size. They are well stocked and welcome those who require their services.”

For more information, visit www.northkingstown.org.

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