Additional COVID-19 Resources
Good morning,

As we continue to grapple with the impact of COVID-19/coronavirus, here are some additional resources for both our private and public partners:

For Small Businesses and Nonprofit Organizations: The Baker-Polito Administration has announced a $10 million loan fund to provide financial relief to small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. The $10 million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund will provide emergency capital up to $75,000 to Massachusetts-based businesses impacted by COVID-19 with under 50 full- and part-time employees, including nonprofits. Loans are immediately available to eligible businesses with no payments due for the first 6 months. The Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) has capitalized the fund and will administer it. To apply, please complete the application found on MGCC’s website, Completed applications can be sent via email to [email protected] with the subject line “2020 Small Business Recovery Loan Fund."  

For Larger Employers: The Massachusetts Health Council (MHC) and Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) have organized a live webinar to address general FAQ on COVID-19 for employers. The webinar will take place tomorrow, Thursday March 19th, from 12 Noon to 1:30 PM, and is free to all who register in advance, which you can do online at this link. The following topics will be addressed on the webinar:
  • Current knowledge on the epidemiology of COVID-19 including transmission
  • Common clinical manifestations of COVID-19 and risk factors for severe disease and death
  • Analyze available methods for prevention and their potential effectiveness
  • Workplace safety and issues for workforces that travel
  • Telecommuting or remote working
  • Wage and hour issues
  • Discrimination and Harassment
  • WARN Act/Plant closings, and
  • Workers compensation and claims of COVID-19
Presenters will include:
  • Delaney Busch, Associate- Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
  • Terry Cook, Vice President-AIM HR Solutions
  • Davidson Hamer, MD, FACP, FIDSA, FASTMH, FISTM
  • Tom Jones ESQ ., Vice President-AIM HR Solutions
  • David R. Martin, ESQ .-Chief Executive officer- Massachusetts Health Council
  • Laurie Parsons, Claims Director- A.I.M. Mutual Insurance Companies
Online registration for the webinar can be found at this link.

For Municipal Governments: Gov. Baker has filed legislation, H. 4572, “ An Act to Address Challenges in Town Governance Resulting from COVID-19,” aimed at helping municipal governments to cope with the current COVID-19/coronavirus crisis, providing tools designed to allow for flexibility as some existing constraints, laws, and deadlines become untenable. The House and Senate are each expected to take up their own versions of this legislation, designed to address a myriad of municipal needs. The full text of the Governor's bill can be found online at this link. In brief, included in the legislation are provisions to:
  • Amend existing statute authorizing Moderators to postpone Town Meetings by thirty days
  • Permit local Select Boards to postpone Town Meetings beyond the statutory June 30 deadline when the Governor has declared a state of emergency and conditions prevent the completion of a Town Meeting
  • Permit local Select Boards to temporarily adopt lower quorum rules for Town Meeting
  • Permit continued month-to-month spending into FY21 by towns based on the prior fiscal year budget with approval of the Division of Local Services during states of emergency, so long as a state of emergency prevents the adoption of a budget
  • Permit towns to access their free cash balance for FY21 spending with approval of the Division of Local Services
  • Permit municipal spending from revolving funds at the level set by their FY20 appropriation until an FY21 budget is adopted
  • Authorize a three-year amortization period for deficit spending incurred as a result of COVID-19 crisis. The default rule would require an FY21 tax rate to provide for one-year amortization and this change would follow the 2015 precedent for snow removal costs
The Partnership is compiling feedback from municipal leaders in our service area on this critical piece of legislation both for members of our MetroWest legislative delegation, and for the legislature's Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government. If you would like to offer feedback, please do so to me via email no later than 9:30 AM tomorrow, Thursday March 19th.

Accessing Transit Services: The MBTA has revised service schedules both to accommodate public health orders, as well as to focus services on essential travelers, including those working shifts at medical facilities, government offices, and food distribution establishments. The MBTA has established a COVID-19 specific web page with up-to-date service information.

Our Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) are working very hard to provide needed services, against a rapidly changing backdrop of evolving information, and guidance from state officials that travel be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Service levels are subject to change quickly; please contact RTAs directly or visit their websites for the most current information:
All of our region's RTA services are working aggressively to clean and sanitize their vehicles as often as possible.
The 495/MetroWest Partnership is continuing to operate during this crisis, and will continue to be a resource for all of our various partners. Staff below the Executive Director are working remotely, to best comply with public health and safety advisories, however our entire team stands ready to assist you. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if we can be of help, via email at [email protected] , or by phone at 774-760-0495.

Jason Palitsch
Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership