Dear Neighbors and Friends,
Today, Governor Baker predicted that Massachusetts will see a surge in COVID-19 cases between April 7th and April 17th based on what we have seen to date. The Administration is pushing very hard along with local hospitals to be ready for this anticipated surge. If you have supplies or a connection to them, you can now directly connect to the State’s procurement here. Thank you to everyone who has responded trying to help with this effort. I think we are getting to a place where we will be much better prepared than it appeared even a few days ago.
The past two weekends, a great artist in Back Bay made chalk drawings on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall that I wanted to share. They are well done and make accurate points.
On Friday, the federal government passed a $2 trillion stimulus package, also known as the CARES Act, to help combat the effects of COVID-19. I wanted to provide a summary of what was included. You can find it HERE. Please feel free to reach out with any questions regarding this bill.
The national stay-at-home guidelines were extended to April 30th.
- State Legislation Action – the House on Friday and Senate today passed a bill to:
- Permit establishments licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption to sell wine and beer via delivery and take-out provided the wine or beer is sold in the same transaction as a purchase of food and in a sealed container.
- Modify local permitting processes, extending municipal tax deadlines, and allowing municipalities to extend property tax exemptions and deferrals.
- Allow municipalities to activite qualified workers by suspending the cap on hours and compensation for certain retired employees for hours worked during the state of emergency.
- The Senate version also included a provision to allow notaries of legal documents, such as wills and real estate transactions, by video conference.
- MBTA – The Science Park MBTA station closure, which was scheduled for April 1st, has been delayed until at least May 1st.
- Travel Advisory – Governor Baker issued a new travel advisory stating that travelers entering the state via regional and international transit hubs will be instructed to self-isolate for 14 days.
- Schools – K-12 and School and Non-Emergency Childcare closures have been extended to May 4th.
- Taxes – State tax deadlines for filing and for payments have been extended from April 15th to July 15th.
- Small businesses will be able to defer their March, April, and May taxes – if you are a small business owner click here for the State’s guidance and resource page.
- Disaster Assistance – On March 29th, in response to Governor Charlie Baker’s request for federal disaster assistance, the White House and FEMA announced today that the President has issued a Major Disaster Declaration that will make federal disaster assistance available beyond what was included in the Emergency Declaration declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020.
- Mayor Walsh announced the City has secured over 240 additional beds to increase social distancing in existing homeless shelters and aid those in need of a home to safely quarantine or isolate themselves and reduce the further spread of COVID-19 in Boston. Suffolk University is providing most of the addition.
- Grant applications are available for a new Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program
Please make an appointment to donate blood now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Type O and platelet donations are especially needed right now.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns.