September 10th Information &
Resource Update
Summary: New Federal COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements,
Programs Aimed At Responding to Rising National Infection Rates

In response to resurgent incidents of COVID-19 across the country, yesterday the President outlined a series of new requirements and programs aimed at increasing rates of vaccination and controlling the fallout from new infections. These requirements will impact most 495/MetroWest Partnership stakeholders, in particular entities with 100 or more employees.

The full text of the 6-point program can be accessed online here. A summary of selected elements of the new requirements and programs follows:

New Vaccination Requirements

Requiring All Employers with 100+ Employees to Ensure their Workers are Vaccinated or Tested Weekly: The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement. The 495/MetroWest Partnership will distribute the text of this new standard to our stakeholders once it is published.

Requiring Vaccinations for all Federal Workers and for Contractors that Do Business with the Federal Government: The President has signed an Executive Order to require all federal executive branch workers to be vaccinated. The President has also signed an Executive Order directing that this standard be extended to employees of contractors that do business with the federal government. As part of this effort, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Indian Health Service, and the National Institute of Health will complete implementation of their previously announced vaccination requirements.

Requiring COVID-⁠19 Vaccinations for Health Care Workers at Medicare and Medicaid Participating Hospitals and Other Health Care Settings: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking action to require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies. This action builds on the vaccination requirement for nursing facilities recently announced by CMS, and will apply to nursing home staff as well as staff in hospitals and other CMS-regulated settings, including clinical staff, individuals providing services under arrangements, volunteers, and staff who are not involved in direct patient, resident, or client care.

Requiring Employers to Provide Paid Time Off to Get Vaccinated: OSHA is developing a rule that will require employers with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for the time it takes for workers to get vaccinated or to recover if they feel ill post-vaccination. This requirement will be implemented through the ETS.

Increasing Testing and Masking

Mobilizing Industry to Expand Easy-to-Use Testing Production: Using authorities of the Defense Production Act and through the procurement of nearly $2 billion in rapid point-of-care and over-the-counter at-home COVID tests from multiple COVID-19 test manufacturers, the Administration intends to increase industrial capacity for COVID-19 test manufacturing.

Continuing to Require Masking for Interstate Travel and Double Fines: A previous Executive Order had directed applicable agencies to take action to require mask-wearing in airports and on certain modes of public transportation, including on many airplanes, trains, maritime vessels, and intercity bus services. TSA has extended its implementing orders for air and ground travel through January 18th, 2022, and will double fines for those who are not in compliance.

Continue to Require Masking on Federal Property: The President will extend an existing Executive Order requiring masks and specific physical distancing requirements in federal buildings, on federal lands, on military bases, and other overseas locations, consistent with CDC guidance.

New Business Support Programming

SBA Initiatives for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-⁠19: The Small Business Administration (SBA) will increase the maximum amount of funding a small business can borrow through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program from $500,000 to $2 million, which can be used to hire and retain employees, purchase inventory and equipment, and pay off higher-interest debt. SBA will not require small businesses to start repaying these loans until two years after they receive the funding. SBA will offer a 30-day exclusive window of access where only small businesses seeking loans of $500,000 or less will receive awards after the new improved loan product launches.

Streamlining the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Process: On August 4th the SBA announced a new streamlined PPP loan forgiveness process. SBA now sends a pre-completed application form to the borrower who can review, sign, and send back to SBA, which then works with the lender to complete the forgiveness process.

Increasing Support for COVID-Burdened Hospitals: The Department of Defense will double the number of DOD teams of clinicians deployed to support hospitals battling a surge in COVID-19 cases. These clinicians will be available for mission assignment through FEMA’s response across surge states.

Further elements of the President’s announcement include information regarding booster shots, school openings and safety, and additional items related to masking and testing.

The 495/MetroWest Partnership will distribute new OSHA rules pertaining to entities with 100 or more employees as soon as they become available.
DLS to Host Municipal Law Seminars Sept. 23rd & 30th

The Massachusetts Division of Local Services will offer its annual seminar "What's New in Municipal Law" workshops virtually for municipal officials on Thursday, September 23rd and Thursday, September 30th. Click here to register for either session.

The "What's New in Municipal Law" seminar will include narrated, prerecorded videos discussing recent cases related to municipal finance and municipal law published on the DLS website prior to the workshop dates and your choice of the following live virtual sessions hosted by DLS staff:
  • Local Tax Administration and Assessment: Discussion of current and recurring issues related to energy facilities, the recently amended Clause 45 and 8 of 58 applications.
  • Proper Municipal Expenditures and Special Funds: Discussion of current and recurring municipal finance issues related to the expenditure of municipal funds, gifts and grants, and departmental revolving funds.
  • Tax Collection: Discussion of current and recurring issues related to collection of local taxes and charges, including tax takings, tax sales, Land of Low Value, motor vehicle excise and boat excise.

Click here to register for either session. Questions regarding these seminars may be directed via email to
State Department of Early Education & Care to Hold Business Engagement Dialogues

The Commonwealth's Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), in partnership with Commonwealth Corporation and the Business Coalition for Early Childhood, will host a series of Business Dialogues to better understand what innovative models in child care can meet new needs in the future of work.

These sessions are entitled “Business Dialogues: Childcare as the Backbone of the New Economy” and will be held on September 14th at 11:00 AM and September 20th at 1:00 PM. Click here to register for one or both of these conversations.

This Business Dialogue series features leaders in the child care industry and is meant to inspire creative thinking for the future of child care. Speakers will include Sam Aigner-Treworgy, Commissioner of the Business Advisory Council for Department of Early Education and Care, and Christine Abrams, President & CEO of Commonwealth Corporation.
Devens Workforce Assistance Meeting

MassDevelopment will host a conversation with members of the Devens business community focused on coordination with area public higher education institutions for workforce development. Participants will learn how Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) and Fitchburg State University (FSU) can help businesses to:
  • Connect with new hires through job fairs and internships
  • Engage in high-quality professional development through non-credit workforce training
  • Earn industry accredited degrees
  • Collaborate with faculty and staff on projects that solve real problems in our region and your industry
  • Participate in employer panels, academic conferences, and as guest speakers
  • Learn how alumni and development offices can help employers connect with alumni
  • Host meetings in state-of-the art conference spaces
  • Assist in securing dollars for training through the Workforce Training Fund

This event will take place on Thursday, September 23rd at 8:30 AM virtually via Zoom; click here to register.

Presenters will include Colleen Clark, Assistant Dean of Workforce Development for MWCC, and Lisa Moison, Associate Dean of the School of Graduate, Online and Continuing Education at FSU. The conversation will be led by Jessica Strunkin, MassDevelopment’s Executive Vice President of Devens.
SBA Offering Supplemental Awards to SVOG Grantees

The SBA has announced it will offer supplemental awards for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program. SVOG supplemental awards are to be provided to those who received an initial grant and have illustrated a 70% loss when comparing 2021’s first-quarter revenues to the same in 2019. This program has primarily served theaters, live venue spaces, and other entertainment and cultural hubs.

Supplemental award applicants can choose to apply for any amount up to 50% of their original SVOG amount, with a $10 million cap of the initial and supplemental awards combined. The supplemental awards also allow SVOG recipients to extend the time to use their grant funds for expenses accrued through June 30th, 2022 and lengthen their budget period to 18 months from the initial grant’s disbursement date. 

If sufficient funding is not available for all eligible entities to receive a supplemental award, priority will be given to applicants who have illustrated the greatest revenue loss in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter in 2019.

Existing grantees will receive an invitation directly from SBA to request a supplemental award; click here to access the full announcement.
Investor Spotlight: Carruth Capital

Throughout 2021, the 495/MetroWest Partnership is acknowledging our Investors in our Information & Resource Updates. Click here to learn about becoming an Investor!
Carruth Capital, LLC is a privately-owned, well-capitalized commercial real estate firm with over 3.7 million square feet of space under ownership. Carruth is one of the largest landlords in Massachusetts with over 220 tenants occupying 43 commercial buildings. Carruth works with tenants through their growth cycles as well as their down cycles, continually offering larger or smaller spaces to companies to accommodate their needs, whether in the first year of a lease or the last year of a lease. Carruth's investment strategy is for the long term: expecting to hold their properties for generations to come, they maintain and upgrade them as needed. Carruth Capital is an original Investor in the 495/MetroWest Partnership, dating to the organization's founding.

The 495/MetroWest Partnership thanks Carruth Capital for their CHAMPION level Investment! Check out our full list of Investors at
Considering Expanding Your Business in 495/MetroWest?

Are you interested in locating or expanding your business in the 495/MetroWest region? Let the 495/MetroWest Partnership assist you with your site location or expansion decision!

Our staff are able to provide location intelligence and guidance to help you navigate the region. Reach out to us through our website to let us know about your needs!
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.