January 22nd Information &
Resource Update
Reopening Update: Early Closure, Stay at Home Order Lift Monday;
Reduced Capacity in Effect Until February 8th

Yesterday, Governor Baker announced that several business restrictions put in place late in 2020 to address a spike in COVID-19 cases around the holidays will be lifted in the coming days. Effective Monday, January 25th at 5:00 AM:

  • The Stay at Home Advisory for the hours of 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM is rescinded.

  • The Mandatory Early Closure of Businesses Order, which since early November has required certain businesses to close by 9:30 PM each night, will be rescinded. The following businesses and activities listed below may operate past 9:30 PM:
  • Restaurants
  • Arcades, and Other Indoor & Outdoor Recreation (Phase 3, Step 1 businesses only)
  • Movie Theaters and Outdoor Performance Venues
  • Drive-In Movie Theaters
  • Youth and Adult Amateur Sports Activities
  • Golf Facilities
  • Recreational Boating and Boating Businesses (e.g. charter boats)
  • Outdoor Recreational Experiences
  • Casinos and Horse Tracks / Simulcast Facilities
  • Driving and Flight Schools
  • Zoos, Botanical Gardens, Wildlife Reserves, Nature Centers
  • Close Contact Personal Services (e.g. hair and nail salons)
  • Museums/Cultural & Historical Facilities/Guided Tours
  • Gyms/Fitness Centers and Health Clubs
  • Indoor and Outdoor Pools

Effective with the rescinding of the Early Closing Order, liquor stores and other retail establishments that sell alcohol will be permitted to sell alcohol past 9:30 PM; adult use cannabis retailers will also be permitted to sell cannabis after 9:30 PM.

Gatherings and events will also be permitted to continue past 9:30 PM. All gatherings and events will remain subject to current capacity limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Phase 3, Step 2 businesses must remain fully closed.  

Capacity Limits: Under the current restrictions that are being extended today until Monday, February 8th, most customer-facing businesses operating in Massachusetts remain subject to a 25% capacity limit. For a list of sectors subject to the extended capacity restrictions, click here

Gatherings Limit: The current gathering limits in place since December 26th are being extended to Monday, February 8th. Indoor gatherings and events will remain limited to 10 people. Outdoor gatherings and events will remain limited to 25 people outside. The gatherings limit applies to private homes, event venues, and public spaces.  

State Launches "Community One Stop for Growth,"
Single Application Portal for 10 Grant Programs

Yesterday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the launch of the "Community One Stop for Growth" program, a joint application process that will allow applicants—including municipalities, public entities, community non-profits, and private companies—to use a single portal to access ten different grant programs. 
The new One Stop process includes a single application portal to multiple grant programs offered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and MassDevelopment. The One Stop also incorporates direct referrals to additional programs, offers tailored guidance, and features collaborative review, all organized around a single timeline.

The portal also includes an optional "Expression of Interest" that allows an applicant to indicate economic development priorities and seek feedback from EOHED and its partner agencies prior to submitting a full application. To help guide applicants, the One Stop uses a Development Continuum, or lifecycle, that describes how a typical economic development project moves from concept to reality within diverse communities.
This coordinated effort for accessing state grants and agencies originated out of a series of regional engagement sessions held in 2019 during the crafting of the administration’s economic development plan, Partnerships for Growth. During those sessions, leaders from municipal government and the community development sector routinely cited a number of long-standing challenges to securing state funding, including difficulty in identifying available funding sources, understanding the purpose and requirements necessary for successful access, and navigating a complex patchwork of different timelines, processes, and guidelines. 

SBA Massachusetts: Webinar on COVID-19
Financial Resources for Businesses

The Massachusetts District Office of the Small Business Administration (SBA) is collaborating with the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, Retailers Association of Massachusetts, and the National Federation of Independent Business to host a webinar focused on COVID-19 financial resources available to restaurants and retailers. The webinar will provide an update on the Paycheck Protection Program, and will include a Q&A session on other financial programs.

The free, virtual event will take place on Monday, January 25th at 9:00 AM, and will cover new relief programs available through the recently passed Consolidated Appropriations Act, including: 
  • PPP Second Draw Key Dates & Changes
  • PPP Forgiveness
  • Expanded Eligible Expenses
  • Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
  • Debt Relief Program Extension
  • Traditional SBA Lending Modifications
  • Repeal of EIDL Advance Deduction

AIM Webinar: Employers & COVID Vaccination

Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) recently produced a webinar featuring three experts focused on COVID-19 vaccination, focused on the implications for vaccines, including for employers. The discussion, available online at this link, was moderated by AIM Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Brooke Thomson, and featured:
  • Dr. Michael Collins, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Kevin Cranston, Assistant Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • Maura McLaughlin, Employment Law Partner, Morgan, Brown & Joy
The full webinar video can be accessed online at this link; a companion "key points" document can be accessed here.
Framingham Small Business Webinar

The City of Framingham's Planning and Community Development Department and the Framingham Marketing Group (FMG) will host a free, online webinar for Framingham small businesses on Monday, January 25th at 6:30 PM.

During the first 30-minutes, professionals from FMG will share their expertise on how to grow small businesses. FMG is an affiliation of related businesses that provides assistance on strategy, marketing, and promotional needs.

There will be at Q&A session in the second half of the webinar.

FMG participants include:
  • Nancy Cantor, Cantor Consulting - Business Coach
  • Nikki Davidson, Bravo Baskets - Gift Baskets
  • Rob Levine, Levine Design & Illustration - Branding/Design
  • Teddy Sullivan, Scorpion Printing - Print
  • Bill Bluestein, Bilmar Sales - Promo Products
  • Kathleen DelPrete, DelPrete Consulting - Marketing
  • Ethan Gordon, Gordon Multimedia - Web & SEO
  • Adam Greene, Green Lens Media - Video Production
  • Chris Woolf, The Voice Depot - Voiceover Services

Municipal Government Response to COVID-19
in 495/MetroWest Panel Discussion on February 9th

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 our region, Municipal Government Response to COVID-19 in 495/MetroWest. This panel discussion will focus on how municipal governments across our region have responded to the pandemic.

Our panel of municipal leaders from across our service region will address topics that include COVID protocols put in place in their municipal operations, CARES funding allocations, permitting, efforts to support the local business community, working remotely while serving the public, and next steps with vaccination now in sight. Our panel is currently in formation; panelists will be announced in the coming weeks. Attendees will have an opportunity to submit questions for panelists to address.

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

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.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you:
Jason Palitsch, Executive Director
(774) 760-0495 x105

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.