Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Massachusetts RMV-Approved Defensive Driving Courses

Due to coronavirus concerns, to ensure the health and wellbeing of our instructors and students, the National Safety Council and the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (MA RMV) have canceled all MA classroom driver safety classes through May 4. This includes the 8-hour Driver Retraining Program, 4-hour Driver Attitudinal Retraining Program and the 4-hour State Courts Against Road Rage (SCARR) Program.

The MA RMV has temporarily approved an alternative way to deliver the statutorily required content in the form of a 4-hour online class. For a limited time, participation in the online course will fulfill your in-person class requirement. The process is easy and convenient, and the online course can be completed right from your own home.

Find detailed information and sign-up https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/services/state-programs/massachusetts

#Covid19MA


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Expansion Of Rapid COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing In Massachusetts Announced by Baker-Polito Administration, CVS

The Baker-Polito Administration and CVS announced the launch of a new rapid testing site in Lowell, which will enable on-the-spot COVID-19 testing and results at no cost. The new CVS site in Lowell will use the new Abbott ID NOW™ COVID-19 test. With the launch of this site, Massachusetts is the third state where CVS has launched rapid testing sites, joining Georgia and Rhode Island.

CVS Health will be transitioning its efforts to support COVID-19 testing in Mass. to the Lowell location, which allows for up to 1,000 patients to be tested per day and receive results on-site so they can properly quarantine or seek treatment as appropriate. As a result, the company will be halting COVID-19 testing at the original Shrewsbury pilot testing site.

“The continued expansion of testing, along with our new efforts around community tracing, will enable the Commonwealth to better track and slow the spread of this virus,” said Governor Charlie Baker.

Similar to the CVS rapid COVID-19 test sites in Georgia and Rhode Island, testing at the Lowell site will be overseen by licensed health care providers from MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health. The rapid COVID-19 testing will take place in the parking lot of the Showcase Cinemas located at 32 Reiss Avenue, in Lowell, and no testing will take place at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic locations. Patients will need to pre-register in advance online at CVS.com in order to schedule a same-day time slot for testing.

Massachusetts has dramatically increased COVID-19 testing capacity and output. In addition to the Department of Public Health’s State Public Health Laboratory, more than 22 public and private labs are completing testing. 76,429 patients have been tested, with 4,492 tested yesterday alone.

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Help Prevent COVID-19 While Outdoors

Visitors of parks and outdoor spaces should:
  • Stay within solitary or small groups, and avoid gatherings of ten or more people, 
  • Practice social distancing, 
  • Participate in only non-contact recreational activities, 
  • Practice healthy personal hygiene, such as handwashing for at least 20 seconds, and, 
  • Stay home if ill, over 70, and/or part of a vulnerable population.


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Coronavirus Update on North Shore 104.9 FM Tuesday

Today in the 9 o'clock hour on North Shore 104.9 with Donnie & Erika, we have Sue Gabriel, Executive Director of Beverly Bootstraps. This non-profit organization was founded in 1992 as a Food Pantry. They have grown to be a leading social service agency on the North Shore. They provide their clients with opportunities to be embraced by the community, become educated about resources available and empowered to improve their own lives.

Sue will share with us what Beverly Bootstraps is doing to assist people during the pandemic.
#Covid19MA #Mapoli


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Monday, April 6, 2020

Coronavirus Update on North Shore 104.9 FM Monday

Lynn, Massachusetts Tom McGee-Mayor of Lynn joins Erika & Donnie, & I this hour on North Shore 104.9 to talk about the city's response to the #Covid19MA crisis.


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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Contact Tracers For Massachusetts - A First-In-The-Nation Plan

Everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Soon, that may mean helping inform contact tracers.

Massachusetts has quickly ramped up testing to now have the 3rd highest COVID-19 testing capacity and output in the nation. To further the effort of combatting this illness, the Baker administration has launched a first of its kind in the nation initiative which will focus on tracing the contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients.

Contact tracing will be combined with the state’s efforts to increase testing and will provide support to people in quarantine in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. This will engage the deployment of nearly 1,000 tracers working in unison.

#Covid19MA



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Friday, April 3, 2020

DCR Recreational Advisory: Postponement of Shoreline Fishing Within Watershed Properties

WHAT:
To prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is postponing the start of shoreline fishing at Quabbin Reservoir, Sudbury Reservoir, and Wachusett Reservoir from Saturday, April 4, 2020 until Saturday, May 9, 2020. Additionally, the opening of the boat launch areas for fishing within the Quabbin Reservoir is also postponed until Saturday, May 9, 2020.

WHERE:
Quabbin Reservoir
Sudbury Reservoir
Wachusett Reservoir

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Payback Protection Program is Available Starting Today

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan program designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll. Loans are up to $10M, with a 0.5% interest rate and a 2-year maturity; there are no payments for the first six months.

Who can apply? Businesses, non-profits, Veterans organizations, Tribal concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors, with 500 or fewer employees.

When can you apply? The Paycheck Protection Program will be available beginning on Friday, April 3rd. Applications must be submitted by June 30, 2020.

How do you apply? You can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any participating federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, or Farm Credit institution. Ask your local lender if it is participating in the program.

What else should you know? The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. The program will be available retroactive from February 15, 2020, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020.

Read more here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program-ppp#section-header-4

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance is a Loan Advance of $10,000 that is available to applicants who have been approved for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan; it does not need to be repaid, so you can think of the Advance as a grant for business expenses.

Who can apply? If you have applied or intend to apply to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, you can also apply for a Loan Advance.

When can you apply? The Loan Advance is available now. How do you apply? Visit the SBA’s website to submit an application for the Economic Disaster Injury Loan and Loan Advance.

What else should you know? Please note that you should submit an application at the above link, even if you’ve previously submitted an EIDL application prior to the Loan Advance being available. Read more here: https://www.sba.gov/page/disaster-loan-applications#section-header-0

The SBA is also offering Debt Relief to small businesses. Under this relief, the SBA will pay the principal and interest for six months beginning March 27th, 2020 for qualifying new and current holders of 7(a) loans.

Who can apply? Businesses who already have a covered 7(a) SBA loan or receive a 7(a) SBA loan prior to September 27, 2020. When can you apply? This relief is applied for covered loans beginning with payments due after March 27, 2020.

How do you apply? Reach out to your SBA lender to discuss how this debt relief applies to your SBA loan.

What else should you know? This debt relief is available only to 7(a) loans and not to loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program, 504 loans, or microloans.

Read more here: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources#section-header-4


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Unemployment Assistance Resource:

My office has fielded many questions regarding unemployment benefits. I am sharing a link to the state's Department of Unemployment Assistance's frequently asked questions. As always, I will share updated information as it becomes available.

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/employee-unemployment-faq-covid-19#i-filed-my-claim-and-the-monetary-determination-is-pending.-when-will-i-get-a-determination?-


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Coronavirus Update on North Shore 104.9 FM Friday AM

Chief Russell Stevens,Hamilton MA Police Dept & past President of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association joins Erika & Donnie, & I in the 9 o'clock hour on North Shore 104.9 to talk about public safety in the #Covid19MA crisis.


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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Tonight, The Massachusetts Legislature Passed A Bipartisan Bill to Provide Immediate Relief to Municipalities and Others During the Ongoing COVID-19 Crisis.

This legislation responds to a number of vitally important needs; it allows cities and towns across the Commonwealth to execute fundamental governance procedures including budgeting and permitting, it adds mechanisms to empower food and beverage providers to meet consumer needs, and it aligns our tax schedule with the federal extension. It is the product of bicameral and bipartisan collaboration fueled by our ardent efforts to support those impacted by this pandemic.

The bipartisan legislation extends the state income tax filing deadline for residents; addresses disruptions in tax collections and the permitting application process for municipalities; and allows licensed restaurants to sell certain alcoholic beverages for take-out and delivery, among other provisions.


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Baker-Polito Administration Outlines COVID-19 Surge Modeling, Response Efforts To Boost Hospital Capacity

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration’s COVID-19 Response Command Center today outlined projections related to the anticipated surge of COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth. The projections are the result of the Command Center’s work with medical experts to complete modeling of the outbreak in Massachusetts. The Administration also detailed its efforts to respond to this surge, including a significant increase in hospital capacity, staffing, and equipment.

COVID-19 Surge Planning:

Modeling and Projections:
The Administration’s COVID-19 Response Command Center has been working with its Advisory Board of medical experts and epidemiologists from Harvard University, University of Guelph and Northeastern to refine models related to the expected surge of COVID-19 cases. These efforts include modeling the surge’s timing, number of cases, necessary bed capacity, and work to find facilities that will meet overfill capacity. The model’s projections are based on the experience of Wuhan, China, but Massachusetts’ trajectory could differ due to lower population density, lower smoking rates, and earlier social distancing measures. The Command Center has also been comparing to experience in other states and around the world.

The model’s latest projections estimate that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts could range from 47,000 to 172,000 (or 0.7% to 2.5% of the total population of Massachusetts). The models show hospitalizations would potentially peak between April 10-20. The current fatality rate in Massachusetts is lower than other areas – it is approximately 1.5% of those infected. The Command Center is monitoring this statistic closely.

The COVID-19 Response Command Center is working with hospitals to provide them with flexibility to expand ICU capacity. The Commonwealth is asking academic medical centers and teaching hospitals to work to significantly expand their ICU capacity. But after hospitals execute on their surge plans, the model estimates there could be a remaining gap in ICU capacity of more than 500 beds.

Response Efforts:
In response, the Administration is aiming to find or build an additional 750 - 1000 beds in field medical hospitals and other alternate care sites to reduce strain on hospitals as much as possible. Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito visited the first of these Field Medical Stations at the DCU Center yesterday.

The Administration has identified additional possible sites for Field Medical Stations including the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Joint Base Cape Cod, Springfield’s Mass Mutual Building and other smaller locations. The Administration has secured a contractor who can build out sites once a healthcare partner has been finalized.

The Command Center is also securing 1000 beds in capacity for step-down care options in nursing facilities for stabilized COVID-19 positive patients who can be transferred out of the hospital to make room for those with higher medical need.

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Additional Steps to Encourage Social Distancing at State Parks and Beaches Announced by Baker-Polito Administration

Coastal State Beach Parking Areas Will Temporarily Close; Select Seasonal State Parks to Open Early

BOSTON — Governor Charlie Baker today issued an emergency order requiring all coastal beach reservation parking areas managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to close effective 12:00 PM on Friday, April 3, 2020 to reduce large concentrations of people at beaches during the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, effective 12:00 PM on Friday, April 3, 2020, DCR will open select seasonal state parks early and expand access at other parks to provide additional open space opportunities for residents to enjoy and alternatives to popular state parks throughout the Commonwealth.

Coastal parkways that provide access to state beaches will also be closed to both parking and dropping off passengers. State beaches will remain open and available to pedestrians for transitory use only (walking, jogging, biking, solitary fishing, etc.). A link to find specific parking and traffic restrictions can be found here.

State parks and associated parking areas remain open at this time; however, the public is asked to visit state parks and other open space properties that are located near their homes to ensure social distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, DCR’s agency-owned ice rinks, visitor centers, campgrounds, playgrounds, fitness areas, athletic fields, athletic courts, golf courses, and bathroom facilities will remain closed until Monday, May 4, 2020.

DCR will also be limiting the amount of parking spaces available at certain high-visitation state parks. DCR continues to stress that if a park is crowded, visitors should consider visiting a different location or returning at a later date or time. The state parks system has over 450,000 acres of property, and every region of the state contains multiple parks to explore that may be less busy than others in the area. DCR advises visitors of state parks to:
  • Stay within solitary or small groups, and avoid gatherings of ten or more people; 
  • Practice social distancing of at least six feet between individuals; 
  • Participate in only non-contact recreational activities; 
  • Practice healthy personal hygiene, such as handwashing for at least 20 seconds; and, 
  • Stay home if ill, over 70, and/or part of a vulnerable population.
To centralize COVID-19 updates that impact the state parks system, DCR recently developed a Massachusetts State Parks COVID-19 Updates webpage. Prior to visiting a state parks property, members of the public should review the contents of the webpage. Furthermore, for information about the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, please visit the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) website.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Extends Renewal Deadlines for Motor Vehicle Registrations

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is continuing to take several important steps following Governor Charlie Baker’s declaration of a State of Emergency the week of March 9th and to complement the work that has been underway for weeks across state government to keep residents safe and healthy.

 Effective today, April 1, 2020, all of the passenger plate registrations that have expired in March or will be expiring in April have been extended for 60 days. Registrations that expired in March have been extended until May 31st and registrations that expire in April have been extended until June 30th. Registration renewals can continue to be performed online at Mass.Gov/RMV during this time. Customers seeking to do so in-person will not be able to make an appointment and should delay their visit to a Service Center at this time.

In addition, the RMV recently has implemented key changes to service delivery and organizational protocols as follows:
  • Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the RMV has implemented a strict no walk-in policy at a limited number of Service Centers that remain open to the general public. Service for necessary in-person transactions is available by appointment only. Customers should visit Mass.Gov/RMV to make a reservation at an open Service Center or find information on over 40 transactions that can be conducted online, by phone, or by mail. 
  • All Driver’s Licenses, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits, including Commercial Licenses & Permits, that have expired or are expiring between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, have had a 60-day extension applied to the current expiration date and do not need to be renewed at this time. This does not apply to customers 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. CDL Medical Certificates that expire on or after March 1st until April 30th will be extended until June 30th to prevent license downgrades and elective medical visits, as well as alleviate demand on medical providers. 
  • The annual motor vehicle safety and emissions inspection stickers that expire on March 31 and April 30 have been extended 60 days and all motorcycle inspection stickers originally set to expire on May 31 must be inspected by June 30. The RMV is also extending the time during which newly registered vehicles must be inspected based on the purchase date. 
  • In addition, the RMV has suspended all road tests through April 12th. Class D and M Learner's Permits knowledge exams have been suspended indefinitely. Commercial Learner’s Permit tests are available to be taken at the Milford and Wilmington RMV Service Centers during normal business hours and commercial road tests continue to occur.

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Taking care of your emotional health and well-being during this time is important. Decreasing stress can help bolster your immune system and can help keep you and others around you healthy.

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COVID-19: Essential Services Effective Today

Learn about businesses and organizations defined as providing "COVID-19 Essential Services" under Governor Baker's March 31, 2020 Order.

Governor Charlie Baker has issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public. These businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely. This order has been extended until May 4.

Here is a link to the full order: https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-31-2020-essential-services-extension-order

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North Shore 104.9 Update with Council on Aging Director Terri Marciello


Up in the 9 O'clock hour on North Shore 104.9 is Terri Marciello, Wilmington Director of Elderly Services at the Buzzell Senior Center. Terri joins me and show hosts Donnie and Erika. The well being for our seniors continues to be a concern during the Covid-19 pandemic and we will discuss steps that municipal senior center are taking.

Tune in live here -https://streamdb4web.securenetsystems.net/cirrusencore/WBOQ

 #MaCovid19 #MaPoli



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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

U.S. Small Business Administration - Disaster Loan Assistance Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses, Private Non-profits, Homeowners and Renters


From: SBA of Massachusetts Disaster Loan Portal is Open

BREAKING: Yesterday evening, Economic Injury Disaster Loan applicants received an email instructing those that wish to request a FORGIVABLE $10K advance to submit a new application on the new portal, could be accessible in as soon as 3 days → https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/

#COVID19MA

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FBI SEES RISE IN FRAUD SCHEMES RELATED TO THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC

Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. Don’t let them. Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits.

The FBI advises you to be on the lookout for the following:
Fake CDC Emails. 
Watch out for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other organizations claiming to offer information on the virus. Do not click links or open attachments you do not recognize. Fraudsters can use links in emails to deliver malware to your computer to steal personal information or to lock your computer and demand payment. Be wary of websites and apps claiming to track COVID-19 cases worldwide. Criminals are using malicious websites to infect and lock devices until payment is received.

Phishing Emails. Look out for phishing emails asking you to verify your personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. While talk of economic stimulus checks has been in the news cycle, government agencies are not sending unsolicited emails seeking your private information in order to send you money. Phishing emails may also claim to be related to:
  • Charitable contributions 
  • General financial relief 
  • Airline carrier refunds 
  • Fake cures and vaccines 
  • Fake testing kits
Counterfeit Treatments or Equipment.
Be cautious of anyone selling products that claim to prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. Be alert to counterfeit products such as sanitizing products and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including N95 respirator masks, goggles, full face shields, protective gowns, and gloves. More information on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh. You can also find information on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website, www.fda.gov, and the Environmental Protection Agency website, www.epa.gov. Report counterfeit products at www.ic3.gov and to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at iprcenter.gov.

If you are looking for accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19, the CDC has posted extensive guidance and information that is updated frequently. The best sources for authoritative information on COVID-19 are www.cdc.gov and www.coronavirus.gov. You may also consult your primary care physician for guidance.

The FBI is reminding you to always use good cyber hygiene and security measures. By remembering the following tips, you can protect yourself and help stop criminal activity:
  • Do not open attachments or click links within emails from senders you don't recognize. 
  • Do not provide your username, password, date of birth, social security number, financial data, or other personal information in response to an email or robocall. 
  • Always verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type them into your browser. 
  • Check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link (for example, an address that should end in a ".gov" ends in .com" instead).
If you believe you are the victim of an Internet scam or cyber crime, or if you want to report suspicious activity, please visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.


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Monday, March 30, 2020

North Shore 104.9 Covid-19 Update with Carol Jacobs, Georgetown School Superintendent

I join hosts Erika and Donnie each weekday morning on North Shore 104.9 from 9 - 10 AM.

Today, we'll have Carol Jacobs,Town of Georgetown, MA Public Schools Superintendent, and President of the North Shore Superintendent's Round table,to discuss the state of public education during the state of emergency.


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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Online Portal for Personal Protective Equipment, Volunteers to Support COVID-19 Outbreak

Massachusetts Asks Organizations & Residents to Contribute to the COVID-19 Response 
 (link below) 

The Baker-Polito Administration announced an online portal where individuals and companies can easily donate or sell personal protective equipment (PPE) and volunteer to support the COVID-19 outbreak in Massachusetts. This effort will ensure that front line responders get the protective equipment they need to stay and push for more trained volunteers to join the response.

“Massachusetts has already received generous donations from countless organizations, and by launching this portal we’ll make it easier to streamline these offers and quickly distribute supplies to those in need,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We also need more volunteers to help support our response to this unprecedented public health emergency, and urge people to sign up to lend a hand. Our administration will continue making every effort to secure supplies from all possible resources to support our front line workers during these tough times.”

The Commonwealth’s COVID-19 PPE Procurement and Donation Program creates an easy portal allowing companies and organizations to sell or donate protective equipment that is in short supply given the global demands for such items.

By visiting the COVID-19 PPE Procurement and Donation website, businesses and organizations can offer for purchase or donation critically needed personal protective equipment, including:
  • N95/N99 masks (respirators)
  • Surgical/procedure masks
  • Facemasks with integrated shields
  • Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPR)
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Protective suits/gowns
  • Booties/shoe covers
  • Headcovers
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sanitizing wipes
The initiative announced today bolsters current efforts to leverage traditional and emergency supply chain channels.

“We have a constant demand and need for personal protective equipment (PPE) available to our medical, first responder and essential service communities. Over the past week, hundreds of deliveries of PPE have been made to front line health care providers, and first responders, but we need so much more,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Command Center Director. “Last week more than 28,000 masks, and 120,000 pairs of gloves were distributed, and we’ve placed more than $50 million in orders for additional supplies. We are also waiting on our third delivery from the Strategic National Stockpile.”

The program also provides an entry point for local manufacturers to get more information on adapting their businesses to produce more equipment here in Massachusetts, an effort being led by the administration’s recently established Manufacturing Emergency Response Team, co-chaired by Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, and Mike Tamasi, President and CEO of AccuRounds, a precision components manufacturer located in Avon, MA.

“It comes as no surprise that both manufacturers and university R&D partners across Massachusetts have stepped up during this challenging time to support those saving lives and provide logistical expertise toward stopping the spread of this virus,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy, Co-Chair of the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative. “This portal serves as a front door for companies that think their operations can be adapted to address manufacturing supply chain issues and produce the equipment needed by those on the front lines.”

A call for volunteers:
To support ongoing COVID-19 emergency response efforts, the Baker-Polito Administration has partnered with the Massachusetts Medical Society to match health and medical volunteers with our communities and health care providers based on skillsets and need. There is an immediate need for respiratory therapists and public health nurses, and the administration is asking health care professionals interested in volunteering to sign up by clicking https://maresponds.org/agreement.php. Since launching the initiative, more than 1,000 people have already registered.

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Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Day

Three years ago, the President signed into law the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act to codify our nation’s gratitude for those who served. March 29th, the day the last U.S. combat troops left Vietnam, is observed annually throughout the nation.

The official end of the war occurred 45 years ago. Of the 58,220 service men and women who died, 1,800 called #Massachusetts home. Of the more than 2.7 million Americans who served in the Vietnam War, more than 250,000 came from Massachusetts.

I intended on participating in a commemoration which was planned for Monday; a parade from Boston City Hall to the Massachusetts State House followed by a remembrance ceremony outside and a speaking program and reception inside. The event has been canceled.

This important day should not go without recognition and reflection. Today, please pause to remember and honor those Americans who served, the men and women who lost their lives, and the families and communities who love them still.


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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Federal Disaster Declaration for COVID-19 Response Announced by Baker-Polito Administration

BOSTON – In response to Governor Charlie Baker’s request for federal disaster assistance, the White House and FEMA announced today that the President has issued a Major Disaster Declaration that will make federal disaster assistance available beyond what was included in the Emergency Declaration declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020.

Public Assistance Program - Under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program within the Major Disaster Declaration, affected local governments, state agencies and certain private non-profit organizations statewide will be reimbursed for 75% of their costs associated with response and emergency protective measures. The eligible emergency protective measures include non-congregate isolation and quarantine costs for homeless individuals and families as well as first responders as well as other types of properly documented costs.

Individual Assistance Program – Under FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program within the Major Disaster Declaration, Crisis Counseling Assistance will provide funding for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health to assist individuals and families in recovering from the psychological effects of the COVID -19 outbreak through electronic phone and chat technology.
v The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency will provide webinars and other information about the process for applying for the Public Assistance Program to municipal and state officials and eligible non-profits.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Travel Guidelines and New Health Care Resources To Support COVID-19 Response Baker-Polito Administration Announces

BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced new COVID-19 public health emergency responses issuing new guidelines on travel and transportation, and offering further support for health care professionals and patients.

 Earlier today, Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo also announced an agreement to extend the 2019 state individual income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15 to July 15, matching the July 15 deadline for filing federal individual income taxes. More details are available here.

Travel Guidance: Beginning March 27, all travelers arriving to Massachusetts are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days. This guidance will be displayed as posters at service plazas along 1-90 eastbound, distributed as flyers at major transportation hubs and on posted on highway message boards. Visitors are instructed not to travel to Massachusetts if they are displaying symptoms. Health care workers, public health workers, public safety workers, transportation workers and designated essential workers are exempt from this requirement.



Medical School Graduation: Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and DPH Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel have coordinated with Massachusetts medical schools to facilitate early graduation of their qualified fourth-year students to allow graduates to support the health care workforce during the COVID-19 response. This coordinated effort includes Boston University School of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School.

Emergency Limited Medical Licenses: The Board of Registration in Medicine will provide medical school graduates who have matched as an intern, resident or fellow with a Board-approved Massachusetts health care facility or training program with Emergency 90-Day Limited Licenses to practice medicine to ensure that our health care workforce is prepared during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

To qualify, medical residents must fill out an application to be approved by the program or facility, and once approved, residents will receive the emergency license and be able to start when their program begins. This Emergency Limited License will allow medical staff to provide support while the regular screening progresses, and it is not a substitute for the regular Limited License process.

Buoy Health Care Tool: The Baker-Polito Administration announced the launch of Buoy Health’s new online resource for residents to check their symptoms and connect with the next appropriate health care resource. This tool does not replace emergency medical care, but it may be used as a support for residents during the COVID-19 outbreak to connect them with appropriate health care resources if they display coronavirus symptoms.

Buoy Health’s online 24/7 tool is free for Massachusetts residents and uses current COVID-19 guidance from the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs): The administration has issued a public health order to provide APRNs in good standing with greater flexibility in their prescribing practices. This order includes the following updates:

Certified nurse midwives will be allowed to continue to prescribe as already authorized.

Authorizes APRNs who have at least two years of supervised practice experience to prescribe without physician supervision.

Authorizes APRNs with fewer than two years of supervised practice experience to prescribe with physician supervision, but without the normally required written guidelines.

MassHealth Waiver: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved, in part, the Baker-Polito Administration’s 1135 waiver to fast-track MassHealth enrollment, streamline administrative requirements for providers and better deliver critically needed health care services during the COVID-19 public health emergency. CMS has approved the following items of the waiver:

Enrollment of out-of-state providers and easing other provider requirements when enrolling in MassHealth.

Allowing providers to be reimbursed for care in alternative, unlicensed settings.

Suspension of prior authorization requirements and extending pre-existing prior authorizations through the emergency.

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Massachusetts Income Tax Filing Deadline Legislation: July 15th

The leadership of the House and Senate have made an agreement with Governor Baker to seek an extension of the state tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15. This will mirror the new Federal Tax deadline.

#Covid19MA #Massachusetts #Mapoli


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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Governor Charlie Baker Coronavirus Update 2 PM

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Today, at 2 PM Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will join Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders to provide an update on Coronavirus from the State House.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will provide an update on Coronavirus.at 3:30 PM.


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Coronavirus Update on North Shore 104.9 FM Wednesday

Today from 9-10 AM on North Shore 104.9 with Donnie & Erika, we have Wendell Davis the U.S. Small Business AdministrationNew England Regional Administrator with Bob Nelson, SBA Massachusetts District Director. They will share with us what options and opportunities are available to assist small businesses during the pandemic.

 #Covid19MA #Mapoli




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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COVID-19 Situation Update Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COVID-19 Response Command Center
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
Center Situation Report


Situation Update

Massachusetts 1,159 Total Cases
11 Deaths
13,749 patients tested to date (+4,827 from 3/23)

United States Case numbers
Total Cases Reported to CDC*
44,183 Total Cases (+10,779)
479 Travel-Related (+30)
569 Close Contact (+30)
43,135 Under Investigation (+10,719)
544 Deaths (+144)


Images contain some of today's state actions-


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Temporary Closure of State Parks’ Athletic Fields and Courts

State Parks Remain Open for the Public to Visit

BOSTON - Out of an abundance of caution due to the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has temporarily closed athletic fields and courts, such as basketball, tennis, handball, pickle ball, and bocce, throughout the state parks system effective today, March 24, 2020 until Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at which time the closure will be reassessed. Importantly, all state parks across the Commonwealth remain open and available for the public to visit. DCR reminds residents and visitors to avoid gathering in groups of ten or more people, maintain social distancing, and practice healthy personal hygiene to stop the spread of the virus.

Similarly, DCR has extended the closure of agency-owned ice rinks, visitor centers, campgrounds, playgrounds, fitness areas, and bathroom facilities until Tuesday, April 7, 2020, which will also be reassessed at that time. The temporary extension of the closure of these facilities is consistent with an emergency order issued by Governor Charlie Baker on Monday, March 24, 2020.

Furthermore, the agency will be removing trash receptacles throughout the state parks system to aid in the prevention of spreading COVID-19. DCR asks that all visitors of state parks adhere to a “carry in, carry out” trash policy during this public health emergency, and urges visitors do their part to help protect our shared natural resources by leaving no trace and taking any trash with them.

Additionally, in an effort to better inform state park visitors during the COVID-19 State of Emergency, the agency has developed a Massachusetts State Parks COVID-19 webpage, which centralizes COVID-19 updates that impact the state parks system.

#Covid19MA

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Baker-Polito Administration Temporarily Prohibits Utility Shutoffs to Protect Massachusetts Ratepayers

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced further action to support ratepayers during the COVID-19 outbreak, directing the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to issue an Order prohibiting investor-owned utility companies from shutting off gas, electric, and water utility service to any customers for failure to pay a bill or a portion of a bill until the State of Emergency is lifted or the DPU determines otherwise.

The announcement builds upon the DPU’s March 13 moratorium requesting utility companies refrain from shutting off gas and electric service to residents across the Commonwealth. The new order will expand the moratorium to include any investor-owned utility customers, including industrial, commercial, and small business customers, during the State of Emergency.

“Protecting the health and safety of Massachusetts residents remains the Baker-Polito Administration’s highest priority, and this order will ensure the continued availability of gas, electric, and water service to all ratepayers during the state of emergency,” said DPU Chairman Matthew Nelson. “Today’s action will also protect residents and businesses from added economic pressure during these difficult and uncertain times.”

The Order also prohibits investor-owned utility companies from sending communications that threaten to shut off gas, electric, or water service to any of their customers for failure to pay a bill or any portion of a bill the Companies issued to a customer. Any company that fails to comply with these orders may be assessed penalties of up to $1 million per violation.

Additionally, on March 13, the DPU formally requested that that residential competitive electricity suppliers and licensed electricity brokers cease door-to-door marketing activities to ensure that proper risk management protocols have been taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, prioritizing the health and safety of both consumers and any agents conducting marketing efforts.

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Covid 19 Update

Mass DPH reports 382 new coronavirus cases in the state today. There are now a total of cases 1,159, and two more deaths, increasing the toll to 11 in the state.

#Covid19MA #Massachusetts

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Massachusetts Launches COVID-19 Text Message Notification System

Text “COVIDMA” to 888-777 for Important Updates

BOSTON (March 24, 2020) – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the launch of a new text-based notification system to deliver important information about the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response to Massachusetts residents.

“Throughout this outbreak, we have consistently reminded our residents to get their information from trusted sources. Today we’re making that easier,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With the addition of this new communication tool, we’re making it easier for everyone to stay informed about state actions and important announcements related to COVID-19.”

The new messaging tool called “AlertsMA” will allow residents to subscribe to real-time notifications by texting the keyword COVIDMA to 888-777. After signing up, state and public health officials can send short messages and links to information directly to a resident’s cell phone or other mobile device.

“Being well-informed during this public health emergency, and following health officials’ advice, can help us to slow and eventually stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Command Center Director. “Staying connected with our residents is a central part of our response.”

The AlertsMA notifications can be used to share news, prevention information, and help connect residents to information that they are looking for through other public information channels, such as the state’s Information line, 2-1-1, and website searches on Mass.Gov.

The Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Technology Services and Security partnered with Everbridge, whose platform powers AlertsMA, to bring the notification service online during the COVID-19 response. Everbridge is a Massachusetts-based company located in Burlington. The company’s notification service is assisting the public health response around the country, including New York City, San Francisco, and Houston.

“During this public health emergency, it is increasingly important that we leverage technology to enhance our ability to communicate with the residents and businesses of the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Technology Services and Security Curtis M. Wood. “This text message notification service is a tool that reaches people in the easiest way possible – on their mobile devices – to keep them informed on the latest updates from the Commonwealth.

“Statewide public notification systems like AlertsMA will keep people safe and businesses running when critical events occur,” said David Meredith, CEO of Burlington-based Everbridge. “With our headquarters here in Massachusetts, Everbridge proudly serves the Commonwealth as their statewide mass notification provider, keeping citizens informed during COVID-19. We would like to thank the Governor and the State for their continued prioritization on emergency readiness, response and communications.”

The Commonwealth will promote the service on Mass.gov, through digital displays and billboards at the MBTA, via MassDOT, and through social media.


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Massachusetts RMV Announcements

Massachusetts RMV Transition to Suspension Hearings by Phone and Appointment-Only Reservation System for Required In-Person Transactions, Effective This Afternoon

Issuance of New REAL IDs and Non-Commercial Learner’s Permits Suspended Until April 7th; 60-Day Extension Applied to CDL Medical Certificates 

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is announcing several additional measures being implemented to prioritize reducing customer volumes in physical locations and maintaining proper “social-distancing” under Governor Charlie Baker’s declaration of a State of Emergency the week of March 9th and to complement the work that has been underway for weeks across state government to keep residents safe and healthy.

Appointment-Only Online Reservation System

Effective now, Tuesday, March 24, an appointment-only reservation system is being implemented for certain necessary and required in-person transactions at the RMV’s eight open and operating Service Centers. These essential transactions include certain Commercial Driving License (CDL) transactions and some new registrations. Appointment reservation times will be available on a rolling basis up to two business days in advance on www.Mass.Gov/RMV in the myRMV Online Service Center under “Make or Cancel a Reservation.”

Customers who make an appointment will be sent a confirmation email that they should be prepared to show on arrival.

The Milford and Wilmington RMV Service Centers will remain open to exclusively perform walk-in commercial transactions for CDLs and permits (CLPs), and CDL road tests continue to be administered.

Suspension Hearings and Reinstatement Procedures

Effective Monday, March 23rd, the RMV implemented new protocols for suspension hearings. Applying for and initiating a suspension hearing to seek reinstatement will continue to require an in-person visit to an RMV Service Center, but the hearings are now being conducted by phone.

At this time, customers will not be able to request a hearing under the appointment-only reservation system outlined above. Some suspended customers may already be able to complete the reinstatement process and payment online if all other outstanding requirements have been satisfied by visiting www.Mass.Gov/RMV and selecting “Pay my Reinstatement Fees.”

Hearings are being conducted at Boston/Haymarket, Brockton, Fall River, Lawrence, Springfield and Worcester. Hearings at the Pittsfield RMV occur weekly on Wednesdays and are scheduled to resume on March 25th. No hearings will be conducted in Plymouth. Chemical test refusal (CTR) hearings are only held at Boston/Haymarket.

Customers arriving at these locations to request a hearing will be provided tickets on a limited first-come, first-served basis, depending on the availability of Hearings Officers at that location that day. Customers should bring copies of all necessary documents, depending on the type of suspension, to submit along with an application completed on-site. A Hearings Officer will call a customer directly to conduct their suspension hearing by phone.

60-Day Extension of CDL Medical Certificates

CDL Medical Certificates (Med Certs) that have expired or will expire after March 1st will have a 60-day extension applied to prevent license downgrades and elective medical visits, as well as alleviate demand on medical providers, during the State of Emergency.

Suspending Issuance of New REAL IDs and Non-Commercial Learner’s Permit Knowledge Exams
v On March 23rd, the federal government announced there will be a delay of the October 2020 REAL ID compliance deadline. Effective March 25th and until April 7th, the RMV is also suspending the issuance of new REAL IDs and knowledge/written exams for non-commercial learner’s permits, both of which are currently required, but non-essential, in-person transactions. As a reminder, all non-commercial Class D and M road tests for permit holders have already been suspended through April 6th. Renewals for standard driver’s license and ID credentials can be performed online at www.Mass.Gov/RMV along with more than 40 other transactions that can be conducted online, over the phone, or by mail.

For information about available services and additional steps the RMV has taken under the State of Emergency declaration, including the extension of expiring licenses / permits and vehicle inspection stickers, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/rmv-covid-19-information.

As of today, AAA locations continue to offer select RMV services to AAA members in Massachusetts

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Baker-Polito Administration Files Legislation to Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities, School Districts During COVID-19 Outbreak

BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration filed An Act to Further Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities and School Districts Resulting from COVID-19, which would provide administrative relief to state and local government entities impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, including modifying local permitting processes, enabling municipalities to extend tax and finance deadlines, and extending deadlines for certain education requirements.

Full details on proposed changes in the legislation include:
  • Suspending the cap on hours and compensation for retired employees collecting a pension for hours worked during the state of emergency, allowing municipalities to tap qualified workers when their workforces might be disrupted.
  • Permitting establishments licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption to sell wine and beer by take-out and delivery, provided that the wine or beer is sold in the original sealed container, is sold in the same transaction as a purchase of food and is not over certain volume limitations.
  • Modifying the local permitting process during the state of emergency by:
  • Providing that no permit is automatically granted, approved, or denied because a local permitting authority is unable to act within a time period required by law.
  • Providing that any permit that is currently valid will not lapse or expire during the state of emergency and suspends any time limitation on such permits during the emergency.
  • Allowing applications for permits to be filed electronically, to eliminate the need for in-person filing.
  • Suspending any requirement that a hearing on a permit application be held within a certain period until 45 days after the end of the state of emergency.
  • Extending municipal tax deadlines by allowing municipalities to waive late-payment penalties for 4th quarter tax bills, which are due May 1. In addition, municipalities could change their tax bill due date from April 1 to June 1.
  • Allowing municipalities to extend the deadline for property tax exemptions and deferrals. The current statutory deadline is April 1, and this would allow municipalities to ext
  • end it to June 1. Permitting Regional School Districts to suspend the statutorily-required vote on the approval of their fiscal year 2021 budget and allowing the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to certify an amount sufficient for the operation of the district, until a budget can be adopted.
  • Modifying the MCAS by permitting the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education upon recommendation of the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education to modify or waive the required competency determination for high school graduation. The Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education would also be allowed to modify or waive the MCAS testing requirement.
  • Extending a Student Opportunity Act deadline by permitting the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education to extend the April 1, 2020 deadline for each district to submit its first 3-year plan to address “persistent disparities in achievement among student subgroups.”
  • Permitting electronic signatures for search warrants and criminal complaints. Allowing electronic signatures in these situations would result in less traffic in courthouses and reduce in-person encounters, while still allowing the criminal process to continue.

Extending the dates by which the MBTA must approve a preliminary budget and submit a final budget to better align with the Commonwealth’s budget process.

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Governor Charlie Baker Coronavirus Update Noon Today

Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will join Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and Commissioner of the Department of Public Health Dr. Monica Bharel to provide an update on Coronavirus.

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Coronavirus Daily Update on North Shore 104.9 FM Tuesday

Each weekday from 9 to 10 AM I have been providing updates on the coronavirus and what actions are being taken in our state to support one another in stopping its spread.

Tomorrow on North Shore 104.9 with Donnie and Erika we will have Pat Lee, owner of the Horseshoe Grille in North Reading, join us for a discussion of how he and the MA Restaurant Association (MRA) are working to feed the public and keep their customers and employees safely engaged.

Tune in live on 104.9 FM or steam us here -https://streamdb4web.securenetsystems.net/cirrusencore/WBOQ

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Monday, March 23, 2020

Baker-Polito Administration Issues Order to Ensure Continuity of Waste and Recycling Collection

BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the issuance of an emergency order to ensure that intrastate waste and recycling collection and disposal will continue uninterrupted during the COVID-19 emergency. Due to the essential nature of these services and anticipated impacts due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Administration’s order provides relief from state and federal requirements that govern the hours of service allowed for commercial vehicle operators involved in waste and recycling transportation and collection, while maintaining important safety protections and measures.

“As Massachusetts continues its comprehensive response to the COVID-19 outbreak, it is imperative that residents across the Commonwealth be able to rely on key services such as waste and recycling collection and disposal,” said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “By issuing this emergency order, we can better protect public health by ensuring that residents are able to maintain proper hygiene, cleanliness, and social distancing in their homes while navigating these new and challenging circumstances.”

The Administration’s action will help support continuity of waste and recycling operations by helping to ensure availability of adequate staffing resources throughout this emergency, and is consistent with the State of Emergency declared by Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

The order will remain in effect until April 12, 2020 unless the Administration determines otherwise.


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Governor Bake IssuesEmergency Executive Order

Here are the important links to help you better understand Governor Baker's new emergency executive order.

Today, the governor said, "Effective Tuesday, March 24th at noon, all non-essential businesses shall close their physical workplaces and facilities to all workers, customers, and the public. This order will remain in effect until Tuesday, April 7th at noon.

I am also directing the Department of Public Health to issue a stay at home advisory outlining self-isolation and social distancing protocols. This advisory will also be in effect until Tuesday, April 7th at noon."

List of Essential Services
https://tinyurl.com/v7bpjt4

Text of the Emergency Order
https://tinyurl.com/rz6wafz

Text of Guidance of Assemblages
https://tinyurl.com/whf2t6p

Categories of COVID-19 Essential Services:
  • Health Care & Public Health
  • Law Enforcement, Public Safety & First Responders
  • Food & Agriculture
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Transportation
  • Energy
  • Water & Wastewater
  • Public Works
  • Communications and Information Technology
  • Financial Services
  • Defense Industry Base
  • Chemical Manufacturing & Hazardous Materials
  • Other Designated Community Based Essential Function & Government Operations
  • News Media


#Covid19MA #Massachusetts

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Comprehensive List of of the Governor's Executive Orders

You have had access to a tremendous amount of material related to the state's response to the outbreak of the coronavirus. I have detailed on this page the legislative steps that we have taken thus far. In addition, our judicial branch, state agencies, Constitutional officers including the Attorney General, Secretary of the Commonwealth and others have also executed other new policies.

In an ongoing effort to keep you fully informed, here is a list of the Governor's Executive Orders to date:

March 10 -- Executive Order No. 591: Declaration of a State of Emergency to Respond to COVID-19

March 11 -- New licensure policy from the Board of Registration in Nursing

March 12 -- Order of the Public Health Commissioner restricting visitor access to nursing homes and rest homes to protect higher-risk populations from COVID-19

Order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law

March 13 -- Order prohibiting gatherings of more than 250 people

March 15 -- Order temporarily closing all public and private elementary and secondary schools

Order expanding access to telehealth services and to protect health care providers

Order prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 people and on-premises consumption of food or drink

Order authorizing the registrar of motor vehicles to temporarily extend licenses, permits, and other identification cards

Order of the Public Health Commissioner mandating that hospitals must cancel non-essential elective procedures

Order of the Public Health Commissioner permitting licensed pharmacies to create and sell hand sanitizer over the counter

Order of the Public Health Commissioner restricting visitor access to assisted living facilities

Order of the Public Health Commissioner restricting some visitor access to hospitals

March 17 -- Order extending the registrations of certain licensed health care professionals

Order expanding access to physician services

Order of the Commissioner of Public Health providing for continuity of emergency medical services care

Order of the Commissioner of Public Health implementing emergency credentialing and licensed staff transfer procedures for medical facilities in the commonwealth

March 18 -- Order of the Commissioner of Public Health regarding the administration of certain medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder

Order of the Commissioner of Public Health regarding the flexible reassignment of physician assistants

Order temporarily closing all child care programs and authorizing the temporary creation and operation of an emergency child care program

Order of the Commissioner of Public Health regarding the sharing of critical information with first responders

March 20 -- Order authorizing actions to reduce in-person transactions associated with the licensing, registration, and inspection of motor vehicles. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said during a Friday afternoon press conference that the order "allows the registrar to extend vehicle registrations, and modify the conditions of registrations, plates and titles, and it also allows the registrar and the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection the authority to waive certain inspection requirements."

Order permitting the temporary conditional deferral of certain inspections of residential real estate.

#Covid19MA

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Ipswich-Rowley MassDOT Advisory

Temporary weekday lane closures on Route 1 begin March 18

IPSWICH/ROWLEY – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing temporary lane closures on Route 1 northbound and southbound in Ipswich and Rowley. This work began Wednesday, March 18, from 7:00 a.m., until 3:30 p.m. The lane closures will be in place during the day, Monday through Friday through June 30. These temporary traffic impacts are necessary in order to allow crews to safely and effectively install guardrail, traffic markings, driveways, and perform general cleanup along a section of Route 1.

Throughout these operations there will be one lane of alternating traffic at all times. Appropriate signage, law enforcement details, and advanced message boards will be in place to guide drivers through the work area.

This work is part of a $3.8 million project to resurface and perform other related work along approximately 5.5 miles of Route 1 in Rowley and Ipswich.

Drivers who are traveling through the area should expect some delays, reduce speed, and use caution.

The schedule for this work is weather dependent and subject to change without notice.

For more information on traffic conditions, travelers are encouraged to: Dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions.

Visit www.mass511.com, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions. Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions.

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Massachusetts RMV Extending Motor Vehicle Inspections and Commercial Driver’s Licenses and Permits (CDLs/CLPs) Deadlines

8 Service Centers remain open to general public with new ticketing protocols; Milford and Wilmington locations now open to process exclusively CDL transactions; Non-commercial road tests suspended through April 6th

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is announcing today that it will be implementing a 60-day extension to Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) and Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLPs) expired or expiring in March and April, and that the Service Centers in Milford and Wilmington are reopened to exclusively perform commercial license/permit transactions. These initiatives recognize the importance of commercial vehicle drivers to the supply chain during the State of Emergency declaration, and will continue to prioritize reducing customer volumes in physical locations.

All commercial licenses or permits with an expiration date between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, will have the 60-day extension applied to that customer’s credential. The RMV implemented a similar extension for residents with Class D, Class M and Class DM driver’s licenses, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits on March 16th with the exception of customers 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 these extensions should wait to visit an RMV Service Center to renew until after the State of Emergency has concluded.

In addition, in an effort to help customers maintain proper social distancing, as today, March 20, the annual motor vehicle safety and emissions inspection expiration dates are being extended as follows:

All non-commercial vehicle inspection stickers that expire on March 31, 2020 (designated by a number 3 on the inspection sticker) must be inspected by May 31, 2020.

All non-commercial vehicle inspection stickers that expire on April 30, 2020 (designated by a number 4 on the inspection sticker) must be inspected by June 30, 2020.

Non-commercial vehicles that are issued a failed inspection sticker (indicated by a sticker with a red or black letter ‘R’) that is due to expire in the month of March, 2020, must be re-inspected by May 31, and non-commercial vehicles issued a failed inspection sticker due to expire in the month of April, 2020, must be re-inspected by June 30. Additionally, the one free re-test for these vehicles is also extended to May 31 or June 30 provided the re-test is performed at the same inspection station that performed the initial inspection.

Regardless of the date of inspection, vehicles issued a failed inspection sticker due to a safety defect (indicated by a sticker with a red letter ‘R’) shall not be operated until appropriate repairs have been completed.

All motorcycle inspection stickers originally set to expire on May 31 must be inspected by June 30.

The RMV is also extending the time during which newly registered vehicles must be inspected, which is typically within 7 days of the date of registration.

Any newly-registered non-commercial vehicle purchased between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2020 must be inspected by May 31.

Any newly-registered non-commercial vehicle purchased between April 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020 must be inspected by June 30.

In addition, during the declared emergency period, the RMV is waiving the requirement of 540 Code Mass. Regs. § 4.08(2), which requires that inspection stations must remain open and available for inspections for a minimum of six hours per day, five days per week. Inspection stations are excused from compliance with this provision during the length of the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Finally, inspector and station licensing expirations are not being extended at this time because current resources are able to meet the application demand. However, inspectors and station owners are strongly encouraged to submit applications on-line at www.Mass.gov/RMV.

Eight (8) RMV Service Center locations remain open to serve the general public, but the RMV requests that customers who do not have immediate needs for required in-person services delay their visits. These RMV facilities prioritize regional availability, accessibility and facility size and capacity and will prioritize only transactions that cannot be completed online, over the phone or by mail.

To assist with “social-distancing” and reducing facility volume, customers are asked to not bring multiple individuals with them and a ticketing protocol will continue to be in place to mitigate customer queuing. Customers visiting the open centers will be issued tickets on a first-come, first-served basis with priority given to those customers with transactions that cannot be completed online. Tickets will designate for customers whether they will be served in the morning (9 a.m. until 12 p.m.) timeframe or the (12 p.m. until 5 p.m.) timeframe in groupings. Limited tickets will be issued based on the Service Center capacity and number of customers that can be served realistically through the course of the day. Any remaining customers will be asked to leave and return another day. Meanwhile, AAA locations will continue to offer select RMV services to AAA members and road tests remain suspended through April 6th. CDL road tests continue to be administered.

These steps are being taken following Governor Charlie Baker’s declaration of a State of Emergency the week of March 9th to complement the work that has been underway for weeks across state government to keep residents safe and healthy.

“We are continuing to identify ways in which we can provide support and assistance to Registry customers and members of the business community to limit their need for in-person visits to RMV Service Centers,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The new extensions and protocols that we are implementing for Commercial Driver’s Licenses and Learner’s Permits and motor vehicle inspections will help protect the safety and well-being of the members of the general public during these challenging times.”

“The RMV continues to strike a balance between continuing with business transactions while protecting the health and safety of the public,” said Acting Registrar Jamey Tesler. “Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, in-person transactions will be conducted in keeping with guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Response Command Center.”

The following eight RMV Service Centers remain open for service to the general public until further notice: Boston/Haymarket, Brockton, Fall River, Lawrence, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Springfield and Worcester. Hearings will be conducted at Boston/Haymarket, Brockton, Fall River, Lawrence, Springfield and Worcester. Hearings at the Pittsfield RMV occur weekly on Wednesdays and are scheduled to resume on March 25th . No hearings will be conducted in Plymouth. Again, the RMV Service Center’s in Milford and Wilmington will be open to exclusively perform commercial license/permit transactions – any non-CDL/CLP customers will be asked to report to a different location.

Class D and M road tests for permit holders remain postponed at all locations through Monday, April 6th while CDL road tests continue to be administered. Class D and M road tests will resume only after cleaning, personal protective equipment and social distancing protocols have been put in place to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission for permit holders, road test examiners and others who accompany permit holders for their tests. Because the Governor’s Executive Order provides that Learner’s Permits dated between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020 will continue to have an active status until sixty days after the printed expiration date.

The RMV has taken other steps to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In keeping with recommendations from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), the RMV has adopted enhanced cleaning practices for facilities, purchased additional contactless hand sanitizer dispensing stations, issued anti-viral disinfectant wipes and individual size hand sanitizers to certain employees, and expanded areas to be disinfected.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the RMV has continued with safety-critical “back office” functions, even as some employees of the Registry work from home or have been re-deployed.

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Governor Baker Press Update This Hour

Governor Baker is scheduled to provide an update on coronavirus preparedness and response with Lt. Gov. Polito, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel at this hour from the State House.

An update on the number of cases and number of people tested is expected by 4 p.m. from DPH.

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AG HEALEY ISSUES EMERGENCY REGULATION PROHIBITING PRICE GOUGING OF CRITICAL GOODS AND SERVICES DURING COVID-19 EMERGENCY

BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey announced today that her office has filed an emergency regulation to prohibit price gouging of essential products and services during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The amendment to regulation 940 CMR 3:18, filed today with the Secretary of State’s Office and effective immediately, prohibits price gouging of goods and services necessary for public health and safety during a declared statewide or national emergency. Previously under the state’s consumer protection law, the only existing regulation related to price gouging addressed the sale of gasoline and other petroleum products.

“We’ve heard from hospitals and consumers about skyrocketing prices for things like hand sanitizer, face masks, and other essential gear needed to prevent the spread of this highly contagious virus and keep our front-line workers safe. That’s unacceptable and illegal,” said AG Healey. “We issued this emergency regulation because no one should be exploiting this crisis and putting the public at risk.”

There have been widespread reports of inflated prices for goods like hand sanitizer, face masks, and gloves as well as temporary personnel in response to the growing demand for such products and services due to the spread of COVID-19. Shortages have been reported across the country, placing a critical strain on members of the public as well as hospitals and medical facilities that rely on these essential products to protect their medical workers from infection and prevent the spread of disease.

Because the COVID-19 epidemic continues to escalate at an alarming rate, the AG’s Office has prioritized measures to ensure the availability of necessary goods and services, including personal protective equipment for medical professionals. In a letter to President Trump sent earlier this week, AG Healey joined New York Attorney General Letitia James and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in calling on the federal government to mobilize the business community to address the shortage of personal protective equipment like masks, eye protection, gowns, and gloves. The attorneys general wrote that without this essential equipment, the doctors, nurses and others on the front lines risk infection and further spread of this highly contagious virus.

The AG’s Consumer Protection Division encourages members of the public to call 617-727-8400 or file a complaint online about unreasonably high prices of consumer goods during this public health emergency. Visit the AG’s Office COVID-19 resources page for information about how the office can assist the public during this emergency.

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

A recap of some of today's state and federal actions on the coronavirus.







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Unemployment Benefits

My office has received many questions about eligibility for unemployment benefits.
I am providing a link to a comprehensive handbook for filing a new unemployment claim. https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-unemployment-handbook-initial-claims-filed-on-or-after-march-15-2020/download


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Coronavirus Update - Governor Activates the National Guard, up to 2,000 Strong

Baker-Polito Administration Activates Massachusetts National Guard 
to Support COVID-19 Response

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker today activated the Massachusetts National Guard to support the Commonwealth’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, representing a significant addition of supply chain resources available to the Commonwealth and its residents.

Governor Baker’s order authorizes activation of up to 2,000 National Guard members across the Commonwealth, who will be tasked with supporting requests from state agencies for equipment, logistics, warehousing, and related duties. Local cities, towns, and state agencies should submit requests for support through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

“Activating the National Guard will help support our Administration’s efforts to keep residents safe and secure during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The expertise of the Massachusetts National Guard will benefit our communities with logistical support and other assistance as we continue to respond to this crisis.”

The activation order reflects Governor Baker’s statutory authority to activate the Massachusetts National Guard under state active duty to provide necessary assistance to state and municipal civilian authorities.

The Massachusetts National Guard is a diverse and highly trained force whose members live and work in communities across the Commonwealth. The Guard has a proven track record of success supporting civilian authorities during and after state emergencies, and its units frequently train side-by-side with state and local first responders, making them well-suited for domestic operations.


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Emergency Blood Drive at Magnolia Library (Friday 9am-2pm)




The Magnolia Library and Community Center will host an Emergency Blood Drive for the American Red Cross of Massachusetts this Friday, 1 Lexington Avenue #Gloucester from 9 AM to 2 PM.
The American Red Cross is in desperate need of blood. They face a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during this Coronavirus outbreak.
Blood drives were predominately held at college campuses and at high schools.
The Magnolia Library and Community Center has hosted American Red Cross blood drives for a few years now.
This has been spearheaded by city Council at Jamie O’Hara who himself has donated over 400 times.
To book a spot to donate you can visit the Magnolia Library and Community Center on Facebook or the American red cross at www.redcrossblood.org/give/find-drive
, type in 01930 and choose Magnolia Library from the list.
Red Cross precautions pertaining to COVID-19 will be in place. Those precautions can be found on the redcrossblood.org
 website.
One of the most important things you can do to ensure we don’t have another health care crisis on top of Coronavirus is to give now.

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