Paolino Properties and its managing partner, Joe Paolino Jr., were featured during a spot on Channel 10 (WJAR) Thursday night regarding their participation in a state program that provides COVID-19 rapid tests to businesses to provide for their employees.
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(WJAR) — Clock in and get a COVID test; that’s the approach some businesses are taking with the help of the state, through a new program that gives out rapid testing kits.
“I want my tenants to feel like they’re in the safest building in Rhode Island,” real estate developer Joe Paolino said.
So, he’s providing tests for his tenants.
“It was suggested quite frankly, let’s do the entire building and whoever wants to do it,” Paolino said.
That’s what he’s doing at 100 Westminster street, home to about 800 employees of different businesses.
“They have their app, they get all checked in, they sit back here, and they have their test,” Paolino said, showing our NBC 10 crew where it’s done in the lobby.
Building staff members were trained to monitor the self-administered BinaxNOW tests. Paolino Properites gets as many as they need, thanks to a program with Rhode Island’s health department.
“This is a great way to meet people where they are and contribute to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace,” Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said.
The testing isn’t mandatory, but it’s a small way to make people feel more safe walking into work with more people coming into the building by the day.
“Before, maybe 10 percent of the workforce was coming in,” Paolino said. “Now, maybe 25 percent, and people feel a lot safer knowing that we’ve been proactive on this.”
With an application and a one-time fee under $200, Paolino says the endless supply of tests has been worth it to make office life a little safer; the hospitality industry says the same.
“It was forward thinking, and I’m glad we did it, and it’s proven to be very helpful and useful for us,” Director of Sales and Marketing with The Newport Experience Kate DeCosta said.
DeCosta says they test their staff weekly, and 48 hours before they serve a wedding.
“We have found positive cases, that we never would have known about,” she said.
DeCosta says as weddings and events expand, the tests can also be used on guests who aren’t able to get tested before coming on site.
They first used them at a mock wedding event at Ocean Cliff in January. She says having the tests is huge for reinstating events and reopening restaurants.
“Consumer confidence is a big thing,” DeCosta told NBC 10. “Knowing that your team is safe, that everyone serving you is safe and COVID negative, it’s a gamechanger.”
If you’re a business interested in signing up, you can call the state’s business testing contact center.
The Contact Center can be reached at 888-662-4354 or RIDOH.COVID19BizTesting@health.ri.gov.
It will be staffed with people who are able to provide support to businesses about the testing program over the phone or by email Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.