COVID End of Week Update 8/23/20 + Election Dates/Deadlines & BPS All Remote 9/21/Phased-In 10/1
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope you and those you love are doing well and staying healthy.
As long as we're without leadership in the White House, a coordinated COVID-19 national strategy remains elusive. Please make a plan to vote and read my Vote Early Boston 2020 post from last week. It outlines all the ways available to you to vote -- by mail/return via drop box at early voting sites, early in person, or in person on election day.
If you made yesterday's primary election registration deadline (8/22 @ 8PM), nice work - you did it! Next, make sure you request a ballot by THIS WED 8/26 @ 8PM. If you didn't make the primary registration deadline, don't fret, but do be sure to take action to register before 10/24 so can vote in the general election on 11/3.
Primary 9/1: register by 8/22 @ 8pm - passed
Vote by Mail: request ballot by 8/26 @ 8pm - this Wed!
Early Voting: 8/22 - 8/28 @ 11am-7pm *drop boxes @ all early voting sites* - started yesterday
General 11/3: register by 10/24
Vote by Mail: request ballot by 10/28
Refer to this very helpful early voting FAQ to answer all your questions, including these three common ones below:
Q: How can I return my ballot?
A: You can return you ballot by mail or in person. If you are mailing your ballot, use the return envelope that was provided with the ballot, which is pre-addressed and pre-stamped for your convenience. If you are hand-delivering your ballot, you can drop it off at your local election office, in an official ballot return drop box, or at any early voting location during early voting hours. Contact your local election office for the location of any secure drop box they have provided for ballot return.
Q: Can I track my ballot?
A: Yes, you can track your ballot at www.TrackMyBallotMA.com. This page will show you if your application has been received, the date your ballot is mailed, the date your ballot is received at your local election office, and whether your ballot is accepted or rejected.
Q: Why was my ballot rejected?
A: If your ballot was rejected, it is most likely because you did not sign the affidavit on your ballot envelope. Your local election official will notify you if your ballot is rejected and the reason it was rejected. If there is enough time left before the election, you will also be sent a new ballot. You will also have the option of voting in person until 8 p.m. on Election Day.
8/29-8/30 - SALES TAX HOLIDAY: Consumers get a holiday from the state sales tax this weekend -- on most retail items less than $2,500. This year's tax holiday weekend lands as stores are eagerly seeking business in their recovery from pandemic-related shutdowns, but it also means millions in lost tax dollars for state government which already faces a major revenue shortfall. The Department of Revenue estimated that last year's sales tax holiday resulted in between $20 million and $35.7 million in foregone revenue. DOR pegged the 2018 holiday at between $16.7 million and $37.7 million in foregone revenue. A sales tax holiday was long a traditional summertime gift from lawmakers to consumers and businesses, and was permanently marked on the calendar in 2018 under the so-called Grand Bargain law. (Saturday, Aug. 29 through Sunday, Aug. 30)
8/26 - BALLOT REQUEST DEADLINE: Applications for mail-in ballots must reach local election offices by Wednesday for applicants wishing to vote by mail in the Sept. 1 primary. Secretary Galvin is now encouraging voters to return their mail-in ballot by hand, to a dropbox, early voting site or local election office, in order to ensure they are counted. (Wednesday)
8/24 - EVICTION MORATORIUM HEARING: U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf holds a hearing in a case brought by Massachusetts landlords against state officials alleging the eviction and foreclosure moratorium violates their constitutional rights. The hearing will cover abstention issues that the state defendants raised in a motion to dismiss or stay the case and could potentially take up a motion for a preliminary injunction that would temporarily lift the ban on most evictions and foreclosures that runs through Oct. 17. Plaintiffs are seeking legal action in both state and federal court. The hearing will be conducted by video conference, and the public can register to view proceedings three days beforehand. Register here. (Monday, 10 a.m.)
8/21 - Seasonal Closure of Community Pools and Spray Decks - The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) announced it will extend the season for agency-managed spray decks through Sunday, September 27. Please note that DCR-managed deep-water and wading pools will close for the season at the end of the day on Sunday, August 23.
8/21 - No COVID-19 Data Report on Sunday, 8/23 - Due to a planned data system upgrade this weekend, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will not publish a COVID-19 data report on Sunday, 8/23. Posting will resume Monday 8/24 when all information from the weekend will be included.
8/21 - Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today.
8/20 - The Department of Public Health is monitoring the presence of mosquito-borne diseases in Massachusetts, including West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Currently, Massachusetts has found positive mosquito samples of WNV and EEE and there are 3 known human cases of EEE and 1 known human case of WNV. To learn more, click here.
8/20 - Governor Baker announced the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Public Health will be issuing guidance regarding a rapid response testing program for K-12 schools in Massachusetts. This program will allow tests to be delivered quickly and provide resources to students and schools.
8/19 - Flu Vaccine Required for Students - The state now requires the influenza (flu) immunization for all children 6 months of age or older who will attend Massachusetts child care, pre-school, kindergarten, elementary, middle and high schools, as well as college and university students under 30 years of age, and all students enrolled in health science-related programs. The new requirement is an important step to reduce flu related illness and the overall impact of respiratory illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students will be expected to have received a flu vaccine by December 31, 2020 for the 2020-2021 influenza season, unless either a medical or religious exemption is provided. Also exempted are K-12 students who are homeschooled and higher education students who are completely off-campus and engaged in remote learning only. The updated table of immunization requirements for the upcoming school year can be found here.
8/19 - Governor Baker announced $3.3 million in grants to address urgent food insecurity for Massachusetts residents as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and make the Commonwealth's f