Dear Select Boards, Town Administrators, and Greenfield Council and Mayor:
We hope this email finds you doing as well as possible in these uncertain and stressful times for our community and the world. The COG is aware that you are working hard in your communities to respond to all the myriad impacts of this crisis, and are receiving an overwhelming volume of emails and so we are trying to reach out only once a week with updates of
things we believe are important to you.
Public Health/Public Safety Information Sharing
There is concern about how we can protect the health and safety of our first responders as the number of cases in the region multiplies. The Governor
issued an Executive Order
on Wednesday that includes a mandate that local boards of health share the home address of those people diagnosed with COVID-19 with the official in charge of emergency calls in the jurisdiction. No other identifying information can be shared and the address information can only be used for responding to emergency calls and is to be kept confidential. For the towns served by the COG’s CPHS Health District, a process is in place with Shelburne Control, and any service dispatched to those addresses will be warned to wear appropriate protection.
On-Site Liquor Consumption
Regional Health Agent Randy Crochier asked that we share an update from the ABCC with you as the local alcohol licensing authorities:
The Governor’s Executive Order banning the sales of alcohol for consumption onsite
took effect March 17, 2020 and will remain in effect through April 5, 2020 unless further extended. Based on calls and emails with questions in regards to this, Randy was in contact with Ryan Melville, Deputy Executive Director of the ABCC. Mr. Melville confirmed that for restaurants with liquor licenses (who have all been ordered to have take-out service only) and bars, there are to be no sales of alcoholic beverages consumed on-site. These orders include outside areas that are currently licensed for service such as outside tables, golf course, club grounds, etc.. Mr. Melville also stated that any license holder that violates the Governor’s Order is subject to a 30 day loss of license after the Governor’s Orders are rescinded.
Public Health Emergency Funding for COVID-19 Case Management
The Baker-Polito Administration has made funding available immediately to address public health costs incurred in responding to this outbreak. Funds will flow directly to the 14 largest cities in the state and the 15 existing health districts, that include the CPHS, Eastern Franklin Health District, and Foothills Health District. All other municipalities will receive their funding through the FRCOG. Surveys of needs have gone out to all local boards of health, and funds will be available next week. The CPHS has increased its public health nursing staff, and in response to requests from boards of health, will be providing the COVID-19 coverage for a few non-member towns as well.
FEMA Disaster Declaration
On March 13 Massachusetts received an Emergency Declaration (FEMA-3438-EM) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. FEMA grant assistance is provided to applicants for eligible costs associated with Category B, Emergency Protective Measures. Your Emergency Management Directors have received notice of this funding from MEMA, and have been encouraged to log into their Grants Portal account and complete the Request for Public Assistance (RPA). The Disaster Declaration Number is FEMA-3438-EM, which is now active in Grants Portal. Your EMD’s email address is their portal username. If your town is not a registered user, there is a registration form at
. We encourage you to forward this information to any private non-profit entity in your community (especially the medical facilities) who may have eligible emergency protective measure costs and direct them to the same form to return to MEMA at
Isolation and Quarantine
What do these terms mean? You will be hearing them a great deal in the coming weeks. Both are orders to stay in one’s home. Isolation applies to a person with a diagnosis, and Quarantine to one of their known close contacts. The FRCOG's Public Health Preparedness Coalition, the Mohawk Area Public Health Coalition (MAPHCO), has been putting out regular joint communications to boards of health, and has put together a
primer on Isolation and Quarantine
that may be helpful to municipal leaders as well.
On March 18, Governor Baker issued an
requiring all early education centers and family childcare providers to close, starting Monday March 23. Exempt Emergency Child Care Programs will be the only childcare programs able to operate. Families who work to maintain the health, safety, and welfare of all Commonwealth citizens will receive priority access to emergency childcare programs and these centers should only be used by people who must go to work. Vulnerable children will also receive priority access and space will be made for people who must go to work but aren’t necessarily emergency personnel. We don’t yet know where in the region these centers will be approved.
Franklin County’s legislative delegation is working tirelessly to address the unique needs and issues of municipalities, and especially rural municipalities, during this crisis. The delegation and FRCOG staff are in regular contact and are developing a routine and methodical communication system. Please send us your needs and issues so we can work together and collaboratively to address them.
Where can you get updated news?