4-5-20 The Latest from DPH. As of April 5, 2020, there are 12,500 confirmed cases of the coronoavirus (COVID-19) in Massachusetts, an increase of 764 cases since the day before. There are 1,145 people hospitalized, an increase of 77 from Saturday, and 231 people have died from causes related to the virus, 15 more than reported on Saturday. The latest data is here.
4-4-20 The Latest from DPH. As of April 4, 2020, there are 11,736 confirmed cases of the coronoavirus (COVID-19) in Massachusetts, an increase of 1,334 cases since the day before. There are 1068 people hospitalized, an increase of 102 from Friday, and 216 people have died from causes related to the virus, 24 more than reported on Friday. The latest data is here.
4-3-20 The Latest from DPH. As of April 3, 2020, there are 10,402 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Massachusetts, an increase of 1,436 cases since the day before. There are 966 people hospitalized, an increase of 153 from Thursday, and 192 people have died from causes related to the virus, 38 more than reported on Thursday. The latest data is here.
4-3-20 Quincy Testing Sites. There will be two sites in Quincy where drive-thru testing for the coroanavirus will occur. Please note that these sites are not open to the general public.
One site is located at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s Quincy headquarters at 1600 Crown Colony Drive. To get a test at the site, individuals must first be screened by ConvenientMD and then be referred to the site as appropriate by the medical provider. The guidelines for accessing the site can be found here.
The other site is located at Manet Community Health Center at 110 East Squantum Street in Quincy. This site is not open to the general public. Those screened and tested in the tent will be patients who receive their care at Manet, or need access to primary care. The tent will be staffed by board-certified infectious disease, internal medicine and urgent care physicians, who are highly trained in safety precautions and infection control measures. The drive-through tent will enable screened individuals, first screened over the phone, to then arrive by appointment and remain in their cars/vehicles for testing. Again, this is not a walk-in site. Patients must have an appointment; and not all persons are deemed in need of testing.
Some residents who live near the Manet site have contacted my office with concerns regarding having a testing site at that location. What we have learned from Manet is that “testing in a car rather than entering a facility adds yet another layer of safety for patients, community residents and staff alike. The patients and testing pose no risk to neighbors. Testing via a mobile model is not how COVID-19 spreads. COVID-19 requires close contact (within 6 feet for over 10 minutes) for someone to become infected. The CDC website has excellent and current information on COVID-19 including prevention and spread. Please be assured that this mode of testing patients is not a health risk to those who live nearby and will only serve to improve the health of our community. The community will be healthier for this as the testing, along with the clinical follow-up and education before and after an individual has been screened and tested, are the best defenses we have against COVID-19.” You can go to CDC – Coronavirus (COVID-19) for general information, or here for CDC information on how the virus spreads.
4-3-20 Community Tracing Collaborative. The Baker-Polito Administration has created a COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC) to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. A collaboration between the administration and Partners In Health, it is the first of its kind in the nation. The purpose of the initiative is to trace the contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients, and to support individuals in quarantine. Find more information here.
4-3-20 In Need of Food. If you or somebody you know is in need of food during this crisis, the South Shore Hunger Network can point you to local food resources.
4-3-20 Assistance for Seniors. South Shore Elder Services has always provided great services to the senior community throughout the region. Thankfully, they are still operating, virtually, and continue to be a great resource to our office. If you are a senior and a client of South Shore Elder Services, or any senior in need of services, please do not hesitate to reach out to them.
4-2-20 The Latest from DPH. As of April 2, 2020, there are 8,966 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Massachusetts, an increase of 1,228 cases since the day before. There are 813 people hospitalized, an increase of 131 from Wednesday, and 154 people have died from causes related to the virus, 32 more than reported on Tuesday. The latest data is here.
4-2-20 Parking restricted at Wollaston Beach. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has announced parking restrictions at DCR beaches, including Wollaston Beach. Effective Friday, April 3, 2020 at 12:00 noon, all parking along Quincy Shore Drive and Wollaston Beach will be closed. There will be two small areas on Quincy Shore Drive (located South of Sachem Street and at Morse Street) that will remain open for 15 minute parking. Parking areas at Caddy Park will also be closed.
4-2-20 Health Connector Insurance. If you have lost your job and are worried about health insurance coverage for you and your family, the Massachusetts Health Connector may be an option for you. You can find information here.
4-2-20 Complete Your Census. There’s a lot going on, but please do not forget to complete the 2020 Census. You can complete it online if you have your 12-digit Census ID. It does not take long to complete, and getting an accurate count for our communities will ensure that we get a fair share of important federal funding. Please, complete the Census form.
4-2-20 City of Quincy Housing Assistance. The City of Quincy has established two programs to help individuals with housing assistance, one for hospitality workers being coordinated by the Quincy Chamber of Commerce and one for all other workers being coordinated by Quincy Community Action Programs (QCAP). The programs are being funded by an emergency appropriation from the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Follow this link for daily updates from the City of Quincy.
Hospitality workers, please contact the Quincy Chamber of Commerce at www.quincyhospitalitysupportfund.com, 617-471-1700 or email@example.com for an application and details of the hospitality workers program.
4-1-20 As of April 1, 2020, there are 7,738 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Massachusetts, an increase of 1,118 cases since the day before. There are 682 people hospitalized, an increase of 120 from Tuesday, and 122 people have died from causes related to the virus, 33 more than reported on Tuesday. The latest data is here.
3-31-20 Governor Baker announced today an extension until May 4, 2020 of his earlier Order regarding the closing of non-essential services and certain workplaces, and prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people. Today’s Order can be found here, and an updated list of “Essential Services” can be found here. For an updated list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relative to the Order and Essential Services, click here. Also, the Department of Public Health today issued a Stay-at-Home-Advisory.
3-31-20 As of March 31, 2020, there are 6,620 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), an increase of 868 cases since the day before. There are 562 people hospitalized, an increase of 109 from Monday, and 89 people have died from causes related to the virus, 33 more than reported on Monday. The latest data is here.
3-31-20 The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has released some new educational resources for students and families, updated recommendations for remote learning, and announced a partnership with the PBS Learning Media and WGBH’s online Distance Learning Center.
3-30-20 For those looking for a good summary, and also detail, regarding the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) recently passed by Congress and signed by the President, I recommend that prepared by the National Conference of State Legislatures. You can access the full bill, a bill summary, or click on one of the tabs to get information on a particular subject area. You can find it here.
3-30-20 The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a helpful website for small businesses seeking guidance relative to the CARES Act. In particular, it has produced a Small Business Guide and Checklist that outlines what small businesses, independent contractors and gig economy workers need to do to access available funds.
3-30-20 If you or somebody you know is interested in selling or donating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help the Commonwealth in its efforts against the coronavirus, you can use the portal found here.
3-30-20 As of Monday, March 30, 2020, there are 5,732 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), an increase of 979 cases. There are 453 people hospitalized, an increase of 54 from Sunday, and 56 people have died from causes related to the virus, 8 more than reported on Sunday. The latest data is here.
3-28-20 As of Saturday, March 28, 2020, there are 4,257 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), an increase of 1017 cases since Friday. There are 350 people hospitalized, an increase of 62, and 44 people have now died from causes related to the virus, 9 more than on Friday. The latest data is here.
3-27-20 As of Friday, March 27, 2020, there are 3,240 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), an increase of 823 cases since the day before. There are 288 people hospitalized as a result of the virus, an increase of 69 from the day before. And, 35 people have now died from causes related to the virus, 10 more than the day before. The latest data is here.
3-27-20 Federal Relief Bill
I was on the phone today with Senator Edward Markey receiving an update on the coronavirus relief bill passed by the U.S. Senate when the House of Representatives passed the bill. More details to follow.
3-27-20 2019 State Income Tax Filing Deadline
The Governor, State Senate, and House of Representatives have reached an agreement to extend the Massachusetts state income tax filing deadline until July 15, 2020, to match the extended federal income tax filing date. Details can be found here.
3-27-20 New Virus Assessment Tool
The Commonwealth has announced the launch of an online tool for residents concerned they may have symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon accessing the website, each person will be asked a few basic questions regarding their symptoms, and the tool will assess whether, based on that information, referral to the next appropriate health care resource is in order. The assessment will be done based on information from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please note that the tool is not a substitute for emergency medical care. A person who is in acute distress should still contact their physician or 911 as appropriate.
The new 24/7 tool, made available by a Massachusetts company called Buoy, is free for Massachusetts residents. You can learn more and access the tool at Buoy.com/mass.
3-27-20 Medical Professionals Needed
Already the coronavirus (COVID-19) is putting strains on our health care delivery system. To address the need for medical professionals, the Commonwealth has taken several steps, including the following:
- Medical school students who would otherwise have graduated but for the declared State of Emergency, and who have matched as an intern, resident or fellow with a Board-approved Massachusetts health care facility or training program, will be able to apply to the Board of Registration of Medicine for an emergency 90 day license to practice.
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) in good standing will be able to practice with greater flexibility, as follows:
- APRNs who have at least two years of supervised practice experience will be allowed to prescribe without physician supervision.
- APRNs with fewer than two years of supervised practice experience will be allowed to prescribe with physician supervision, but without the normally required written guidelines.
- Certified nurse midwives will be allowed to continue to prescribe as already authorized.
Read the order here.
- Residents with medical backgrounds interested in volunteering will by matched by the Massachusetts Medical Society with communities and health care providers based on skill sets and need. There is an immediate need for respiratory therapists and public health nurses. Those interested in volunteering can sign up at MAResponds.org.
3-26-20 As of Thursday, March 26, 2020, there are 2,417 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19), an increase of 579 cases since the day before. There are 219 people hospitalized as a result of the virus, an increase of 116 from the day before. And, 25 people have now died from causes related to the virus, 10 more than the day before. The latest data is here.
3-25-20 – Today Governor Baker announced that all public and private elementary and secondary schools and non-emergency childcare programs will be closed until no sooner than Monday, May 4, 2020. To see the order regarding schools, click here, and to see the Order regarding childcare programs, click here.
3-25-20 American Red Cross in need of donations
Nearly 3,000 blood drives across the country have been cancelled, so the American Red Cross is in urgent need for blood donations for people with chronic conditions and for those who have suffered trauma. In Massachusetts, the donating of blood is considered an essential service. Giving blood has always been safe, and the Red Cross has put in place enhanced measures to ensure the health safety of its staff and donors.
You can get more information and schedule an appointment to donate at the American Red Cross, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800) 733-2767.
To schedule a new blood drive: contact Bill Forsyth at (617) 699-3808 or email William.Forsyth@redcross.org.
3-25-20 Unemployment Assistance Virtual Town Halls
The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has been offering a series of virtual town halls to assist individuals with the filing of claims for unemployment. The next two are scheduled as follows: Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. and Friday, March 27, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.
For more information on how to signup for a town hall or to download instructions on how to file a claim, please click here.
3-25-20 New DPH Daily Data Dashboard and Text Alerts
The Department of Public Health (DPH) has a new dashboard that provides more information relative to the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Massachusetts. The dashboard provides additional data as to the the county, sex, exposure of confirThe DPH Daily Case and Testing Dashboard now provides additional data categories to provide the public more information on the outbreak in Massachusetts. In addition to the county where cases have been confirmed, there is data relating to the age, sex, and exposure of confirmed cases. The dashboard is here.
DPH also announced the launch of a new text-based notification system, “AlertsMA”, to deliver important information about the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response. By texting keyword COVIDMA to 888-777 you will receive short messages and links to information directly on your cell phone or other mobile device.
3-25-20 Utility Shutoffs Temporarily Prohibited
The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued an order prohibiting investor-owned utility companies during the State of Emergency or until DPU otherwise determines, from sending communications threatening to shut off, and from shutting off gas, electric, and water utility service to any customers for failure to pay a bill or a portion of a bill. For complete information, go here.
3-25-20 Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) closes state athletic fields and courts
DCR has temporarily closed athletic fields and courts, such as basketball, tennis, handball, pickle ball, and bocce, as well as DCR owned ice rinks, visitor center, campgrounds, playgrounds fitness areas, and bathroom facilities throughout the state parks system effective March 24, 2020 until Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at which time the closures will be reassessed. Please note, however, that all state parks across the Commonwealth remain open and available for the public to visit. Residents visiting the parks are urged to avoid gathering in groups of ten or more people, to maintain social distancing, and to carry out any trash they may generate while visiting, e.g. food wrappers, and water bottles. For more information visit DCR COVOD-19
3-25-20 Massachusetts RMV offers additional information on appointment-only reservation
Effective March 24, 2020, the RMV will be operating an appointment- 0nly reservation system for certain necessary and required in-person transactions at the RMV’s eight open and operating Service Centers. These transactions include certain Commercial Driving License (CDL) transactions and some new registrations. Appointment reservation times will be available on a rolling basis up to two business days in advance and can be booked here. Customers who make an appointment will be sent a confirmation email that they should be prepared to show on arrival.
For RMV information regarding suspension hearings and reinstatements, 60-day extensions of CDL medical certificates, REAL IDs, and other transactions, visit the RMV.
For information about available services and additional steps the RMV has taken under the State of Emergency declaration, including the extension of expiring licenses / permits and vehicle inspection stickers, please visit the RMV COVID-19 site.
3-24-20 Governor Baker issues Order Assuring Continued Operation of Essential Services in the Commonwealth, Closing Certain Workplaces, and Prohibiting Gatherings of More than 10 People. The Order is set forth below, but can also be found here. A list of “Essential Services” can be found here. Guidance on gatherings can be found here.
In sum, effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 12:00 noon and continuing until Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 12:00 noon, only businesses that provide essential functions and services related to COVID-19 will be permitted to operate. All other businesses that do not provide COVID-19 essential services shall close their workplaces (brick and mortar, not virtual) and facilities. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants providing takeout services are considered essential, and safe distancing practices should be followed at each location.
The Order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people, with the exception that individuals can gather outdoors in an unenclosed area, provided safe distancing is practiced.
To keep up to date on the latest from your State government, follow this link.
I will update this page as the news breaks. Thank you. Stay healthy – for you, your family, neighbors, and friends!
3-23-20 According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, as of March 23, 2020, there have now been 9 deaths as a result of the coronavirus. Updated numbers from the DPH are below:
3-23-2020 The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) will be offering a series of virtual town halls to assist individuals with the filing of claims for unemployment. They are scheduled as follows:
- Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. Spanish Town Hall
- Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 9:00 AM
- Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 11:30 AM
- Friday, March 27, 2020 at 9:00 AM
For more information on how to signup for a town hall or to download instructions on how to file a claim, please click here.
3-22-20 The Registry of Motor Vehicles announced that as of Friday, March 20, 2020, it will be implementing a 60-day extension to Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) and Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLPs) that have expired or are set to expire in March and April. RMV Service Centers in Milford and Wilmington have reopened to exclusively perform commercial license/permit transactions.
All commercial licenses or permits with an expiration date between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, will have the 60-day extension applied to that customer’s credential. The RMV is asking that customers eligible for these extensions should wait until after the State of Emergency has been lifted before visiting an RMV Service Center to renew.
The RMV is also extending the time during which newly registered vehicles must be inspected, which is typically within 7 days of the date of registration.
RMV information can be found here.
3-22-20 United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted on Friday that the federal tax filing deadline would be extended to July 15, however he urged all Americans to file earlier in order to get tax refunds as soon as possible. More information will follow on this announcement.
3-19-20 On Thursday, March 19, 2020, Governor Baker activated the Massachusetts National Guard. The main responsibility of the Guard will be to support requests from state agencies for “equipment, logistics, warehousing, and related duties.” Up to 2,000 National Guard members may be activated. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is advising cities, towns and state agencies to submit requests for support through MEMA. For more information, click here.
Governor Baker’s order authorizes activation of up to 2,000 National Guard members across the Commonwealth, who will be tasked with supporting requests from state agencies for equipment, logistics, warehousing, and related duties. Local cities, towns, and state agencies should submit requests for support through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
The link for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is here.
For information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, click here.
Information from the World Health Organization is here.
For information from the communities I represent, please click on
For up to date information about COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts or residents subject to quarantine, please visit this link: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-cases-quarantine-and-monitoring
The information below has been provided through a Senate Bulletin, prepared by a bi-partisan Massachusetts State Senate working group, established by Senate President Karen Spilka and chaired by State Senator Jo Comerford. Many thanks for their work.
3-19-20 U.S. Senate passes the Families First Coronavirus Response Act:
3-19-20 On March 18, 2020, the Massachusetts State Senate and House of Representatives passed, and Governor Baker signed, An Act Authorizing Waiver of the One Week Waiting Period for Unemployment Benefits. This law, Chapter 40 of the Acts of 2020, covers unemployment related to COVID-19, and takes effect immediately. More information can be found here.
3-19-20 On March 18, 2020, the US Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. A news article about that can be found here: https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/488264-senate-passes-houses-coronavirus-bill-sending-it-to-trump
3-19-20 Small Business Administration Administrative Declaration of an Economic Injury Disaster for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
The U.S. Small Business Administration issued a notice of an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) declaration for all counties in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on 3-18. More information about what this declaration means can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/small-business-administration-disaster-loans
Applications can be filled out here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
3-19-20 Childcare Operations: Governor Baker issued an Executive Order requiring all early education centers and family childcare providers to close, starting Monday March 23 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) also issued emergency procedures to set forth a process for opening Exempt Emergency Child Care Programs during the COVID-19 outbreak to provide priority access for families of emergency personnel, medical staff, and others critical to confronting COVID-19.
Read the Executive Order here: Early Education and Care Order
3-19-20 Exempt Emergency Child Care Programs: Exempt Emergency Child Care Programs will be the only child care programs able to operate during the COVID-19 outbreak. Families who work to maintain the health, safety, and welfare of all Commonwealth citizens will receive priority access to emergency childcare programs and these centers should only be used by people who must go to work. Vulnerable children will also receive priority access and space will be made for people who must go to work but aren’t necessarily emergency personnel.
- The Department of Early Education and Care put procedures in place to quickly review applications for emergency child care programs, and to conduct expedited background record checks for childcare teachers and staff.
- The Department is working to ensure there is sufficient access to emergency child care programs in each region of the Commonwealth, so those workers who need childcare can still access it.
- A proposed program can be either a currently-licensed child care program, or a new program such as a location within or near a medical facility.
- Providers impacted by these closures will continue to receive child care subsidy payments from the state. This ensures that programs will be able to re-open once the crisis is over. Parents who receive subsidies will not lose their vouchers, and will be able to eventually resume care. EEC will cover the cost of parent fees for subsidized families enrolled in care.
- All programs that would like to operate must complete the EEC’s Emergency Licensing and Background Record Check process. Programs that have a current license and educators with confirmed background checks will be expedited for approval.
- Programs must adhere to strict safety and health standards established by the Department of Public Health and Executive Office of Health and Human Services.
3-19-20 Public Health Orders: Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel signed three public health orders on March 18, 2020 which do the following:
- The first Order relaxes administrative requirements so as to allow physician’s assistants who previously worked on elective surgeries to be used elsewhere in the hospital under a different supervising physician.
- The second Order, due to the expected demands on nursing staff, would allow pharmacists to administer certain medication for the treatment of opioid use disorder, where, under normal circumstances, such medication must be administered by a nurse.
- The third Order requires Local Board of Health to disclose the addresses – but no other identifying information – of those diagnosed with COVID-19 to the official in charge of emergency calls in the jurisdiction. That information can only be used for responding to emergency calls and is to be kept confidential.
3-19-20 Extending the Licenses of Certain Licensed Professionals: Governor Baker signed a new emergency order to ensure that licensed professionals do not have their licenses or registrations lapse due to unforeseen problems with renewal during the COVID-19 emergency. Specifically, under this order, occupational or professional licenses of individuals that are in good standing and that would otherwise be up for renewal during the COVID-19 emergency shall be extended for 90 days after the end of the public health emergency. This order does not affect license extensions that have already been granted in earlier emergency orders.
Read the Emergency Order here: Extension of Professional Licensure Order
3-19-20 Small Business Relief: The Baker-Polito Administration on March 18, 2020 announced administrative tax relief measures for small local businesses which have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. This tax relief includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.
- Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes, and business that paid less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes.
- The Department of Revenue is currently drafting emergency regulations to implement these administrative relief measures, and they are expected to be finalized before Friday, March 20, 2020.
3-19-20 Department of Environmental Protection suspends bottle redemption enforcement
Out of an abundance of caution due to the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office are suspending enforcement of the requirements for retailers to accept beverage containers that have a deposit effective immediately until further notice or until the current state of emergency is terminated. Many grocers, supermarkets, and other retail operations have indicated that they are overwhelmed with an unprecedented volume of customers purchasing provisions. Temporarily suspending enforcement of these requirements will allow individual retailers to assess their operations and, if necessary and appropriate, shift staffing to enable smoother operations. This action will also limit any contamination that potentially could occur from staff handling used beverage containers. Consumers are encouraged to hold on to their deposit containers for redemption at a later date or to recycle those containers with existing household recycling. https://www.mass.gov/news/massachusetts-to-temporarily-suspend-bottle-redemption-enforcement
3-19-20 Division of Banks guidance for financial institutions working with customers affected by COVID-19
The Massachusetts Division of Banks recognizes the potential for COVID-19 to adversely affect the customers and operations of financial institutions. The Division encourages financial institutions to take steps to meet the financial services needs of affected customers and communities https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2020/03/16/COVID-19%20DOB%20Industry%20Statement%2003-16-20.pdf
3-19-20 Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) sends survey to municipal police and fire chiefs
The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS)is tracking all PPE’s (Personal Protective Equipment) and resources from public safety entities. In partnership with MA Chiefs of Police and MA Dept of Fire Services, EOPSS sent a survey to municipal police and fire chiefs asking them to identify their PPE supplies and needs. If one of your chiefs did not received this email, please have them contact MCOPA or DFS, at:
Chief Mark K. Leahy, Executive Director Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association:
Office: (774) 293-2587
Cell: (508) 922-8370
Peter J. Ostroskey, State Fire Marshal, Department of Fire Services
Office: (978) 567-3111
3-18-20 Guidance on Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is working closely with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to activate the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program which would provide assistance to eligible businesses and non-profits impacted by COVID-19. EIDLs provide small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses until normal operations resume.
Affected small businesses and non-profits should download, complete, and submit the SBA EIDL Worksheet and Instructions to expedite activation of the EIDL program. For questions, please contact Disaster.Recovery@mass.gov. Full guidance regarding the program is here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/small-business-assistance-for-covid-19?fbclid=IwAR3nJTouJT8xxlZ2KSrVD6NbFmhY2VNzBGAyA7yMv8DX3CPTowEzyU6reKo
3-18-20 DPH emergency credentialing and licensed staff transfer procedures
The Department of Public Health issued an order regarding expedited credentialing process for licensed independent practitioners and expedited transfers of licensed clinical staff among facilities.
The full DPH order on credentialing and staffing can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/order-of-the-commissioner-of-public-health-implementing-emergency-credentialing-and-licensed/download
3-18-20 Division of Insurance coverage for telehealth
The Division of Insurance issued an order on 3-16 regarding insurance coverage for medically necessary telehealth services.
The full order is here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-15-2020-telehealth-order/download
3-18-20 For MBTA riders, please note that trains and buses are running with reduced service to support efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. More information can be found at the MBTA. Use of a real-time tracking app will be very helpful over the next few weeks. I have used ProximiT for a couple of years, and I know Boston Transit is used by many as well. These and others can be found in your App Store.
3-18-20 All public and private schools in the Commonwealth will be closed through April 6, 2020. The situation will be reviewed prior to that date to determine whether an extended closure is warranted. Please also check with your local school districts
3-18-20 All restaurants in Massachusetts will be limited to takeout and delivery only until April 6, 2020.
3-18-20 Grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open, although customers are advised to check the hours for such establishments.
3-16-20 Baker – Polito Administration announces $10 million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund
The $10 million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund will provide emergency capital up to $75,000 to Massachusetts-based businesses impacted by COVID-19 with under 50 full and part-time employees, including nonprofits. Loans are immediately available to eligible businesses with no payments due for the first 6 months.
How to Apply:
Please complete the application found on MGCC’s website, EmpoweringSmallBusiness.org. Completed applications can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “2020 Small Business Recovery Loan Fund”. MGCC can be reached by email: email@example.com
Loan Fund Details:
- Who Qualifies: Open to Massachusetts-based businesses impacted by COVID-19 with under 50 full- and part-time employees, including nonprofits (negative impact must be verifiable).
- Terms and Conditions: This fund is being offered with no payments due for the first 6 months, then 30-months of principal and interest payments and no prepayment penalties.
- Businesses can apply for loans up to $75,000.
3-16-20 MBTA announcement of reduced service
The MBTA has announced reduced service effective 3-17, and full updates and guidance from the MBTA can be found here: https://www.mbta.com/covid19
3-16-20 “No Sail” Order for Cruise Ship Operations
The CDC has issued a 30 day ‘No Sail’ order for any cruise ship which has not voluntarily suspended operations. The Coast Guard will assist the CDC in preventing cruise ships from embarking passengers in US ports. The Port of Boston does not currently have any cruise ship arrivals scheduled until April 17th, though will identify any cruise ships or vessels carrying 250 or more persons (passengers and crew) with an overnight itinerary, planning to embark passengers.
3-16-20 Updated Executive Order on large gatherings, restaurants, and on-premise food and beverage consumption
The Baker-Polito Administration issued an Executive Order to prohibit on-premise consumption of food or alcohol at restaurants, effective from 3-17 until 4-5. Restaurants will be able to provide food for take out or delivery.
The Baker Polito also revised its Executive Order prohibiting large gatherings of over 250 people to prohibit gatherings of over 25 people.
The full Executive Order can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-15-2020-large-gatherings-25-and-restaurants-order/download
3-16-20 Updated guidance on elementary and secondary school closures
The Baker-Polito Administration announced a three week suspension of all public and private elementary and secondary schools effective 3-17. School districts are still permitted to keep the buildings open for actions like getting food out to children who need it. Preschool and childcare services are not ordered to close, but are strongly urged to observe guidelines established by the Department of Public Health and the Department of Early Childhood Education.
The full order is here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-15-2020-school-closure-order/download
Full guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education can be found here: http://www.doe.mass.edu/sfs/emergencyplan/covid19.html
3-16-20 Guidance for Executive Branch employees on March 16th and 17th work
All non-emergency state employees working in Executive Branch agencies should not report to their workplace on Monday, March 16th and Tuesday, March 17th. Employees who are designated by their managers as emergency for the purposes of coronavirus planning should report to work. During this period, the administration will work to expand alternative work arrangements for the executive branch workforce and further develop plans to continue to provide essential state government services. The full announcement can be found here:
3-16-20 Department of Public Health guidance on insurance coverage for telehealth
The Department of Public Health issued guidance on March 15 that stipulates that all commercial insurers and the Group Insurance Commission are required to cover medically necessary telehealth services in the same manner they cover in-person services.
3-16-20 Registry of Motor Vehicles guidance on extending the renewal timelines
The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will extend the renewal timeline of certain credentials to reduce the need for customers to physically visit an RMV service center for in-person transactions. Effective this week, the RMV will implement a 60-day extension to the current expiration date for Class D, Class DMs, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits within the RMV system. All customers with expired/expiring credentials physically dated between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, will continue to have an active status within the RMV system until sixty (60) days after the expiration date printed on their credential. The full order can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-15-2020-rmv-license-extensions/download
3-16-20 Guidance for Hospitals on the Cancellation of Elective Procedures and Restricting Visitors
The Department of Public Health issued guidance on March 15th that hospitals must restrict visitors and cancel non-essential elective procedures, effective Wednesday. The announcement can be found here:
The order on restricting visitors can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-15-2020-hospital-visitor-restrictions-order
The order on non-essential elective procedures can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-15-2020-elective-procedures-order
3-16-20 Guidance on nursing home visitor prohibition
The Department of Public Health issued guidance on March 15th that assisted living residences are to ban visitors to protect the health of residents and staff. This is in addition to the federal guidance issued on Friday that bans visitors to nursing homes and rest homes. The announcement can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-emergency-actions-to-address-covid-19
3-16-20 Updated guidance from The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) and the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) regarding unemployment assistance
Regarding current unemployment claims, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) and the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) have taken the following actions:
- Suspending all requirements regarding attending seminars at the MassHire career centers.
- Missing deadlines due to effects of COVID-19 will be excused under DUA’s good cause provision.
- All appeal hearings will be held by telephone only.
The Department of Labor issued guidance to the states instructing state agencies to apply existing law flexibly. DUA may now pay unemployment benefits if a worker is quarantined due to an order by a civil authority or medical professional or leaves employment due to reasonable risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member and does not intend to or is not allowed to return to work. The worker need not provide medical documentation and need only be available for work when and as able.
To assist individuals who cannot work due to the impact of COVID-19, the Baker-Polito administration is filing emergency legislation that will allow new claims to be paid more quickly by waiving the one week waiting period for unemployment benefits.
EOLWD and DUA are also filing emergency regulations that will allow people impacted by COVID-19 to collect unemployment if their workplace is shut down and expects to reopen in four or fewer weeks. The following conditions apply:
- Workers must remain in contact with their employer during the shutdown.
- Workers must be available for any work their employer may have for them that they are able to do.
- An employer may request to extend the period of the covered shut-down to eight weeks, and workers will remain eligible for the longer period under the same conditions described above.
- If necessary, DUA may extend these time periods for workers and employers.
- Employers who are impacted by COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day grace period to file quarterly reports and pay contributions.
The pending federal legislation proposes further relief including additional money for unemployment benefits, and relief to employers for charges related to unemployment benefits paid due to COVID-19.
The announcement can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-emergency-actions-to-address-covid-19
3-16-20 Updates on Legislation to Assist Municipal Governance
Governor Baker announced a package of legislation to help address challenges to municipal governance resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, including potential delays in holding Town Meetings and adopting Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) municipal budgets. Provisions in the proposed legislation include:
- Amend existing statute authorizing Moderators to postpone Town Meetings by thirty days.
- Permit local Select Boards to postpone Town Meetings beyond the statutory June 30 deadline when the Governor has declared a state of emergency..
- Permit local Select Boards to temporarily adopt lower quorum rules.
- Permit continued month-to-month spending into FY21 by towns based on the prior fiscal year budget with approval of the Division of Local Services during states of emergency. Cities have similar authority under existing state law.
- Permit towns to access their free cash balance for FY21 spending with approval of the Division of Local Services.
- Permit municipal spending from revolving funds at the level set by their Fiscal Year 2020 appropriation until an FY21 budget is adopted.
- Authorize a three-year amortization period for deficit spending incurred as a result of COVID-19 crisis.
The announcement can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-emergency-actions-to-address-covid-19
3-16-20 Governor Baker files legislation for rescheduled Boston Marathon
Governor Baker also filed legislation designating September 14, 2020 as a legal holiday to support the rescheduled 2020 Boston Marathon. The announcement can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-emergency-actions-to-address-covid-19
Updates from Governor Baker 3-15 Press Conference:
Governor Charlie Baker, Health and Human Services Secretary MaryLou Sudders, and Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel provided the following guidance at a 6 PM press conference:
- Only emergency and executive branch employees should report to work tomorrow
- The Baker-Polito Administration is issuing a directive to all health insurers to cover telehealth services
- The Registry of Motor Vehicles will issue guidance extending renewals so residents do not need to visit the RMV for renewals at present
- The Baker-Polito Administration is directing hospitals to cancel all elective procedures beginning on Wednesday to create additional capacity in hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients
- The Baker-Polito Administration is issuing a prohibition on visitors to nursing homes
- The Baker-Polito Administration will file emergency legislation on Monday 3-16 to relax Unemployment Insurance guidelines, including waiving the one week waiting period to collect unemployment and expanding eligibility for collecting unemployment for people who have been impacted by COVID-19
- The Baker-Polito Administration will file emergency legislation on Monday to help municipal governments with town meetings and adopting budgets
- The Baker-Polito Administration will file legislation to move date of Boston Marathon to September
- The Baker-Polito Administration is amending its Executive Order on gatherings of larger than 250 people to prohibit all public gatherings of larger than 25 people including fitness centers and private clubs
- The Baker-Polito Administration is issuing guidance to prohibit on-premise consumption of food or alcohol at restaurants which will be effective from 3-17 until 4-17. Restaurants will be able to provide food for take out or delivery.
- The Baker-Polito Administration announced a three week suspension of all public and private elementary and secondary schools effective Tuesday – school can occur normally on Monday for districts that have not already suspended classes. School districts are still permitted to keep the buildings open for actions like getting food out to children who need it. Preschool and childcare services are not ordered to close, but are strongly urged to observe guidelines established by the Department of Public Health and the Department of Early Childhood Education.
Guidance on nursing home visitor restrictions:
On March 12, tThe Department of Public Health issued an emergency order restricting visitor access to nursing homes and rest homes to protect higher-risk populations from COVID-19. The full order and the Department’s guidance are linked here:
- Order: https://www.mass.gov/doc/order-of-the-commissioner-of-public-health-implementing-policies-and-procedures-for-restricting/download
- Guidance: https://www.mass.gov/doc/policies-and-procedures-for-restricting-resident-visitors-in-nursing-homes-and-rest-homes-and/download
Guidance on expediting licensing for nurses from another jurisdiction:
On March 11, tThe Board of Registration in Nursing updated its policies to expedite the processing of reciprocal license applications for nurses that are licensed in another jurisdiction to allow those applications to be processed in one business day. The full policy can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/expedited-processing-of-reciprocal-license-applications-in-the-event-of-a-declared-public/download
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPDATES AND GUIDANCE
Federal declaration of state of emergency:
On March 13 the President of the United States issued a proclamation declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak. The full proclamation can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-declaring-national-emergency-concerning-novel-coronavirus-disease-covid-19-outbreak/
US House of Representatives passes Families First Coronavirus Response Act:
On March 14 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) by a 363-40 vote. This legislation provides free coronavirus testing, secures paid emergency leave, enhances Unemployment Insurance, strengthens food security initiatives, and increases federal Medicaid funding to states. The bill now awaits U.S. Senate action, which is expected the week of March 16. A summary of the legislation can be found here: https://appropriations.house.gov/sites/democrats.appropriations.house.gov/files/Families%20First%20summary.pdf
March 14: Baker-Polito Administration announces creation of COVID-19 Response Command Center led by HHS Secretary Marylou Sudders
The Command Center, under the leadership of Secretary Sudders and reporting to Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, will be the Commonwealth’s single point of strategic decision making and coordination for the Administration’s comprehensive COVID-19 response. The Command Center will have complete authority and discretion to tap whatever state funds are necessary, including the $15 million recently appropriated by the Legislature for Coronavirus.
The Command Structure will enable expert teams to advance key initiatives including:
- Working to expand lab capacity for testing
- Planning quarantine operations
- Coordinating communication and guidance across government
- Responding to the needs of our local boards of health
- Monitoring supply chains
- Identifying surge capacity in the Commonwealth’s health network.
The Command Center will hold daily briefings with the Governor, key secretariats and agencies and will communicate regularly with other stakeholders such as municipalities and local boards of public health. The Command Center will work closely with and support the Department of Public Health’s ongoing response in conjunction with federal and local partners, and will include decision -makers from across state government, including:
- Executive Office of Health and Human Services
- Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
- Massachusetts Department of Transportation
- Executive Office of Education
- Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
- Executive Office of Technology and Security Services
- Human Resources Division
The Command Center will also facilitate coordination and communication with key stakeholder groups like the CDC, FDA, cities and towns, the Legislature, local boards of public health, and others.
March 14: Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Clinical Protocols for COVID-19 Testing
Updated protocols will expedite testing for patients with a range of symptoms and conditions as well as health care workers and emergency responders; MassHealth issues guidance to providers to ensure access to treatment including telehealth:
March 14: Mass Gaming Commission suspends casino operations
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted unanimously to temporarily suspend operation at the state’s three casino properties, including Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was made in collaboration and cooperation with Gaming Commission licensees to safeguard the health and well-being of casino guests, employees, and regulators.
The Gaming Commission is in close consultation with public health authorities and government officials to determine safe protocols for resuming operation. This decision will be re-assessed in two weeks, while an orderly shutdown process is actively underway. It is anticipated that the gaming floor will close to patrons at 5:59am on March 15, 2020. The full statement from Mass Gaming and COVID-19 realted updates can be found here: https://massgaming.com/news-events/covid19/
Updated guidance from the Department of Conservation and Recreation on park closures:
The Department of Conservation and Recreation announced a temporary closure of certain state conservation and recreation managed facilities. The full guidance can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-temporary-closure-of-certain-state-conservation-and
Updated guidance for first responders, law enforcement, businesses and schools:
The Department of Public Health has provided updated guidance and recommendations for emergency responders and law enforcement, businesses and employers, elementary and secondary schools, and colleges and universities:
- Guidance for emergency responders and law enforcement click here.
- Guidance for businesses and employers click here.
- Guidance for elementary and secondary schools click here.
- Guidance for colleges and universities click here
Updated guidance on jury trials and courthouse access:
On March 13, the Supreme Judicial Court postponed jury trials until after April 21 and issued restrictions on courthouse entry. This guidance is available through the following links: and issued updated guidance which can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/sjc-order-in-re-covid-19-coronavirus-pandemic-regarding-empanelment-of-juries
What is the guidance on prevention measures?
For a full and continuously updated list of best practices on prevention, please visit the MA Department of Health guidance on prevention: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-prevention-and-treatment#prevention-
Where can I find information about sick time laws, get help with insurance claims, or report price gouging?
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has provided resources specific to the coronavirus crisis, and you can find a full list of those resources here: https://www.mass.gov/news/ags-office-issues-guidance-on-coronavirus-resources-warns-of-consumer-scams
- Information about sick time laws: 617-727-3465
- Help with insurance claims or medical bills: 888-830-6277
- Report price gouging or defective products: 617-727-8400
- If you’re having difficulty negotiating a travel refund or are concerned about a potential scam, consider filing a complaint: http://www.mass.gov/how-to/file-a-consumer-complaint
Updated guidance on Open Meeting Law
On March 12, the Baker-Polito Administration issued an emergency order temporarily modifying the state’s Open Meeting Law in order to allow state, quasi and local governments to continue to carry out essential functions and operations during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. This emergency order suspends the requirement for public access to the physical location where a public meeting is taking place, provided there are other means of access available, such as a phone conference line, social media or other internet streaming services, or on-line meeting services. Additionally, the order relieves the requirement that a quorum of members be physically present at a public meeting. During this period, members may all participate by remote or virtual means. This order is applicable to meetings of public bodies including commissions, boards, and committees that engage in policy making at the state, quasi and local level, and it does not apply to Town Meetings or judicial and quasi-judicial hearings. The full text of the order is available at: https://www.mass.gov/doc/open-meeting-law-order-march-12-2020/download
Updated guidance on large gatherings
On March 13, Governor Baker issued an emergency order prohibiting most gatherings of over 250 people in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The order includes, but is not limited to, the following events: community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions, fundraisers, parades, fairs, festivals, and any similar event or activity that brings together 250 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time in a venue such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theatre, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space. The Governor also directed the Department of Public Health (DPH) to issue guidance implementing the terms of the Emergency Order. The full DPH guidance is available at: https://www.mass.gov/doc/guidance-regarding-the-order-by-the-governor-prohibiting-assemblages-of-more-than-250-people/download
Updated guidance on gas and electric shut offs
On March 13, the Department of Public Utilities issued a moratorium to suspend all shut-offs of gas and electric utilities, including Municipal Light and Gas Plants, for residential customers during the State of Emergency.
A Massport Traveler Advisory is continuously updated here: https://www.massport.com/massport/media/newsroom/traveler-advisory-regarding-covid-19/
Updated guidance for community-based and congregate care settings:
The Baker-Polito Administration has released new policies for Assisted Living Residences, Congregate Care Settings, In-Home Caregivers and Workers (Agency Based and Non-Agency Based), and Community Day Program Settings to further protect individuals served in community-based and congregate care settings from respiratory illnesses, including Coronavirus (COVID-19). This guidance is available through the following links:
- Assisted Living Residences
- Congregate Care Settings
- In-Home Caregivers (Agency Based)
- In-Home Caregivers (Non-Agency Based)
- Community Day Program Settings
Updated guidance on unemployment insurance:
The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) recently received federal guidance allowing for flexibilities regarding unemployment compensation for individuals affected by COVID-19. EOLWD is analyzing that guidance and pursuing potential emergency regulations which further enable them to assist individuals whose employment has been affected by the virus. The federal guidance can be found here: https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=8893
Additionally, in order to reduce in-person traffic at career centers and UI walk-in centers, EOLWD has suspended requirements related to the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment for the time being. Staff are in the process of contacting customers scheduled to appear at the centers to let them know that their benefits will not be impacted as a result of this change and that they will be back in touch with them when these services are re-scheduled.
State action on disaster and emergency response business assistance:
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the Baker-Polito Administration are working closely with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to activate the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program which would provide assistance to eligible businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19
The MEMA Small Business website and SBA survey forms are live as of Thursday. Guidance on cost tracking requirements under the Stafford Act has been sent to local officials.