December 8th Information &
Resource Update
Happening Tomorrow: "Business Response to COVID-19 in 495/MetroWest" Panel Discussion

The Energy and Sustainable Development Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership invites you to a special forum as part of its series on the impact of COVID-19 on economic development, "Business Response to COVID-19 in 495/MetroWest." This panel discussion, taking place tomorrow morning, will focus on how different economic sectors in our region have responded to the pandemic.

The panel will include:
  • Lisa Churchill, Owner, Blush Bouquets of Ashland
  • Brian Earley, Vice President & General Manager, The Kraft Group/ Patriot Place
  • George Coutros, Sanofi US, Director of State Government Relations
  • Katie Quinn, Owner, Mullahy’s Cheese Shop of Hudson
  • Austin O’Connor, Owner, The Briar Group
  • Ed Cuthbertson, General Manager, Bass Pro Shops of Foxborough

This event will take place remotely via Zoom tomorrow, Wednesday December 9th at 8:30 AM; click here to register. The event is open to all interested persons, though registration is required.

Panelists will speak to COVID-19's impact on their business and sector, strategies for pandemic resilience, and their thoughts on the future. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions of panelists.

The 495/MetroWest Partnership's Energy and Sustainable Development Committee focuses on issues related to land use, energy, brownfields remediation, low-impact development, broadband connectivity, placemaking, and environmental stewardship. Committee meetings and events are open to all interested participants.
New COVID-19 Testing Site Open in Framingham for General Public; Appointments Required

The Commonwealth has opened a new drive-through Express COVID-19 testing site in Framingham, in partnership with Framingham State University and Project Beacon as part of its "Stop the Spread" initiative. 

Individuals do not need to have any COVID-19 symptoms or approval from a health care provider to get a test at this site. Tests must be scheduled in advance online and will be performed using a self-swabbing method in a drive-through format; all test takers must be in their car at all times during the testing process and walk-up test takers will not get tested.

The new location is at 484 Franklin Street in Framingham, in the Framingham State University Commuter Parking Lot. Testing must be scheduled in advance online; click here to access the online portal necessary for scheduling an appointment. The first appointments at this new site will begin tomorrow, Wednesday December 9th. For more general information about the testing site and procedure, click here.  

Tests at this and other "Stop the Spread" sites are open to all Massachusetts residents over the age of 12 months old. No form of identification will need to be presented at the testing site prior to getting a COVID-19 test.

The Commonwealth also operates two additional testing sites in Framingham, including a drive-through site at the TJX Companies Inc. corporate headquarters on Cochituate Road and a walk-up site at the South Middlesex Opportunity Council on Bishop Street; click here for more information on these sites
Revised "Return to Work" Guidance

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has revised its "Return to Work" guidance for employees across sectors in the Commonwealth, addressing when workers should quarantine or isolate, and at what point it becomes appropriate to return to a work site.

The complete guidance, which can be accessed online here, details:
  • "When to quarantine" guidance for Health Care Workers, First Responders, Critical Infrastructure Workers, and all other workers separately
  • Guidance for Critical Infrastructure Workers who are symptomatic, and those who are not symptomatic
  • NEW: Specifies the circumstances under which a strict quarantine may end after 7, 10, or 14 days

The revised guidance outlines qualifying circumstances that could potentially shorten a strict quarantine period. Per DPH, COVID-19 infection may occur after an incubation period of up to 14 days after exposure, "however, the majority of cases have incubation periods of fewer than 10 days. Based on observational and published data, and recent modeling work conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if shortened quarantine periods result in increased compliance with contact tracing and adherence to quarantine recommendations, the small risk that someone may develop COVID-19 after a shortened strict quarantine period is outweighed by the expected benefit of reduced transmission from the increased cooperation." 

The revised guidance now specifies (on page 4) the circumstances under which a strict quarantine may end after 7, 10, or 14 days. The guidance notes that some facilities, including long-term care facilities, may have additional risks.
MAPC to Host Webinar on DHCD
Local Rapid Recovery Planning Grant Program

The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has launched a Local Rapid Recovery Planning grant program, summarized in the Partnership's November 30th Information and Resource update; the application and program details can be found here.  

The program is focused primarily on business district revitalization strategies. DHCD is encouraging joint applications from municipalities (up to four), either geographically proximate or with similar typology. Successful applicants will be paired with a consultant to work on the project from January to June 30th (all funds must be expended by June 30th).  

Mass. Growth Capital Loan Programs Available to Small Businesses

The Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) is a resource for debt financing for small businesses; the purpose of MGCC is to create and preserve jobs at small businesses, inclusive of those owned by women, minorities, immigrants and veterans. MGCC also works to promote economic development throughout the Commonwealth, with special attention paid to business needs in underserved areas, Gateway Cities, and low to moderate income communities.

MGCC offers a number of loan programs for small businesses, including (click the respective links for more detailed information):

  • SBA Microloan Program; MGCC is one of only two statewide intermediary lenders for the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Microloan program. The Microloan program provides financing from $5,000 to $50,000 to Massachusetts small businesses to assist with working capital, or the purchase of furniture, fixtures, supplies, materials, and/or equipment.

  • Diversity programs, providing access to capital for businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you. You may reach me directly via email at [email protected].

Jason Palitsch
Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership