Thursday, March 26, 2020

State & City Announce New Measures In Response to COVID 19

On Wednesday, March 25th, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston announced new measures in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID 19).

Governor Baker issued an emergency order requiring all K-12 schools and non-emergency childcare centers to stay closed throughout April and reopen no sooner than May 4th. Emergency childcare will continue throughout this time frame as well. This order expands on previous orders issued on March 15 and March 18 suspending normal educational operations at schools and non-emergency child care programs until April 6.

Governor Baker issued a new order requiring grocery stores and pharmacies to observe the following COVID19 Guidelines:
  • Provide at least one hour per day of shopping for adults over 60-years-old.
  • Offer sanitation options, such as hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, as available, to clean shopping carts and points of frequent contact.
  • Appropriate social distancing policies, including a marked “Social Distancing Line,” beginning six feet away from all checkout counters.
  • Close any self-serve food stations
  • Instruct store employees who are ill to stay home, and for stores to accommodate employees who fall in the high-risk category with alternative assignments to limit exposure.
  • Grocery store and pharmacy employees shall not perform bagging of retail products if reusable checkout bags are used and customers at grocery stores and pharmacies shall not use reusable checkout bags until further notice.
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies may not assess a charge for recyclable paper bags, compostable plastic bags or single-use plastic bags.  

Mayor Walsh launched the Boston Resiliency Fund which supports food access, technology to support at-home learning, and the needs of our healthcare workers and first responders, including childcare. We met our goal of $20 million after a little over a week of fundraising. We’re going to keep growing the fund, and 100% of the money will continue to serve these kinds of needs. For information on donating or applying for funds, visit

$5.4 million in grants from this fund has been released to the following organizations:

Senior and Low-Income Food Providers
  • The Greater Boston Food Bank which supplies and supports food pantries across the region. 
  • Ethos which delivers Meals on Wheels to 8,000 seniors. This will allow it to serve more people.
  • Fresh Truck which will work with partners to deliver fresh produce to households in need.
  • Community Servings which provides healthy meals to critically ill people and their families. 
  • Project Bread which is a statewide resource for people looking for food resources. 
Health Care for Vulnerable Populations:
  • Boston Healthcare for the Homeless to assist them in screening, testing, and operating the new medical tents that we created near our shelters. 
  • Boston Medical Center to care for patients, support staff, and sustain safe hospital operations
  • Pine Street Inn to increase cleaning of their facilities and work with the Boston Public Health Commission to staff quarantine sites for the homeless.
Boston Public Schools closure has been extended to May 4th following yesterday's announcement by Governor Baker. Boston Public Schools is partnering with Catie’s Closet to continue to provide wrap around care for families. Last year we announced free menstrual products for students and BPS will still have them available throughout the school closure. Catie’s Closet has supplied 500 toiletry packages to each of our 16 BPS emergency meal sites.  Learn more about meal distribution locations here.

The City of Boston is working with commercial parking garages across Boston who are offering lower rates for medical staff. A comprehensive list of participating garages can be found here

BlueBikes will offer a 30-day, unlimited trip pass for $0 for hospital staff. Please note that bikes are disinfected regularly including high-touch areas such as handlebars and seatposts. More information can be found here.

Emergency childcare programs are being made available to emergency workers on a limited basis who have no other option for childcare during this public health crisis. If possible, please arrange for your child to receive care in a non-group setting. 

Priority will be given to certain people, including but not limited to health care workers, essential state and human service workers, COVID-19 health workers, grocery store employees, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, transportation and infrastructure workers, sanitation workers, DCF-involved families, and families living in shelters.

A comprehensive list of options can be found here.

Due to the public health emergency caused by the spread of COVID-19, Mayor Walsh announced that he is extending the City of Boston's order to pause non-essential construction for City of Boston permitted sites. The initial order announced on March 16th was set for 14 days and will now continue until further notice. Please see the (attached) updated temporary construction guidelines. Additional information can be found here

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