COVID-19 Information & Resources from Senator Spilka and The 495/MetroWest Partnership

Medway Business Council wants to pass along information related to the COVID-19 outbreak that may be helpful.  The information we received comes from two sources (See Information Below):

  1. Senate President Karen E. Spilka
  2. Jason Palitsche, Executive Director of The 495/MetroWest Partnership (Thanks to Barbara Saint Andre, Medway Director of Community & Economic Development for sharing

We hope that you find this information helpful.

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Information from Senate President Karen E. Spilka

 

Greetings,

As you are undoubtedly aware, Governor Baker announced a number of emergency measures this evening. I have been in touch with the Governor and the Administration about a number of the issues he addressed, and I would like to thank everyone who has contacted my office to let me know the questions and concerns residents have in their communities. It has helped my discussions with state and local leaders immensely.

I am particularly glad to see that the Governor took strong action around school closings, social distancing and telemedicine, which I have persistently pushed for this week. The measures we are taking now are in the best interest of preserving public health & our healthcare system. But we know they will have an impact on our residents, communities & businesses. That’s why the Massachusetts State Senate is working now to tee up legislation to help with these impacts.

The bills and guidance that Governor Baker outlined today include the following:

Elementary and Secondary Schools will suspend educational operations from March 17 until April 6. Full order available here

Gatherings & Restaurants: Governor Baker issued an emergency order limiting gatherings to 25 individuals and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants, beginning on March 17 and effective until April 6. Full order available here

Health Care: The Department of Public Health issued guidance today that includes the following:

  • All commercial insurers, self-insured plans, and the Group Insurance Commission are required to cover medically necessary telehealth services related to COVID-19 testing and treatment. Full order available here
  • Insurers must do this without requiring co-pays and coinsurance for testing and treatment.
  • Additionally, insurers cannot require prior authorization for these services.
  • All assisted living residences are to ban visitors to protect the health of residents and staff. This is in addition to the federal guidance issued on Friday that bans visitors to nursing homes and rest homes.
  • All hospitals operated by the Department of Public Health or the Department of Mental Health are to screen all visitors and restrict visitation if individuals show any indication of illness.
  • Hospitals must cancel non-essential elective procedures.
  • Authorizes licensed pharmacies to create and sell hand sanitizer over the counter.

Registry of Motor Vehicles: The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will extend the renewal timeline of certain credentials to reduce the need for customers to physically visit an RMV service center for in-person transactions. Full order available here

  • Effective this week, the RMV will implement a 60-day extension to the current expiration date for Class D, Class DMs, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits within the RMV system.
  • This extension does not apply to vehicle registrations. Most vehicle registrations can be renewed online at Mass.Gov/RMV.
  • This deadline extension will not apply to customers with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) or those whose end of stay in the United States is the same as the expiration date on their driver’s license, ID card, or Learner’s Permit.
  • Customers eligible for this extension should wait to visit an RMV Service Center or AAA office (if a member of AAA) to renew until after the State of Emergency has been terminated.

For additional information on these and other executive actions and guidance, please visit The Office of the Governor Website.

Please continue to check the Coronavirus Updates page on my website for the latest information.

I ask you to please contact my office if you need assistance in any way during this time. You can always reach out by calling 617-722-1500 or emailing Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov.

Warm regards,

Senate President Karen E. Spilka

 

COVID-19 Resources – Info from The 495/Metrowest Partnership

Good morning,

Managing the impact of COVID-19/coronavirus has become the paramount concern of leaders across the Commonwealth, in all areas of business and civic life. To that end, herein please find resources that may be of help to you during this time. The 495/MetroWest Partnership stands ready to provide support regarding information, advocacy, and coordination; please do not hesitate to contact me if we can be of any assistance.

  • For Small Businesses and Non-profit Organizations: Many businesses and organizations will experience a loss of revenue during the crisis, due to reduction or suspension of business operations, or other interruptions and uncertainties related to funding sources. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the Baker-Polito Administration are working closely with the SBA to activate the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which would provide assistance to eligible businesses and non-profits impacted by COVID-19. The first step in this process is to meet a minimum threshold of affected businesses within Massachusetts. To do this, affected small businesses and non-profits should download, complete, and submit the SBA EIDL Worksheet and Instructions to expedite activation of the EIDL program (available online at this link). Completed forms may be submitted by email to Disaster.Recovery@mass.gov or by fax to 508-820-1401.
  • For Municipal Governments: Gov. Baker has issued an Executive Order suspending certain provisions of the state’s Open Meeting Law, to enable public bodies to carry out their responsibilities while adhering to public health recommendations regarding social distancing. The full text of the Governor’s order can be found at this link.
  • Further, the Governor intends to file legislation relative to potential delays in Town Meetings and the adoption of FY21 municipal budgets; both the House and Senate are likely to take up legislation providing relief from certain restrictions and providing further operating support to local governments as well. The Partnership will be in close contact with our legislative delegation regarding these proposals, and will be soliciting feedback directly from municipal leaders as they develop.
  • For Higher Education Institutions: The latest guidance from the Department of Higher Education and the Department of Public Health advises that higher education institutions “continue to pursue strategies to reduce the need for students to be on campus, including suspending in-person classes and implementing institution-wide programs to shift to remote learning, technology enabled solutions, and other tools to allow students to successfully complete course and degree requirements. Institutions should also pursue strategies to reduce the need for faculty and staff to be on campus by maximizing remote work opportunities, while maintaining essential on-campus services, especially for residential students who cannot safely return home.” Additional guidance from DHE and DEP on this subject is forthcoming.
  • For Larger Businesses and Organizations: Gatherings of 25 people or more have been limited by emergency order of the Governor, available in full here. Please make every attempt to move larger meetings to remote participation, or re-schedule them as you are able.
  • For All: Communications Tools: In the current climate, disinformation can spread quickly, and is often counterproductive. The CDC has created an online toolkit of communications resources for COVID-19/coronavirus, which include fact sheets, videos, graphics, and other informational tools. The toolkit can be found online here.

The 495/MetroWest Partnership will continue to operate during this time, and will continue to be a resource for all of our various partners. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if we can be of any assistance to you; I can be reached via email at Jason@495Partnership.org, or by phone at 774-760-0495

Sincerely,

Jason Palitsch, Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership

 

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