Dear Neighbors and Friends,
As we near the end of our second week of the stay-at-home advisory, it is expected that there will be a surge in cases in Massachusetts during the month of April (between 0.7 and 2.5% of the population), and the next few weeks will be critical in terms of physical distancing and slowing the spread of the virus as much as possible. (I found this Trevor Noah interview of Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, helpful to understand social distancing.) Due to this prediction the Baker-Polito Administration has:
- Extended non-essential business closures to May 4th
- Outlined COVID-19 Surge Modeling and Response Efforts To Boost Hospital Capacity
- Announced Additional Steps to Encourage Social Distancing at State Parks and Beaches
Good news! Yesterday, the House passed bill HD.4935, An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions for residents and businesses and foreclosures for residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and for thirty days after the state of emergency ends. This is a bill for which many of you advocated and that I worked hard with my colleagues on passage. This is the worst time to kick people out of their homes. This bill is now in the Senate and I anticipate the Senate will take it up shortly.
The House also passed H4616 and H4598 which address support for schools systems, allows the Commissioner to cancel standardized testing this year and waive it as a high school graduation requirement, helps those experiencing homeslessness, and provides local options to municipalities to prevent the shut-off of essential municipal services. H.4598 also officially moved the deadline for payment and filing for taxes to July 15th and allows take out restaurants to now sell alcohol with food. H.4598 has passed the House and Senate and is on the Governor’s desk; he is expected to sign it today. H.4616 is now pending in the Senate.
On Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 at 10:00 AM the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means and the Executive Office for Administration and Finance will be conducting an economic roundtable to discuss the fiscal implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This roundtable will be streamed live on the Legislature’s website (https://malegislature.gov/). I sit on the Ways and Means Committee, but Committee members have been asked not to appear and instead ask questions in advance. If you have any questions you would like asked, let me know by Monday at noon.
Are you part of a small business or non-profit having trouble making payroll? Today, local banks are authorized to start making small business relief loans authorized by the CARES Act. Here is more information.
In Boston, yesterday, Mayor Walsh has made many announcements around social distancing, small business support, veterans, and more. You can read about them HERE. Today he announced he has created a $3 million fund to help Boston residents pay their rent. You can read about that announcement HERE.
Boston has also created a dashboard to update the latest Statewide COVID-19 statistics.
Cambridge has served thousands of free meals. Here is the information if you need help. Cambridge has also extended expiring resident parking stickers until further notice, delayed street cleaning until May 1st, will suspend interest and late fees on water and sewer bills due between March 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020, and will absorb all credit card fees associated with paying City bills online.
I have started many blog posts which will be continually updated with current and accurate information. Please visit my website to learn more about:
- How to receive COVID-19 Information Updates from the State, Boston, and Cambridge
- Approved State Legislation responding to COVID-19
- Blood Donation – critical need now.
- The CARES Act Updates
- The Census 2020
- K-12 Schools & Early Education including free food resources
- Non-Profits and Funds that need our support
- Senior-specific Resources
- Neighborhood-specific Resources
- Supporting Small Business
If you are now looking for something to do from your home, you can search the State’s unclaimed property list and see if you are due anything. Hopefully fortune awaits your search.