NORTH KINGSTOWN — As COVID-19 vaccines continue to be rolled out across the Ocean State, many people have questions about the process. 

Before any business was addressed during the North Kingstown Town Council meeting on Monday night, Council President Gregory Mancini addressed these concerns. 

During the public comment part of the meeting Mancini discussed how he has had many people ask him questions and share their frustration regarding when they will be receiving their vaccination. 

“Based on what I am learning everyday, it is clear to me that the COVID vaccination process is very confusing and very frustrating,” Mancini stated. “I have observed how our town and other towns are dealing with this crisis and I want the citizens of North Kingstown to know that I am more confident than ever that our town government is doing everything it can to ensure that those who are eligible in our community that want vaccinations will get vaccinations as soon as possible.” 

Later on in the meeting, during the town administrator report, North Kingstown Town Administrator Ralph Mollis also discussed the latest about COVID-19 as it pertains to the town. 

Mollis informed the council that 720 vaccinations will become available in the next eight weeks for residents age 75 or older.

In order to help the community members, Mollis said that they will be contacting these residents when they become available to make appointments. 

With the 720 vaccines becoming available Mollis said that it will allow for 25 percent of the total 75 or older community in town to be vaccinated and that 50 percent of those who registered with the town in that same age bracket will be able to get vaccinated. 

Mollis explained that while not all COVID-19 vaccines will be able to be provided by the town at this time due to the number they are expected to receive, he said that the rest of them will come from pharmacies as well as the state centralized vaccination center once they are set up. In the meantime Mollis is asking any residents that have questions about the vaccines at the pharmacies to check out the town’s social media pages, its website, or to call city hall and they will help answer any questions they can. 

He also informed the council that they are expected to get more updates about plans from the state in the coming days and when the time comes he will inform the public. Until then, he said they are going to continue what they are doing. 

“We are going to continue to ask for more doses, we are going to continue to ask for more control at the local level,” Mollis said. “And we’re going to ask for more vaccines.”

While there continues to be uncertainty in regards to the COVID-19 vaccine, one thing that Mollis is sure of is the town staff’s commitment to helping people —  whether it’s getting people signed up for the registry, answering their questions or anything in between. 

“Our staff has worked really hard on this,” Mollis said referring to their work with the vaccine rollout. “They are really putting people at ease during this very troubling time.”

Also during his report, Mollis announced that the North Kingstown Police Department was one of 14 departments in the state to be awarded a grant to purchase a designated DUI enforcement police cruiser. 

Mollis said during the council meeting that the cruiser was used for the first time this weekend as part of the Rhode Island DUI Task Force.

In other news, the town council approved a Class C Liquor License for a new business coming to town. 

The liquor license was awarded to Sweet Marie’s Tea Cottage which is owned by North Kingstown resident Lindsey Andrews. 

Andrews described her new business as being a modern take on English tea rooms where they plan to have tea and pastries available for a package price. She said their goal is to have both walk-in service as well as party accommodations. With the liquor license she explained that they are hoping to have craft cocktails to go along with their menu. 

Carrie Kolb, from the Wickford Village Association spoke during the discussion saying that after they met with her they are excited to have a new business in the village that will help bring people to town. 

“I have gotten to know Lindsey and she answered every single question I have had and listened to concerns folks may have that comes with having a liquor license,” Kolb said  before announcing that the merchants in the village voted to recommend the council approve the liquor license. 

After the vote was taken the council expressed how they felt about the new business coming to town. 

“Congratulations Lindsey, we look forward to seeing you in Wickford,” Mancini said. 

In an email after the meeting Andrews said they are expected to open to the public in May. 

The next North Kingstown Town Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. 

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