Rhode Island is looking to help businesses affected by the ongoing Washington Bridge construction with a new campaign encouraging people to give Providence another try.

Governor Dan McKee announced on Monday that the state will run ads until June that will urge Rhode Islanders to support the businesses that have been innocent victims of the mess that broke out on I-195 in December when the westbound side of the bridge was suddenly shut down due to structural concerns.

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Rhode Island Launches New Ad Campaign

“They’re here for us. Let’s all be here for them.”

The sentiment is the core of Rhode Island’s newest campaign from Governor McKee and Rhode Island Commerce.

“With three lanes of travel now open in both directions on the Washington Bridge, this marketing campaign is a reminder for all Rhode Islanders to support and rally behind these small businesses by shopping, dining and buying local,” McKee said.

The campaign will be plastered on billboards and blasted on commercials, social media ads, print ads and radio ads in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

“This is a positive campaign that will bring together Rhode Islanders from every community in support of our neighbors who own or work at a small business,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos.

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Is The New Rhode Island Campaign True?

The new ad features eight local businesses directly affected by the bridge as they share how important “continued customer support” is during this time.

In the ad, the featured businesses harp on how traffic has decreased in the area, but how true is that?

“Traffic has definitely gotten better,” Wendy Brown Home said.

“The traffic is not bad at all,” said Check the Florist & Gilmore’s Flower Shop.

As a Rhode Islander who travels on the Washington Bridge daily, I’m happy to report this is true.

Since the addition of a third lane on both the east and westbound sides, my commute to and from work has drastically improved.

Now that more commuters are returning to their typical route over the bridge, downtown Providence has cleared up, making traveling around the city much better than just one month ago.

Is it perfect? No, but it's a start.

My hope is this new campaign will bring Rhode Islanders back to Providence and support local.

It's no exaggeration to say that these businesses need saving. As the new slogan says, let's be there for them.

Check out the eight businesses featured in the new campaign:

Check the Florist (East Providence)

El Mariachi (East Providence)

Friends and Family Dental (East Providence)

Gilmore’s Flower Shop (East Providence)

McBride’s Pub (Providence)

Miller’s Roast Beef (East Providence)

Vargas Auto Service (East Providence)

Wendy Brown Home (Providence)

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