April 22, 2020
Municipal Leader COVID-19 Update #5
Timely updates on the public health crisis for Boards of Health, Selectboards, Town Administrators, First Responders and Emergency Managers.
Helpful Links:
  • For the latest Franklin County MACC situation report click here
  • For the latest COVID Command Center situation reports click here
  • For the COG’s COVID Municipal Resources Page click here.
  • For the Region 1 Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition, click here

On Thursday, April 23 rd at 11:00 AM, Sean Cronin, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Revenue and Director of the Division of Local Services will present recent changes and flexibility granted to cities and towns, and consider other ideas for providing further relief. To join the m eeting, click:
https://zoom.us/j/91084452058?wd=cVJiVitIb1dJQUQvcWE2Q2F5Z1B4QT09  he Meeting ID is: 910 8445 2058  and the Password is: 012923 . You can also call in at +16468769923,,91084452058# 

New Grocery Store Guidance
Grocery stores are a vitally important business during this crisis. Concern about how to protect their functions and their workers, as well as shoppers at the stores, has resulted in a new Executive Order limiting occupancy to 40% of a store’s normal maximum, including employees. Have a question about the occupancy number currently for a store in your town? The COVID Command Center suggests asking local Building Inspectors.

H4647: Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures
This new law, which will be in effect for 120 days or 45 days after the current state of emergency is lifted, places a moratorium on all phases of tenant evictions; allows landlords to use last month rent deposits to cover current expenses; protects homeowners from foreclosure; and requires lenders to offer a mortgage forbearance. For more https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H4647 .
Hemp Production
This popular Franklin County crop was designated as essential business by MDAR. Click here to review the memo. 

Essential and Non-Essential Services
The state has a continuously updated list of specific questions regarding what services are or are not considered essential: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-essential-services-faqs#general-questions---essential-services-related

Message from the MAPHCO Joint Information System:

Boards of Health interested in sharing information with residents can find a Word version of the MAPHCO weekly tips for communication here .

Buoy, 211, and Community Resource Line
Here are some public resources local boards of health should know about:
  • The first is Buoy, which is a Coronavirus prevention and treatment website. The site walks you through a set of questions about your symptoms and helps you determine if you should seek medical attention or testing. For more information, visit www.buoyhealth.com.
  • The second is Mass211. According to their website, “the Massachusetts 211 system is a call center that connects callers to information about critical health and human services available in their community.” Mass211 is happy to receive information from local communities to enhance their database so they have accurate and up to date information to give to callers. This is a good number to give to residents to find out about what services your town is providing during COVID-19 and saves you the step of setting up and staffing your own hotline. For more information, visit www.mass211.org.
  • If you prefer a more local approach to 211, the Greenfield emergency operations center is staffing a community resource line M – F 9 AM – 5 PM, available to all residents in Franklin County. You can refer callers to 413-775-6411.

Staying Safe in Warmer Weather
MAPHCO urges local boards of health to share messages about physical distancing during outdoor recreation. Click here for sample language

Members of the CPHS Health District are addressing this through the posting of signs at trailheads and parks. See below for an image.
The Franklin County Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC) has opened to help serve the response needs of Franklin County communities during the COVID-19 pandemic response. The primary goal of the MACC is to create a common operating picture across the 26 towns in Franklin County, as information sharing is so critical. MACC Situation reports will be issued once weekly and will provide information on regional and municipal response and needs. Visit the MACC web page to read the latest report and review the data dashboard. FRCOG hosts weekly coordination meetings to address needs identified by each report and divide up responsibility for addressing them. 
From issuing highway bids to finalizing municipal vulnerability plans to assessing the impact of the pandemic on local businesses, FRCOG staff are busy across the county. For a summary of FRCOG’s COVID response and impacts on the agency, click here .
The HMCC and local Emergency Management Directors continue to work tirelessly to find personal protective equipment for Franklin County’s first responders. A recent success was the regional distribution of the Commonwealth’s five masks per first responder last week.

The CARES Act authorizes $100M for FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) funds for the purchase of personal protective equipment and related supplies for our nation’s first responders. A new AFG application period will be opening soon. Please be on the lookout for that announcement which will include additional details. 
More Resources to Share with Your Residents
Resources for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19:
While the health crisis is a major challenge to Franklin County, the economic impacts of this outbreak are also already severe. Click here to learn more about resources for businesses.

Help for Families
This is a particularly difficult time for many people in our region, with the stressors of unemployment, school cancellation, and social distancing piling up. Some important resources you can share with residents include:

  • The Greenfield Safe Schools Safe Streets Coalition (4SC) and Gill-Montague Community School Partnership have shared resources for families, including a new weekly newsletter for parents.

To read the FRCOG’s previous Municipal Leader COVID-19 updates: