Monday, March 16, 2020

Mayor Declares Public Health Emergency & COVID-19 Updates from Bars to Schools To Eviction Moratoriums

March 16, 2020 Update from Haley Dillon, our South Boston Liaison

Mayor Walsh declared a public health emergency in the City of Boston on Sunday, March 15

The Mayor’s declaration of a Public Health Emergency is a progressive step in line with the Boston Public Health Commission’s COVID-19 Response Plan that allows BPHC the authority to increase the availability of staff and resources, enhance reporting, information and resource sharing among Boston’s health and medical community.

The City of Boston has 29 positive cases of coronavirus (confirmed and presumptive) in Boston residents.
The Boston Public Health Commission will be providing the updated total of cases in Boston residents as it is received from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Information can be found at or

Massachusetts has 164 positive cases of coronavirus (confirmed and presumptive).  
On Sunday, March 15th, Governor Baker announced the closing of all elementary and secondary schools in the Commonwealth from March 17-April 6th, banned All gatherings of 25 people, restricted nursing home visitations and ordered hospitals to postpone elective surgeries.
On Saturday, March 14th, Governor Baker announced the COVID-19 Response Command Center, which will be led by HHS Secretary Marylou Sudders. The Command Center will have complete authority and discretion to tap whatever state funds are necessary. This includes the $15 million recently appropriated by the Legislature for coronavirus.
The State is taking steps to speed up testing. The 1st change is that clinicians no longer need to receive testing approval from the state lab prior to submitting specimens for patients that meet particular criteria. The 2nd change is that clinicians can submit a single swab, rather than the previous two swabs. That will speed up the testing capability at the state lab.

A reminder that all Boston Public Schools (with the exception of the Elliot and McKinley Schools) will be open on Monday, March 16th to allow the flexibility needed to ensure a smooth transition that will allow for parents to plan, students to gather belongings, and the distribution of any learning materials that are ready for use at home. We will be providing Chromebooks to every student who needs one, which comes with learning resources and technical support. Starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020, BPS families can pick up their prepackaged student meal options at dozens of locations every weekday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. during the BPS closure. Learn more about meal distribution locations here. More info about BPS Coronavirus response here.

Meal Distribution sites serving BPS families in South Boston:

Location: Condon Community Center, 200 D St
Time: 8:30-11:30 AM

Location: Tynan Community Center, 650 E Fourth St
Time: 10:00-3:00 PM

On Sunday, Boston Public Schools became aware that a member of the McKinley School community was being tested for the coronavirus. We are relieved to be able to update you that this test came back negative. However, out of an abundance of caution, all three McKinley Schools will be closed Monday, March 16. There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the McKinley School community, but our top priority is to keep you safe and informed. Students can pick up their learning packets at a food distribution site closest to their home. Information about those locations is available at Boston Public Schools will let the school community know soon when they can come pick up their belongings. 
If anyone associated with the McKinley School community develops fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your doctor or the Boston Public Health Commission at the Mayor’s Health Line, 617-534-5050.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has banned on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants from March 17 to April 6. This includes all premises with a CV license including coffee shops and pizza places. Establishments can continue to offer take-out, drive-thru, and delivery options to customers.

For any restaurant or bar room that serves food, The City of Boston is lifting regulations so that all of these restaurants and bar rooms are allowed to offer take out. We encourage the use of delivery services. If you do not currently utilize a delivery service, the Office of Small Business can help you. Contact 311 if you need to be connected to them. Any restaurant that would like to donate food or assist residents in need may reach out the Office of Food Access via 311.

The Mayor announced a partnership to impose a moratorium on eviction proceedings to protect Boston residents. This was announced with the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and its entity the Massachusetts Apartment Association, and the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations. Housing stability is crucial at this time and we are working to minimize the disruptions to residents during this challenging time. Property owners are encouraged to implement a moratorium on evictions that could be in effect for 90 days, with reviews every 30 days.
This follows action the City took on Thursday, March 12 with the Boston Housing Authority to urge housing courts to reconsider non-essential evictions of residents. In addition, the Boston Housing Authority is moving to immediately suspend its filing and prosecution of all Housing Court cases and matters with respect to its non-essential eviction actions. This includes cases where the health and safety of others is not part of the suit. It also includes all non-payment, no-fault cases, and cause-related cases.
The Mayor encourages all businesses to not just be looking at their large events, but looking internally at their operations like sick leave, unemployment insurance and cleaning protocols.
The City is continuing to reach out to our partners in State and Federal government and we encourage you to reach out to our Office of Economic Development if you are a business that is facing difficulties due to recent cancellations or otherwise. We want to hear from you so we can start a conversation about what we can do to help. Please help us by sharing your experience via this survey.

Residents are asked not to call 9-1-1 for COVID-19 testing unless you are experiencing a medical emergency. All COVID-19 questions should be directed to Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050 or 311. The City and BPHC will continue to provide updated information on and

We will continue to keep you informed as we continue to receive updates.

Thank you,

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