May 28, 2020

124th Boston Marathon to be held virtually in September
After the cancellation of the 124th Boston Marathon in April, the Boston Athletic Association has announced that the 124th Boston Marathon will know be held virtually through the week of September 7-14.  For more info and participant FAQs, click here.

QA/QC of Locally Produced PPE
Did you ever wonder how safe is the PPE currently being produced locally from manufactures?  On May 28th, the Governor toward UMass Fabric Discovery Center.  This Center, along many other academias including MIT and WPI, have established high volume screening of the locally produced PPE for FDA approval.

May 27, 2020

Nationwide Unemployment Scam
The following information is an excerpt taken directly from the Command Center Report - May 27, 2020.
Criminal enterprises in possession of stolen personal information from earlier national data breaches have been
attempting to file large amounts of illegitimate unemployment claims through the Massachusetts Department of
Unemployment Assistance (DUA) system. This is part of a national unemployment fraud scheme.

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has begun implementing additional identity verification
measures that will temporarily delay the payment timeframe for many unemployment claims in Massachusetts.
As a result of these measures, certain unemployment claimants may be asked to provide additional identity
information in order to verify the validity of their claim.


“Protecting the integrity of the unemployment system and ensuring benefits are going only to valid claimants is
the top priority of the Department of Unemployment Assistance,” said Labor and Workforce Development
Secretary Rosalin Acosta. “While the program integrity measures we are taking will unfortunately mean that
some claimants will experience temporary delays in payment, we believe these steps are necessary to respond
to this unemployment scam. We are working rapidly to respond to this scheme and urge individuals who may
have had a false unemployment claim filed in their name to contact the Department.”

Individuals who believe they may have had a false unemployment claim filed using their identity are urged to
utilize the Department of Unemployment Assistance fraud contact form at mass.gov/unemployment-fraud or
to call the DUA customer service department at 877-626-6800.


May 21, 2020

New unemployment benefit (PEUC)
Through the Federal CARES Act, a new unemployment benefit becomes available and provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits to those who have exhausted all rights to any regular unemployment compensation.  For more information and see if you qualify, click here.

May 15, 2020

Closure of all non-essential businesses extended
Governor Baker extended the emergency order requiring the closure of all non-essential businesses by 24 hours until May 19, 2020 ahead of the Governor's announcement of the phase reopening to be detailed in the 'Reopening Report'.  Read full extension Order here.

May 1, 2020

Face Coverings in Public Now Required
The State has issued an Order that requires all residents to wear a face covering in public places where proper social distancing is not possible.  The Order also applies to BOTH workers and customers of businesses and other organizations currently open to the public and permitted to operate as a COVID-19 Essential Business.  Effective May 6.  Read Order here.  More info on DIY face coverings, click here.

April 28, 2020

1.  Non-Essential Business Closures Extended to May 18

2.  Stay-at-Home Advisory Extended to May 18
3.  Ban on Gatherings of more than 10 people Extended to May 18

The Governor announced the formation of a "Reopening Advisory Board" that have been asked to produce a plan and provide it by May 18.  The Plan is expected to address workplace safety standards, industry frameworks and customer protocols and guidelines.
4.  Public Testing Sites
If you think you may be ill with COVID-19, it is important to call your Doctor FIRST.  If they determine you require testing and they are unable to test you at their facility, a referral to be tested at a "Testing Site" will be provided.  A list of these sites is available here and is updated frequently by the State. 
AGAIN: These testing appointments require a doctor's REFERRAL.

April 23, 2020

STAYING SAFE ALSO MEANS SEEKING EMERGENCY CARE WHEN NEEDED!
It's important to remember that it is OK to seek emergency care if/when you need it.  Hospitals are doing everything they can to keep emergency departments clean and safe during this pandemic.


April 22, 2020

Relief For Eligible Private Loan Borrowers
A multi-state initiative has now made it possible to provide relief options for eligible private student loan borrowers.  For more information and to see what loan servicers are participating, click here to view the "Consumer Advisory"

April 21, 2020

1. Schools Close for the Remainder of the Year
Governor Baker issued an emergency order extending the closure of all public and private schools through the end of the school year.  Read full order here.

2. Non-Emergency Child Care Closure Extended
Governor Baker has also extended the closure of all non-emergency child care programs until June 29, 2020.  Read full order here.  The State will work to review its regulations and funding programs to develop new approaches to incrementally restore child care programs in the coming months.

3. Student Loan Repayment Deferred
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education is deferring repayment for all borrowers under their "Massachusetts No Interest Loan Program" from April 2020 through July 2020.  Also, accounts past due will not be placed into collections until August 2020.  Learn more here.

Through the recently signed CARES Act, borrowers receiving loans held by the U.S. Department of Education have also been made available interest waiver and payment suspension opportunities.

For all other federal or private loan eligibility, click here to view the "Consumer Advisory" (made available April 22, 2020).


Child Care & Educational Resources
---Information for families of essential workers and families with children who have special needs.  For assistance in finding local care, visit Care.com.

---Virtual STEM learning opportunities for both students and teachers.  (Once on the page click the "Excel Icon" next to "Massachusetts STEM@Home List of Resources" header.

April 20, 2020

New Unemployment Benefits (Read News Release)
 
This new unemployment benefit is available for those that may not currently be eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits, for example self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig economy workers, or those with limited work history.  Residents may also be eligible if COVID-19 has resulted in reduced income due to working limited hours.  To learn more about this benefit and/or to apply, click here.

April 17, 2020

Distribution of PPE to all Local Emergency Responders (Read News Release)
The State announced the distribution of approximately 200,000 respirator masks for all local law enforcement officers and firefighters.  This is equivalent to a one month's supply (one per week, plus spare) per worker.

April 11, 2020

Priority Testing for Grocery Store Workers (Read News Release)

The State has expanded access to free, priority COVID-19 testing to include grocery store and supermarket workers.
*By appointment only (must be made in advance by the worker's supervisor or manager)
*Locations: Gillette Stadium & Big E Fairgrounds
*Do not need to be symptomatic to be eligible


April 7, 2020

Nursing Home Family Resource Line
For families having questions or concerns about the car their loved one is receiving within their nursing or rest home, during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a new "Nursing Home Family Resource Line"

This phone line (617-660-5399) is staffed from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week.

New Grocery Store GuidanceThe DPH issued emergency guidance which builds off the most recent Grocery Store Order issued by the Governor on March 25, the focus being on their day to day operations and actions needed to take in order reduce exposure of COVID-19 to shoppers and employees.

This NEW guidance limits occupancy within the store to 40 percent of its maximum permitted occupancy level (this includes customers and employees)
Read the new April 7 guidance here.
Read the March 25 Order here.

March 31, 2020

Extension of Non-Essential Business Closure until May 4
Governor Baker issued an order on March 31, 2020, extending the closure of non-essential businesses and organizations for in-person operations until May 4.

Prohibiting gathering of 10 or more is also extended until May 4.

Stay-At-Home Advisory remains in effect.

Read Full Order here
Revised Guidance associated with the Orders here
COVID-19 Essential Services list UPDATED March 31, 2020
COVID-19 Essential Services FAQs (Frequently updated)


Hotel/Motel Guidance
Hotel/Motel and other Lodging (i.e. B&B's, Short-term Rentals, etc.) these facilities may only be used for efforts related to fighting COVID-19.  Read full guidance here.

March 27, 2020

State Income Tax Extension
 Individual STATE income tax filing and payment deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020 (Read Press Release)

March 25, 2020

School Closures Extended to May 4
Governor Baker issued an emergency order EXTENDING the closure of all public and private schools until May 4 (Read Full Order)

Grocery Store & Pharmacy Requirements
Governor Baker Ordered that grocery stores and pharmacies provide alternative hours for individuals who fall within the higher risk populations as defined by the CDC.  The Order also requires grocery store and pharmacy employers to accommodate their employees who fall within the higher risk populations, as defined by the CDC guidelines as well (Read Full Order)

March 18, 2020

Closure of Child Care Programs/Temporary Creation of Emergency Child Care
There is VERY IMPORTANT information surrounding the use of this type of child care.  PLEASE READ ALL THE FAQs here to see if you qualify.