COVID-19 End of Week Update + 10 Point Plan & Reopening Phase 2, Part 1 6/7/20
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Our hearts are broken by the murders of our brothers and sisters who should be alive today.
I will continue to listen and live what I believe. And I do - every day - in my work to fight for state funding for vital community and youth violence prevention programs that support groups like Project R.I.G.H.T. (Rebuild and Improve Grove Hall Together) who work on the ground through dedicated and trained staff to wrap around, protect, uplift, and empower the lives our young people in Grove Hall and other nearby neighborhoods in Boston. This year, the fight will be that much harder given the economic state of our city, commonwealth and country. We're now hearing estimates of a $2.5-$6 billion shortfall in state revenue, with the start of the new fiscal year just around the corner. I will dig in and fight like hell for the residents of the 11th Suffolk district.
Everything shifted and we now have COVID immediate response work to do on a daily basis (food, housing, unemployment, health care). We must, however, simultaneously continue to be persistent in our advocacy around our pre-COVID policy aspirations that we've all been eyeing since the beginning of this session, if not last -- specifically those proposals that seek to strengthen protections for our immigrant neighbors, for our environment, for our young people accessing health care -- and much more. In the coming weeks, my work will center around the legislative agenda my colleagues of color at all three levels of government from around the state powerfully outlined this week, as well as continuing to push for additional CORI reforms and the necessary funding for the technology to make automatic record sealing possible. In our own backyards, instead of incarcerating people with mental illness, let's provide them with supportive housing and treatment. It’s the morally right thing to do, will save public dollars and improve everyone’s quality of life.
We ended the week by kicking off Boston Pride's 50th Celebration in 2020 with a virtual flag raising ceremony. Watch the video, featuring yours truly, here:
Finally, starting tomorrow 6/8, as we enter Part 1 of Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan, please continue to respect each other and the virus by doing your part. Be safe and continue to follow the guidance around physical distancing, facial coverings, and the City's curfew (9 PM - 6 AM).
Still with a heavy and hopeful heart,
State Representative, 11th Suffolk
6/6 - Governor Baker announced that phase II of reopening will begin this Monday, June 8.
The following businesses will be eligible to reopen:
Retail, with occupancy limits
Childcare facilities and day camps, with detailed guidance
Restaurants, outdoor table service only
Hotels and other lodgings, with no events, functions or meetings
Warehouses and distribution centers
Personal services without close physical contact
Post-secondary, higher education, vocational-tech and occupation schools for the purpose of completing graduation requirements
Youth and adult amateur sports, with detailed guidance
Outdoor recreation facilities
Professional sports practices, with no games or public admissions
Non-athletic youth instructional classes in arts, education or life skills in groups of less than 10
Driving and flight schools
Outdoor historical spaces, with no functions, gatherings or guided tours
Funeral homes, with occupancy limits
Indoor table service at restaurants and close-contact personal services will reopen in step two of phase II. The date for step two has not yet been determined.
You can find more specific information about phase II of reopening here. For a full guide on when different types of businesses can reopen, you can look here.
6/5 - The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs provided guidance for the operation of public and semi-public swimming pools during phase II. Outdoor pool facilities may reopen, and indoor swimming pools may reopen for supervised youth sports leagues and youth summer sports camps for participants under 18. Hot tubs and whirlpools must stay closed during phase II. Learn more here.
6/5 - The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released guidance to school districts on summer school re-opening which is focused on the health and safety of students, staff, and the educational community. The Department also sent guidance to school districts on key safety supplies that it recommends districts have on hand before schools re-open. School districts can apply for grants to fund the cost of supplies here. More detailed guidance on special education summer programs will be released no later than Tuesday, June 9.
6/4 - The MA House of Representatives passed H.4768 An Act relative to voting options in response to COVID-19. This legislation provides expanded options for early in-person and mail-in voting for the primary and general, local, state, and federal elections and changes deadlines for applying for mail in voting. The bill now goes to the Senate.
6/4 - Today, the Department of Correction announced that it has met its goal of conducting universal COVID-19 testing. According to DOC, 390 inmates have tested positive, for a positivity rate of 5.07 percent. The Department confirmed that there have been 8 deaths due to COVID-19.
6/4 - The Department of Revenue's Division of Local Services announced that cities and towns will have an extra week to apply for fiscal year 2020 coronavirus relief funds. The application deadline is now Friday, June 12.
6/4 - Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today.
6/3 - The P-EBT program has been implemented, and families whose students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch have been issued cards for grocery purchases. Some families have been having difficulty activating their P-EBT cards. If you have received a P-EBT card and are having this difficulty, you can find activation instructions here.
6/3 - Starting today, individuals are allowed to visit friends and families in long-term care facilities, as long as certain rules are adhered to by visitors and facility staff. Long-term care facilities may limit the length of stays and the days and times at which they are allowed. You can learn more about this guidance here.
6/3 - The MA House of Representatives passed H.4767 An Act addressing challenges faced by food and beverage establishments resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation would allow municipalities to temporarily modify licenses and permits to allow for outdoor table space, allow restaurants to sell mixed drinks in a sealed container for take out and delivery, cap third-party delivery service fees, and waive interest fees on late meals tax payments. The bill now goes to the Senate.
6/3 - Attorney General Maura Healey joined 11 other Attorneys General in sending a letter to corporate leadership at Walmart to strengthen its protections for workers. You can read the full letter here.
6/3 - Governor Baker stated he will announce a date for Phase 2 of reopening on 6/6.
6/2 - The MA Black and Latino Caucus and elected officials of color from across the state held a press conference on the front steps of the State House to advocate for reforms in response to the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others, and growing protests across the country. At the press conference, a ten-point plan to address police violence and advance racial justice was presented. You can view a recording of the press conference here.