Wednesday, April 08, 2020

City & State COVID 19 Related Resources, Extensions and Legislation

COVID19 CASES
The City of Boston has 2,287 positive cases of coronavirus (confirmed and presumptive) in Boston residents. So far, 258 of these 2,287 residents have fully recovered. There have been 25 COVID-19 related deaths in Boston residents. 

Massachusetts has 15,202 positive cases of coronavirus (confirmed and presumptive) and 356 deaths reported at this time. Massachusetts has also tested 81,344 individuals to date. 

The City of Boston has two dashboards to provide statistics on COVID19 cases in Boston and throughout Massachusetts.  View them here.

STRICTER PHYSICAL DISTANCING MEASURES
On April 5th, Mayor Walsh announced new guidance for stricter physical distancing measures. We continue to see steep increases in positive cases and public health experts predict that Massachusetts will reach its peak for hospital resources within the next two weeks. The data emphasizes the critical need to flatten the curve immediately. The best strategy to stop the spread is physical distancing.

The following City of Boston Stay At Home Guidelines are in effect through May 4th.

  • Face covering recommendation
In addition to social distancing when going out in public for an essential trip, wearing face covers helps reduce the risk of a person spreading the virus, especially if they are asymptomatic. Visit CDC guidelines on face coverings for more information and guidance. 
The City is providing face coverings to city employees who must work outside the home.

  • Recommended Curfew Advisory
The Boston Public Health Commission is issuing a Public Health advisory for everyone in Boston except for essential workers to stay at home from 9 pm to 6 am dailystarting April 6, 2020.
Residents are encouraged to utilize delivery services as much as possible after 9 p.m.
As a reminder, residents are encouraged to remain in their homes as much as possible throughout the day and only leave for essential needs, including trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, emergency meal sites and other essential services. Residents are discouraged from visiting essential businesses only to browse and should be mindful of only visiting essential businesses to pick-up essential items.

  • Athletic Fields and Courts closings
Recreational sports areas in city parks, such as basketball, tennis, and street hockey courts, will be closed to limit exposure and contact between people. As a reminder, all playgrounds in Boston have been closed since March 20, 2020 and will remain closed. Areas for passive recreation, like walking and jogging, will remain open.
Additional signage will be posted on all recreational sports areas and outside of parks that will be closed. For a full list of park features that are closed, please visit boston.gov/parks.

CITY OF BOSTON COVID19 OPERATIONS
All essential City of Boston services such as public safety, public health and maintenance operations including street cleaning, parks maintenance, trash and recycling pick up, etc will continue to be in operation.

On April 5th, Mayor Walsh announced the following restrictions to municipal buildings:
  • Starting Tuesday, April 7, City Hall will reduce the days of operation that it is open to the public to only Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 am to 5 pm Note: City Hall will be open Monday, April 6 and Tuesday, April 7 and will be closed on Good Friday, April 10.
  • Public access to 1010 Massachusetts Avenue will be limited to the Boston Public Health Commission on the 2nd Floor and residents must be accompanied when entering the building. 
  • Additionally, everyone entering City Hall, including employees and members of the public, will be required to complete a self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms, including elevated temperature.
  • Residents are required to make appointments if they need to visit any of the essential services offered out of City Hall, and can learn more about the status of city departments and hours of operation here. 

BOSTON PRIDE PARADE POSTPONED
On April 7th, Boston Pride and the City of Boston announced that the annual Boston Pride events will be postponed due to the existing coronavirus public health emergency. 
  • The new date for the Boston Pride Parade and Festival is Saturday, June 12, 2021. 
  • The joint decision was made due to the concern of the health and wellbeing of the community and others. In addition to general distancing needs, many Pride events center seniors and immunocompromised individuals.

BCEC MEDICAL CENTER UPDATE
  • The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center has been temporarily converted into a 1,000-bed medical facility called the BCEC Medical Center. Care for COVID-19 patients will start on Friday April 10. 
  • This is a four-way collaboration, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston, Partners HealthCare and Boston Health Care for the Homeless. 
  • Partners HealthCare is seeking help from the medical community to help staff this site. More information can be found here.

DISEASE CONTAINMENT STRIKE TEAM
On April 7th, Mayor Walsh announced the formation of a response team which draws on several city departments, led by the Boston Public Health Commission, and includes representatives from the Age Strong Commission and the Disabilities Commission.
  • This team supports our efforts with the State of MA to protect long-term care facilities, nursing homes, group homes, and other high-risk places. 
  • If there are more than 2 positive COVID-19 cases identified at a facility, the City’s response team will go in—to slow the spread, mitigate the situation, and work with the staff as they handle the response.
  • It is important that any response is quick and flexible to the situation. 
  • Through this team, we can contact within 24 hours of learning of a positive case and work to implement strategies over the next 24 hours.

EXPANDED CAPACITY FOR HOSPITAL MORGUES
  • Unfortunately, we are going to see more loss of life and hospitals have told us they expect to need added capacity at their morgues. 
  • Mayor Walsh has spoken to major hospitals to let them know that we are ready to support this process, including expediting permits.
  • Any operations associated with this need will not be visible to the public.

BOSTON RESILIENCY FUND UPDATE
  • On April 6th, Mayor Walsh and the Boston Resiliency Fund Steering Committee announced the distribution of an additional $3 million in funds to support 29 organizations that provide essential services to front-line workers, health care providers and Boston families whose wellbeing is most immediately 
  • The 29 organizations receiving grants today will expand their capacity or adjust their service model to meet the immediate needs of Boston residents during this public health emergency, targeting $1.8 million towards access to food and other basic needs and $1.2 million towards Boston’s front-line workers and health care systems. 
  • 41 percent of the organizations receiving grants are led by a person of color and 79 percent are women-led organizations. To see the full list of grants to date, visit the Boston Resiliency Fund website.

TRANSPORTATION UPDATES
  • All parking tickets will be waived for healthcare workers with the exception of emergency regulations such as parking in front of a hydrant or in a handicap space without a placard. This applies retroactively and will continue through the state of emergency. Healthcare workers can email copies of their ticket along with their employee ID.
  • We are exploring temporarily converting certain parking garages into employee parking for medical staff at specific hospitals across the City. 
  • BlueBikes is offering a free 30 day pass to hospital staff. 
  • We’ve created maps on the City’s website to help hospital staff find municipal lots as well as garages near them with free, reduced, or reserved spaces. Additional info can be found here

SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT
  • The City of Boston has created a Small Business Relief Fund. Drawing on a combination of City, federal, and private industry contributions, it establishes $2 million in grant funding---capable of providing a lifeline to hundreds of local businesses at risk of shutting down permanently due to the crisis. It will be administered as a streamlined version of the City’s Small Business Financing program. Small businesses can begin to apply.
  • The City of Boston has also created a Financial Relief Handbook and FAQ document for small businesses. It’s a resource for navigating both public and private capital programs. It puts information and guidance about all the different programs together in one place.

HOUSING SUPPORT
  • The City of Boston has identified at least $3 million in City and federal funds that can be repurposed quickly to help tenants who can’t make their rent. This money will be targeted to households that have lost income due to the crisis, and who do not qualify for enough federal relief or unemployment benefits to make it up. The Office of Housing Stability will use its existing networks to get this help to where it’s needed, quickly and fairly. Email to learn more or apply.
  • The Mayor also expressed his support of state legislation that will put a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures throughout the state of emergency.

MUNICIPAL BILLS 
  • The City of Boston has extended the due date for property tax bills in Boston until June 1st to give residents more flexibility during the ongoing public health crisis caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus). Property tax bills were previously due May 1. 
  • The City of Boston is also waiving interest on late property tax and motor vehicle excise tax payments until June 30th.

LICENSED ESTABLISHMENTS UPDATE
On April 3rd, Governor Baker signed a bill which allows some restaurants during the ongoing state of emergency to include beer and wine sales with their food takeout/delivery orders. The City of Boston’s Licensing Board has issued the attached advisory.
  • This legislation only applies to restaurants (Section 12 licensee).
  • Beer and wine must only be sold for off-premise consumption.
  • Restaurants do not need a special license for take-out/delivery of wine and beer.
  • This legislation does not affect retail stores with appropriate licenses for liquor sales.

BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
Boston Public Schools has issued a needs assessment survey to all students in the district. Families should respond to the survey to help us determine how to better support them throughout the school closure.

As of April 6th, Boston Public Schools has distributed 26,000 Chromebooks to students who do not have consistent access to a computer at home.

HIRING BPHC POSITIONS
The City is actively hiring candidates for critical positions such as homeless counselors, recovery services, public health advocates and public safety officers.


On April 7th, the Commonwealth announced an additional $800 million in stabilization funding through MassHealth to support health care providers impacted by and responding to COVID-19. This funding will support hospitals, nursing facilities, primary care providers, behavioral health providers, and long-term services and supports providers and will be distributed starting this month and through July.

The Commonwealth launched a $13 million COVID-19 relief fund aimed at serving people and families most in need. A combination of public and private dollars, this fund will support frontline healthcare workers, first responders, and households disproportionately affected by the crisis. Details

The University of Massachusetts has announced that it will discount room, board, and parking fees to relieve some of the financial burden and stress for many students in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. More details.

On April 2nd, the Department of Conservation and Recreation announced additional steps to reduce crowding at state parks, beaches, and recreation areas, including M Street / Carson Beach, and Castle Island. Parking will also be restricted on Day Boulevard.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Cars Broken Into On Binford Street

On April 7, 2020, three cars on Binford Street between A Street & the Fort Point Channel had their passenger windows smashed in and appeared to have been rummaged through. 

Boston Police District C-6 reminds us that we can lesson the chance of being a victim of a car break in by not leaving any personal items in our vehicles. 

During this time of Staying At Home, you may want to check on your car while you are out walking your dog, running an essential errand or getting some non-group exercise. 

Leave It and Lose It

Monday, April 06, 2020

Fort Point Landmarks April 2020 Meeting Goes Virtual

The FORT POINT CHANNEL LANDMARK DISTRICT COMMISSION will hold a public hearing on:

Thursday, April 9, 2020
6:00 PM

This hearing will be held virtually and NOT in person. 
You can participate in this hearing by going to our Zoom meeting link or by calling 301-715-8592 and entering meeting id 870 013 882 #. 
You can also submit written comments or questions to FortPointLDC@boston.gov or via Twitter @bostonlandmarks.


I.  DESIGN REVIEW HEARING

APP # 20.889 FPC  311 Summer Street
Applicant: Suite Six Medical Aesthetics 
Proposed Work: At the Summer Street facade second level install a blade sign.

APP # 20.856 FPC   26, 30, 36 Thomson Place
Previously reviewed at the March 12, 2020 FPCLDC Public Hearing. Proposed Work: At the 30 Thomson Place fa├žade remove a storefront system and install an entry; and replace two (2) overhead doors with new doors and infill.

II. Administrative Review/ Approval: In order to expedite the review process, the commission has delegated the approval of certain work items, such as those involving ordinary maintenance and repair, restoration or replacement, or which otherwise have a minimal impact on a building's appearance, to commission staff pending ratification at its monthly public hearing. Having been identified as meeting these eligibility criteria and all applicable guidelines, the following applications will be approved at this hearing:

APP # 20.939 FPC  321 Summer Street
At the roof level, replace a cooling tower, associated piping and wiring in kind.  

III.  Ratification of 2/13/20 and 3/12/20 Public Hearing minutes

IV.   Staff Updates

V. Projected Adjournment: 7:00 PM



FORT POINT CHANNEL LANDMARK DISTRICT COMMISSION
David Berarducci, Susan Goganian, John Karoff, Lynn Smiledge, Vacancy
Alternates: Thomas Rodde, Vacancy

originally published 03.31.20

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Mayor Walsh Announces Strict New Measures: Face Covering & Curfew

Mayor Walsh announced strict new measures for social and physical distancing for Boston residents, effective Monday, April 6, through Monday, May 4, 2020:
  • The City is encouraging everyone to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose when in public.
Face covers will help to reduce the risk of a person spreading the virus, especially if they do not know they are sick. Face coverings should be worn anytime someone is outside the home, including on walks or other passive recreational activities.

Face coverings should not be placed on children under 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.

Face coverings can include a cloth, scarf, bandana, etc. that cover a person’s mouth and nose. Homemade face coverings should be made of intact, close-weave cloth and allow comfortable breathing.  Visit CDC guidelines on face coverings for more information and guidance. 

Face coverings should be frequently washed using a washing machine with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle. They can also be hand washed with soap and warm water and left to dry. 

It is advised that residents use a face covering, as opposed to a medical grade facemasks, in order to preserve protective equipment for health workers and those serving on the front lines in response to COVID-19.

  • The Boston Public Health Commission is issuing a Public Health Advisory for everyone in Boston except essential workers to stay at home from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day.
  • We're closing City parks with recreational sports areas.

“I cannot stress enough that the actions we take now through the next several weeks will help curb the spread of this virus, and save lives,” said Mayor Walsh. “There is nothing that I won’t do as Mayor of the City of Boston to protect our residents, and at this very critical time, we must do everything we can as Bostonians to protect one another. This is bigger than any one person - this is about the greater good of our people. Stay safe, stay inside, and let’s get through this together.”

To date, nearly 45 percent of positive tests in Boston are in people under the age of 40 and more cases of severe illness are now being seen in young people. Further, nearly 80 percent of positive tests are in people under the age of 60. The CDC estimates that nationally 25 percent of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, and may not know they are a carrier of the virus, or that they could be infecting others. As of April 5, 15 residents of Boston have died from COVID-19. 

Social and physical distancing remain the primary strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The new measures that Mayor Walsh is putting into place strengthen the guidance previously issued around social and physical distancing, which include staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of 6 feet or more from others.

Effective Tuesday, April 7, the following restrictions will be in place for City-owned buildings:
  • City Hall will only be open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Everyone entering City Hall, including employees, must complete a self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms. If you need to visit City Hall for essential services, you must make an appointment.
  • Public access to 1010 Mass. Ave. will be limited to the Public Health Commission on the 2nd Floor. Residents must be accompanied when entering the building.
Read complete Public Health Advisory

Friday, April 03, 2020

Clap Because We Care Tonight At 7 PM

All over the world and across the U.S., the Clap Because You Care movement is happening. Tonight at 7 pm, it is Massachusetts' turn. 

Let’s Make Some Noise

Friday April 3, 2020

7 pm

Open your windows

&

Clap Because We Care

for all who are on the front lines of coronavirus



This statewide event is organized by South Boston resident Corey Dinopoulos as reported by Shirley Leung in the Boston Globe .

What Is Open In Fort Point & Seaport?

latest update 04/03/20: Sagorino's Market will be closing on Saturday, April 4 at 7 pm until the City heals.

Reminder: Gatherings are limited to 10 people including staff at essential businesses and reusable bags are prohibited. View order. While practicing physical distancing in line, please be patient. Leave your reusable bags at home for now and get free bags (no fee) at the store

Thank you to the many neighbors who contributed to this list, especially Fan Pier Boston. If you know of a retail store or restaurant that is open or if there are updates, email us so that we may include them. Please support our neighborhood businesses and check in on your neighbors to see if they need anything.

GROCERY & PHARMACY

CVS is open with same day delivery via Instacart. CVS offers prescription delivery for free. 85 Seaport Blvd. 

Trader Joe's is open from 9 am to 10:00 am for senior customers and customers needing extra assistance. General public store hours are 10 am to 7 pm. 44 Thomson Place. 

Stop & Shop will be opening from 6 am to 7:30 am daily starting Thursday, March 19th to serve customers 60 years old and over.  General public store hours are 7:30 am to 8 pm. 713 East Broadway and 1100 Mass Ave.

Wholefoods is opening an hour earlier for customers 60 plus. General public store hours are 8 am to 8 pm. 348 Harrison Ave. 

Cardullo's Gourmet Shoppe is open Monday - Saturday from 9 am - 8 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm.  When possible, Cardullo's will make deliveries or assemble any of your grocery/deli needs for pick up in store. 99 Seaport Blvd.

Frank Anthony's Market is open regular hours (M-F 7 am - 8 pm & S-S 8 am - 7 pm) and is offering free home delivery.  9 Fan Pier Blvd. 

Fort Point Market is open Monday - Wednesday 12 pm to 7 pm and Thursday - Saturday 11 am to 8 pm and Sunday is closed. Online pickup and delivery Monday - Saturday 9 am to 10 pm. Your favorite beer and wine can be delivered via Drizly. 369 Congress St. 

James Hook is open. Call first for hours. 617-423-5501. 440 Atlantic Ave.

J. Pace & Son is open Monday - Saturday from 6 am to 3 pm and Sunday 8 am - 2 pm. 1 Park Lane. 

Mayhew Wine Shop is open regular hours and offers free delivery of your favorite wine and craft beer. 20 Melcher St.

Red's Best is now offering fresh fish from local fleets three days a week for curbside pick up at 37 Fish Pier St. 

Sagorino's Market will be closing on Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 7 pm until the City heals. 21 Wormwood St.  

Sunny's Seafood at Fish Pier is offering seafood at wholesale prices and home delivery. Select from three seafood packages daily. Call 617-261-7123 by 10 am for free delivery the same day. 

Trillium Brewing is offering beer-to-go, online ordering for pickup and delivery.

RESTAURANTS

Bartaco is open with online ordering and curbside pick up. Delivery now available.

Better Bagels is open Wednesday - Sunday from 7 am to 2 pm. Regular menu offerings and pizza kits too. 83 Seaport Blvd. 

By Chloe is offering contact free pick up at 107 Seaport Blvd.

Blue Dragon is offering contact free take out and free delivery with their To-Go menu available Monday - Saturday from 12 pm to 8 pm. 324 A Street.

Bon Me  Starting next week we will be running a small delivery operation out of our commissary kitchen, so be on the lookout for that.

Chipotle is open for delivery and pickup at 51 Boston Wharf Rd. 

Del Frisco's is offering a To-Go menu starting at 11 am. 250 Northern Ave. 

DigInn is offering individual and family meals via delivery at their Boylston St. restaurant. 

Dunkin Donuts may be on at 411 D St. 

Greco is open for pickup and delivery at 200 Pier 4 Blvd.

HoneyGrow is offering free delivery, "White Glove” curbside pickup (call the store upon arrival, an employee wearing gloves will bring your order to you) and catering orders that are packaged individually. 100 Northern Ave. 

Lola 42 is offering 30% off sushi take out from 11:30 am to 8 pm. Call 617-951-4002 or order through Toast App and use discount lola30.

Mastro's Restaurant is offering a To-Go menu from 12 pm to 8 pm for take out. Call 617-530-1295 and mention this offer to get 10% off your take out order when you call. Not valid on delivery. 25 Fan Pier Blvd. 

Paris Creperie is open 11 am to 7 pm for pickup and delivery. Text your order to 978-835-8613 or order online60 Seaport Blvd. 

Shakeshack is open for pick up and delivery. 77 Seaport Blvd. 

Tatte Bakery & Cafe is accepting online orders for pick up Monday- Friday 7 am - 4 pm and Sat &Sun 8 am - 4 pm at 200 Pier 4 Blvd.

Tuscan Kitchen is open from 11 am to 8 pm for takeout, curbside pickup and delivery via Doordash.  64 Seaport Blvd. 

SPIRITUAL SUPPORT

Our Lady of Good Voyage is temporarily closed until April 7. Check here for updates. 


originally published 03.18.20

Rockland Trust Pavilion Is Hiring

The Rockland Trust Pavilion is continuing to hire for the upcoming concert season. Although current times are challenging, there are job openings. Show schedule changes will be announced soon. Applications are online and interviews will be taking place virtually.  Please see below for available positions

Box Office:

Ticket Taker:

Usher: 

VIP Ambassador:

Receptionist:

Security:

Cleaning Services:

Facility/Maintenance:

Merchandise:

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Boston City Council Looks At Insurance Coverage, Healthcare Workers, Rent & Mortgage Moratorium And More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. Here are the notes from April 1, 2020:

It’s Census Day! Please fill out your forms so every person can be counted and Boston can receive the full resources we deserve. Anyone can sign up to receive these notes by email at www.michelleforboston.com/sendmenotes or see the list of all previous notes at www.michelleforboston.com/notes

VOTES

Insurance Coverage Resolution: We voted to adopt a resolution filed by Councilor Flynn urging insurance carriers to provide continuous coverage to residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. He emphasized that we must ensure everyone has access to health insurance that pays for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and other critical health services, even as workers may lose coverage because of job loss and income loss.

Resolution to Support Nurses & Healthcare workers: We voted to adopt Councilor Flynn’s resolution supporting our nurses and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we continue to grapple with the spread of COVID-19,our nurses and healthcare workers are on the front lines and risking their own health to serve patients. We need to support them by ensuring that they have the sufficient equipment and appropriate facilities to handle COVID-19 cases, and doing our part to alleviate their workload by practicing physical distancing and frequent cleaning.

Resolution on Lifting the Ban on Blood Donation: We voted to adopt Councilor Edwards’ resolution urging the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to lift the ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men. She noted that from 1983-2015, the FDA imposed a lifetime ban on blood donation from gay men, and in 2015 revised its policy to a twelve-month blood donation deferral for gay men; while these policies are not based in empirical studies and are inconsistent with allowable blood donation by heterosexual individuals with multiple partners, and all donated blood is tested for infectious diseases. In this time when there may be even greater need for donated blood, we should especially lift discriminatory bans on blood donation.

Resolution on Housing Security: After several discussions on proposed amendments, we voted to adopt the resolution filed by Councilor Arroyo last week urging a moratorium on rent, mortgages, evictions and foreclosures in Boston to provide housing security in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Last week, Councilor Arroyo had asked for an immediate vote on the nonbinding resolution, but the City Council rules state that no action can be taken on dockets on the same day as the filing unless there is unanimous consent, and Councilor Baker had objected to taking the vote at last week’s meeting. Councilor Arroyo noted that many other jurisdictions have introduced rent or mortgage moratoriums, while Massachusetts has not; and although the Council does not have the power to institute this, the Council can advocate through an official resolution. Councilor Flaherty offered amendments: to narrow the resolution to require documentation about an inability to pay mortgage or rent due to circumstances related to COVID-19 (failed 9-4, Baker, Essaibi George, Flaherty & Flynn supporting the 1st amendment), to emphasize that there would still be a lawful obligation to pay lawfully charged mortgage or rent unless there was a demonstrated loss of income (failed 10-3, Baker, Essaibi George & Flaherty supporting the amendment), and to require a 90-day time limit with options to renew quarterly (to which Councilor Bok introduced an amendment removing eligibility language and that Councilor Flaherty accepted)(passed 12-1, Baker opposed). Councilor Baker stated that telling people not to pay rent is dangerous and we ought not to mislead our constituents. The newly amended non-binding resolution (with a sunset clause added) was passed 12-1 (Councilor Baker opposed).

NEW MATTERS

Veteran Services during COVID-19: Councilor Flynn ordered a hearing to discuss resources available through Boston's Veteran Services during the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted that COVID-19 is impacting everyone, including veterans and military families, many of whom are in need of services and benefits that may be disrupted because of COVID-19. He intends to discuss specific programs and services available to veterans and military families, including the Veterans Administration Health Care System, city and state financial assistance available to low-income veterans, ensuring we continue to identify homeless veterans and provide them with access to housing and recovery services. The matter was assigned to the Committee Veterans & Military Affairs for a hearing.

Invest in Boston: Councilor Arroyo called for a hearing to audit the implementation of the "Invest in Boston" Ordinance that had legislated responsible banking practices in the City of Boston. The language requires that all banks receiving City of Boston deposits to publicly disclose to the Municipal Banking Commission their banking practices in Boston, including, but not limited to, mortgage lending, small business lending, hiring, loan modifications and foreclosure prevention. The “Invest in Boston” Ordinance also required Banks to prove that City of Boston funds are both safe in their institution and that City of Boston Funds would be easily accessible in the event of an emergency, such as the emergency we are currently experiencing due to COVID-19. The matter was assigned to the Post Audit Committee for a hearing.

Relief for Restaurants & Restaurant Workers: Councilor Edwards, Mejia & I called for a hearing regarding economic relief and incentives for the restaurant industry and restaurant workers. Restaurants and their workers are disproportionately vulnerable to economic disruption due to the nature of the work and services provided, the unavailability and inadequacy of unemployment insurance to many restaurant workers, tight margins for businesses, and the high cost of commercial rent and mortgages. Restaurant workers’ economic situation is particularly precarious due to subminimum wages for tipped workers, which affects stability of income as well as the amount received through unemployment insurance; and the transience or duration of employment, which affects eligibility for unemployment insurance; and the significant number of undocumented workers in the restaurant and food services industries. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Small Business & Workforce Development for a hearing.

Business Acquisition and Conversion Program: Councilor Edwards called for a hearing regarding the creation of a Business Acquisition and Conversion Program to support and stabilize local businesses undergoing economic hardship, with retiring leadership, or seeking assistance to promote employee autonomy, control and innovation. She noted that perhaps legacy businesses such as Doyle’s could have been saved if the employees had a chance to purchase that business. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Small Business & Workforce Development for a hearing.

Equitable Recovery from COVID-19: Councilors Arroyo, Mejia & I called for a hearing to begin planning for an equitable recovery from the economic, social, and public health impacts of COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to expose systemic inequities, and necessary social-distancing policies are deepening disparities across communities. The impacts of closing down non-essential businesses, schools, child care, and community spaces create tremendous financial and emotional distress disproportionately borne by communities who were already at greater risk of displacement, including renters, youth, hourly wage workers, communities of color and immigrant residents. When all non-essential travel is limited, the presence or absence of resources available to residents in each neighborhood is amplified--residents face even greater barriers to food access, digital connectivity, open space without full mobility. Councilor Arroyo noted that communities of color and vulnerable populations have faced systemic inequities from the very creation of these systems, and there is a history of crises exacerbating inequities. Councilor Mejia stated that Boston is resource rich and coordination poor, and the planning efforts should focus on sustainable resource sharing in the long run--equity in language access, transportation, digital access, and more. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Planning, Development and Transportation for a hearing.

Temporary Rental Assistance to Residents Impacted by COVID-19: Councilor Edwards called for a hearing to discuss an emergency rental assistance program and other rental subsidy programs in order to align resources with the urgency of need. She noted that $24M in Community Preservation Action funding is available, including $8M for the City’s long-term housing assistance programs (Acquisition Opportunity Program & the first-time homebuyers program). She suggested redirecting some of this funding on a short-term basis to support landlords who commit to providing relief to landlords. Her goal is to support the people who do not qualify for vouchers or federal assistance with bridge funding to get through this crisis. Councilor Bok noted her support for emergency rental assistance but opposed the use of CPA funds for this purpose, because the Council should not override the Community Preservation Committee and because we need a fully-funded Acquisition Opportunity Program and first-time homebuyers program when there will be opportunities for recovery. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Housing & Community Development for a hearing.

GRANTS

  • $157,500 FY18 Hazard Mitigation Grant, awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Program. Passed through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency to be administered by Emergency Management to fund the Boston Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan (Passed unanimously)


UPCOMING HEARINGS (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch at: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council/watch-boston-city-council-tv):

  • Our next City Council meeting will be on Wednesday, April 8th at 12 PM
For complete notes of Boston City Council meetings, visit MichelleForBoston.com or sign up to receive these notes automatically.