COVID-19 End of Week Update + Face Covering Order 5/3/20

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

I hope this finds you and those you love well on this first sunny weekend of May.

Our hospitals have somewhat stabilized for now and our testing capacity has increased some, but we're not out of the thick of this yet, and we must continue to prevent the virus from spreading.

On Friday, the Baker-Polito Administration ordered all residents over the age of two to use a face covering or mask in public places where maintaining proper social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is not possible. This statewide order goes into effect on this coming Wednesday, May 6, and supersedes previously issued guidance relative to mask use. Of course, I encourage you to begin this practice of covering your face, if you haven't already.

*This order applies to all workers and customers of businesses and other organizations that are currently open to the public and permitted to operate as COVID-19. Essential Businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retail stores. Residents are also required to wear a mask or face covering at all times when using any means of transportation service or public mass transit.*

Click HERE or see below to WATCH new DPH PSA on How to Safely Cover Your Face Outside of Home.

A face covering may include anything that covers the nose and mouth, including a mask, scarf, or bandana. Health care masks (such as surgical or N-95 masks) should not be used and should be preserved for health care workers and first responders. Cloth masks should not be worn by young children under the age of two, persons with difficulty breathing, or those who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Instructions on how to make a cloth mask are available from the CDC.

In times of despair and difficulty, I believe it is still within us to feel joy. Towards this end, usually, assisting others helps a lot. And we know taking action can also help to lower anxiety levels, so consider taking breaks from t.v. and the news, and making a mask for yourself and maybe others, too.

If you don't know where to start, please consider requesting a mask or volunteering to make masks through the Boston Area Mask Initiative, a Boston based grassroots organization of makers and volunteers who provide handmade fabric masks to medical and essential workers and at-risk populations affected by the COVID-19 crisis. They’re helping to generate and distribute reusable, nonmedical face coverings and holding their first town hall (via Zoom) this Thursday, May 7, 7-8 PM.

SAVE THE DATE - This Friday, May 8 at 9 AM, just like we typically would on the 2nd Friday of the month, we're going to attempt our first virtual office hours for residents of the 11th Suffolk District (Ward 11, Ward 12: Precincts 7, 9, Ward 14: Precinct 3, Ward 19: Precincts 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13).

This is a pilot test run and we appreciate your patience in advance as we shift our ongoing casework assistance dialogue with you to online platforms. If you know folks who cannot participate due to lack of access to technology, as always, we can communicate via phone 617-722-2380, x2 or email liz.malia@mahouse.gov. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFO. LATER THIS WEEK.

Finally, for those of you who've lost someone to the virus, my heart and prayers are with you. If you are or know someone who is struggling to access available services, please reach out to my office. Additionally, let us know if you need assistance with unemployment, health care enrollment, or housing.

Warmly,

Liz Malia

MA State Representative, 11th Suffolk

liz.malia@mahouse.gov

To read Commonwealth’s Command Center daily updates (and my previous updates): www.replizmalia.org

To subscribe to these updates: https://www.replizmalia.org/newsletter-sign-up

Helpful Legal Resources

  • https://www.masslegalhelp.org/

  • https://www.masslegalservices.org/covid-19

  • If you or someone you know is at risk for sexual and domestic violence, service providers are still accessible. You can also call SafeLink, the statewide domestic violence hotline, at 1-877-785-2020. SafeLink can provide resources and support services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

  • To file an unemployment claim, visit here. If you have trouble filing a claim, please contact my office for assistance.

  • To receive, your federal economic impact payment: check out the tool kit for congressional offices.

  • To apply for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits call Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 (M-F from 8am-7pm & Saturday from 10am-2pm.)

  • The WIC (Women, Infants, & Children Nutrition) program provides families with healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to healthcare and other services for families.

  • Anyone feeling overwhelmed with sadness, anxiety, or stress, or who wants to harm themselves or others, can access the mental health, emotional support, and suicide prevention program Call2Talk by dialing 2-1-1. Call2Talk is also available by calling 508-532-2255 or by texting C2T to 741741.

  • Text COVIDMA to 888-777 to receive daily text updates from MA Dept. of Public Health.

Resource Updates

US Census - Boston Counts 2020

Boston depends on your household to respond so that our communities get their fair share of federal funding and representation for the resources we need.

Much of the funding that comes from the Census count helps the most vulnerable among us. It provides, for instance, health care (Medicare and Medicaid), public education (grants for special education and Boston Public Schools), food and nutrition programs (SNAP and free school breakfast/lunch programs), affordable housing (Section 8 vouchers), and child care (Head Start) for low-income families.

The Census has never been more accessible. You can respond to the 2020 Census online (my2020census.gov), over the phone, or by mail. You can respond to the 2020 Census online or over the phone in 13 different languages.

Responses to the 2020 Census are safe, secure, and protected by federal law. Your answers can only be used to produce statistics and cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. The Census Bureau can’t share your personal information with DHS, law enforcement, or your landlord until 72 years have passed. It won’t affect any public benefits you receive.

Whether you rent or you own your home, whether you were born here or you just got here, whether you are a senior citizen or a newborn baby, you count equally in our democracy and we need to make sure you and everyone in your household is counted in the 2020 Census.

The 2020 Census is a way to directly increase community power. It will impact our daily lives for the next 10 years. Many of Boston’s communities are at risk of an undercount. We need a complete and accurate count because all of Boston deserves to be seen, heard, and invested in.

City Guides for Small Business

Unemployment Updates

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) became live Monday 4/20, 10 days ahead of schedule. See Mayor's Office of Economic Development FAQ for Job Seekers and Unemployment Insurance

  • The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) continues to offer virtual town halls that provide information on how to apply for unemployment assistance. These town halls take place every day and will take you through the step by step process of applying for unemployment.

  • If you're expecting a call from the DUA, PLEASE ANSWER calls from 617-626-6800 up until 8 PM 7 days/week.

Resident Parking

  • Residents with a valid resident permit sticker will be allowed to park in a metered or two-hour parking space, without having to adhere to the time limit or pay a meter fee, within their specific neighborhood.

  • For cars without the relevant resident permit parking sticker, standard time limit and meter requirements remain in place.

Street Cleaning

  • BTD has not been ticketing and towing for street cleaning, given challenges to finding alternative places to park in neighborhoods.

Inspection Stickers and Registration

  • BTD will not ticket for expired inspection stickers or registrations, given potential challenges for people to renew inspections and registrations at this time.

Parking Garages

  • To support the medical community, BTD has identified facilities offering free, reduced rate or reserved parking for medical professionals. To receive discounted parking, medical staff will need to present a hospital ID. See the list of participating facilities.

Mental Health

State Updates

4/27 - The Administration will be increasing funding by $44 million for residential congregate care service providers. This funding builds on $95 million in funding announced in March and will be used to support increased staffing costs (such as hazard pay), infection control, and personal protective equipment for the 238 residential service providers that serve over 20,500 individuals

4/27 - The Administration announced an additional $130 million in funding for nursing facilities to support COVID-19 response efforts over the next two months. This funding will support staff costs, infection control, and personal protective equipment if facilities are able to demonstrate adherence to accountability measures.

4/27 - The Commonwealth will also offer temporary staffing assistance for all nursing home needs. This includes clinical response teams of nurses and CNAs deployed in groups of 10 during emergency situations. These efforts will be supported by a centralized infection control performance improvement center established by the Massachusetts Senior Care Association. I heard from nursing homes in the 11th Suffolk, advocated on their behalf, am grateful this is the state’s response so far, and recognize more needs to be done.

4/27 - Attorney General's office released guidance on protecting the rights of people with disabilities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

4/28 - Governor Baker extended his emergency order requiring non-essential businesses to keep their physical workplaces and facilities closed until May 18. This order also extends the ban on gatherings of more than 10 people until May 18.

4/28 - The Department of Public Health announc