Wednesday, April 08, 2020

City & State COVID 19 Related Resources, Extensions and Legislation

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.

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

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. 

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.

  • 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.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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 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.

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.

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