I hope that you, and those
you care about, are healthy and safe.
As a follow-up to my previous weekly emails, I want to share an update on what our government is doing to combat
the spread of COVID-19 and to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on the health and well-being of people in our communities and across the Commonwealth and our country.
Today there are 5,752 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts and 56 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported. Ramped up testing, tracing and quarantining are key to stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Over the weekend, Massachusetts conducted 10,000 new tests, and to-date, more than 40,000 Massachusetts residents have been tested for COVID-19 by the State Public Health Laboratory and commercial and clinical labs.
Last week, the federal government passed the
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security
. This momentous legislation includes numerous initiatives that will benefit Massachusetts residents broadly. Our U.S. congressional representatives will be sharing details on timing and amounts of funding soon.
We’ll continue to get through this together and our office is here to help.
If you have questions or need assistance, please contact us at
This email and phone number are the most efficient ways to contact us right now and the best way to ensure a prompt response to your inquiry.
I also post updates daily on Facebook.
Governor Baker is providing daily updates on the Commonwealth’s efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Here’s the latest:
As of today, March 30, there are 5,752 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. The
Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported 56 deaths from COVID-19.
More than 3,802 people have been quarantined and 2,147 are currently undergoing monitoring/quarantined. 42,793 Massachusetts residents have been tested for COVID-19 by the State Public Health Laboratory and commercial and clinical labs. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health shares updated numbers on its website each day.
All Massachusetts public and private schools are closed through May 4.
All restaurants, bars and eating establishments are to be closed, except for pickup and delivery, through April 6.
By order of Gov. Baker, gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.
Grocery and drug stores may remain open.
Employers are encouraged to support alternative work arrangements, including allowing employees to work from home.
The Baker-Polito Administration
announced an online portal where individuals and companies can easily
personal protective equipment (PPE) and volunteer to support the COVID-19 outbreak in Massachusetts.
Manufacturers interested in producing needed PPE and materials are encouraged to visit
for more information.
needs volunteers of all skill levels and backgrounds from both medical and non-medical professions. If you are a licensed or certified health care provider, a public health professional, a retiree, or are an individual with an interest in helping the community, they invite you to complete the secure, online registration process.
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. Additionally, stay home (except to visit your healthcare provider), separate yourself from others, cover your coughs, clean your hands often and clean all ‘high touch’ surfaces frequently. Following are updates on State services that may also be helpful:
provides real-time COVID-19 information, resources, and referrals in multiple languages. Residents can also reach 2-1-1 through a live chat option on the Massachusetts 2-1-1 website.
MA residents who suspect they might have COVID-19 can now use the
Buoy Health COVID-19 Web App
, which will help to screen them based on a series of questions and connect them to a health care provider via telehealth.
Massachusetts Health Connector
has opened a special enrollment period to all uninsured residents until April 25.
In addition, the Administration announced that MassHealth and the Health Connector will protect coverage for all individuals who have Medicaid coverage as of March 18, 2020 and for all individuals approved for coverage during the national emergency. The Connector will also delay any disconnections.
IF YOU NEED NON-MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
For workers, business owners and others whose income has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, following are updates and resources that may be helpful:
The state is waiving the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits, allowing new claims to be paid more quickly.
Unemployment claims can be
DUA may now pay unemployment benefits if a worker is quarantined due to an order by a civil authority or medical professional or leaves employment due to reasonable risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member and does not intend to or is not allowed to return to work. The worker need not provide medical documentation and need only be available for work when and as able. Additional legislation is being filed that may provide further assistance and flexibility. The following link provides information for employees and employers regarding the DUA and Covid-19:
Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
virtual Town Halls
(via phone and online) to offer step by step instructions for filing a successful unemployment claim and to answer questions from claimants across the Commonwealth.
Town Halls will be held this week:
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 1:45 pm
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 2 pm
Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 2:10 pm
Friday, April 3, 2020 at 2 pm
To sign up in advance for a specific town hall time and date or to join a session, go to this site.
The recently passed
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security
gives Massachusetts $260 billion in dramatically expanded unemployment benefits to cover for-profit and non-profit businesses whether they participate in their state’s unemployment insurance system or not. It includes an additional $600 per week on top of whatever the state pays in unemployment benefits for the next four weeks, and workers who are furloughed, but remain on their company’s health insurance would also become eligible. The CARES Act also expands eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers, though states are still awaiting federal guidance and cannot disperse payments yet.
ASSISTANCE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Loans and grants may be available to help with immediate cash flow needs.
The U.S. Small Business Alliance (SBA) is administering $10 billion in emergency grants of up to $10,000 to any business that applies for an economic injury disaster loan through the SBA.
The grant money can be used to maintain payroll, provide sick leave or cover obligations like debt, rent or mortgages, and would not need to be repaid if the loan application is ultimately denied. Grant monies are intended to be disbursed within three days of a loan application being processed and do not need to be repaid.
The loans are up to $2 million with long terms and a 3.75 percent interest rate. No loan payments are due in first six months. The loans are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, to help businesses cover operating costs.
The SBA has extensive information on loan programs and other initiatives that are available to small businesses, non-profits and some other organizations through the federal
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security
CARES) Act. Rep. Hogan’s office can share the guide with you; you can also contact the local Small Business Association (SBA) office and find more information at www.sba.gov/ma
A cornerstone of the SBA’s loan offerings is the Paycheck Protection Program -
an emergency lending program with $349 billion in new lending capacity that is
intended to help small businesses cover their near-term operating expenses during the worst of the crisis and
rovide a strong incentive for employers to retain their employees.
The maximum loan is equivalent to 250 percent of the employer’s average monthly payroll costs or $10 million, whichever is less.
The program includes a number of generous features for borrowers, including six to 12 months of deferred repayment, fee waivers, and streamlined application requirements.
North Central MA Development Corporation (NCMDC) is offering emergency loans up to $20,000.
directly for the application.
The Department of Revenue announced that it will waive any late-file or late-pay penalties for returns and payment due for meals and room occupancy taxes between March 20 and May 31, 2020. The due date for these payments has been postponed to June 20. All penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.
Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the year ending Feb. 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes.
Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the year ending Feb. 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes.
Deadlines for filing federal and state individual income taxes have been extended from April 15 to July 15.
Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline
(1-800-645-8333) are available to connect you to food resources in the community as well as provide information about elder meals programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. The Hotline will continue to operate Monday-Friday, 8am-7pm and Saturdays 10am-2pm, and can provide information in 160 languages through its Language Line.
The Attorney General’s Office promulgated an emergency regulation to address price gouging of necessary goods and services during the current public health crisis.
The Department of Public Utilities has issued a moratorium to suspend all shut-offs of gas and electric utilities, including Municipal Light and Gas Plants, for residential customers during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced a
nationwide eviction and foreclosure moratorium
. If you, like many homeowners, have a mortgage owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, they will suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days. This includes foreclosures that are already in progress. The order also applies to people with loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration — so-called F.H.A. loans.
Governor Baker has promised that no “non-essential eviction actions” will be taken for as long as Massachusetts' declared state of emergency lasts. Legislators are working to pause evictions and foreclosures across the state.
Social Security Administration
is mostly closing more than 1,200 offices where Americans get help with applications for retirement, disability and Medicare benefits. But payments to more than 69 million Social Security beneficiaries are not affected. Service will continue to be available via the agency’s toll-free line — (800) 772-1213 — and its
for most routine services, including help with benefit claims or requesting a new Social Security card. Field offices will only offer in-person assistance on a very short list of crucial services. These include reinstatement of benefits in dire circumstances; assistance to people with severe disabilities, blindness or terminal illnesses; and people in dire need of eligibility decisions for Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid eligibility related to work status. Those seeking in-person help must call in advance.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will
extend the renewal timeline of certain credentials
to reduce need for customers to physically visit service center for in-person transactions.
Vehicle registration and i
nspection deadlines are also extended.
All schools are closed until at least May 4.
All Town buildings, including libraries, are closed to the public.
Town owned playgrounds, as well as the Skate Park in Hudson, are also closed until further notice.
Athletic fields are closed to group gatherings and sporting activities.
State and Town parks will remain open and residents are encouraged to continue using public, open spaces with their families while practicing the CDC guidelines for social distancing and hygiene.
Gov. Baker has signed an
temporarily authorizing local municipal boards to allow remote participation of all of members, including public participants. It also provides some flexibility in setting alternate meeting locations, provided that public access is maintained.
Library users are encouraged to hold onto any library materials in their possession until further notice. No overdue fines will be imposed for materials held during the current crisis. Fees may apply should materials be returned in damaged condition.
Library users are also reminded that our libraries have posted a growing list of educational, informative diversions online, including downloadable materials
Local grocery stores have announced
special shopping hours
for seniors and those with a weakened immune system, as well as limits on certain items.
Minuteman Senior Services continues to accept referrals by phone or via its online referral form. MSS is also keeping its resource database up-to-date with current, town by town information for those that need assistance with food, medicine, or essential transportation. Please call 888-222-6171 for assistance
- The Town will utilize Zoom Video Communications for remote conferencing access to public meetings.
- All Senior Center programs and events have been postponed until further notice. Meals On Wheels deliveries and van transportation for medical appointments will continue.
- The Department of PublicWorks buildings are closed to the public.
- At this time, the transfer station will remain open for its regularly scheduled hours of operation.The Town of Bolton respectfully asks that the recycling containers be utilized without assistance from attendants at this time. If this is not possible, we ask that residents hold your recycling materials at home.
- Trash (garbage) will continue to be accepted at the compactors.
- All walk-in services to the Public Safety Building (PSB) are temporarily suspended. The public is encouraged to contact the departments via telephone (Police at 978-779-7800 or Fire/EMS at 978-779-2203) for all non-emergencies. If you have an emergency please dial 911.
- Records requests can be requested by contacting Lorraine Kenney at 978-779-7832 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- All Town of Hudson buildings will be closed to the public. Police and Fire Headquarters and Fire Station 1 will be open for emergencies only.
- Police, Fire, DPW, Inspectional Services, Health and the Town Clerk will remain available to the public via email and telephone. Other departments will be staffed remotely. Online services will be maintained. These departments may have limited voicemail capabilities. Our phone system does not allow forwarding to remote land lines or cell phones, so our ability to take calls will be severely curtailed. The best method to reach departments is via email. While not all email addresses are on our department webpages, our standard nomenclature is first initial, last name @townofhudson.org.
- The transfer station remains open
- The overnight parking ban has been lifted as of noon March 24, 2020
- Because of the 10–person gathering limit, board and commission meetings will not be open to the general public. In order to protect staff, HUD –TV will likely suspend broadcast of most, if not all meetings. We are working on deploying a standard remote audio/video platform. That will be announced in the coming days. It is too early to make a decision on Town Meeting.
- Any medical or public health questions should be directed to the Health Department at (978) 562-2020. Please note that they are experiencing high call volume, and will return phone calls as soon as possible giving priority to urgent matters.
- The Hudson Police Department is implementing Swift911, a system that makes phone calls to specific people or areas in the event of an emergency or for sharing information. If you have not received a phone message from this system and would like to be added to the list, or, if your wish to stop receiving these calls, please fill out the form at http://hudsonpd.org/swiftreach.html
- The First United Methodist Church (34 Felton St.) is open 12-2 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays for drive-thru food pick up of food for anyone in need.
- The Police Department is offering pick-up and delivery services for residents with a high risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. This includes the delivery of groceries, prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines and vital supplies.
- The Town of Maynard has compiled a webpage with Resources for the Business and Nonprofit Community in response to COVID-19
- The Maynard Council on Aging is closed to the general public but staff are available onsite for support services and its van service is operating for essential services only.
- Open Table’s pantry service is open for drive-thru pickup only. Community Dinners have been canceled.
- Maynard Food Pantry will be open for pick up or drive through only.
The Beacon Villager is maintaining a list of what’s open and closed in Maynard and Stow. The list can be accessed
- The Stow Food Pantry will hold Drive-Up Food Pantries April 4 & 5. The Food Pantry will pre-package all client orders and bring them to client’s cars at the client’s appointment time. There will be a total of 3 pantries over April 4 & 5 and hope to serve as many clients as possible. The pantry is not accepting food donations at this time, but gratefully accepts monetary donations.
- Residents who need to seek permits or other information from Town Building Departments during the Town Building Closure:
- Please be in touch with the relevant Department via email or phone to let them know you will be submitting an application or dropping off information, to discuss review times or inspections, or request public documents or other information. Department-specific information can also be found on individual webpages at www.stow-ma.gov.
- Permit-related applications can be obtained from the webpages of the relevant Department
- Applications and other documents, including checks, may be dropped off at Town Building via the mail slot in the front door or the box at the front door (which can accommodate large items like plans). Application materials, checks, etc. should be placed in an envelope with the name of the relevant Department on the front of the envelope. Alternatively, applications may be submitted electronically with application fees placed in the mail slot.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Much in our towns and region have been canceled or postponed because of COVID-19, but caring for each other is not one of them.
Team Hogan has gathered information to help you reach out safely to assist others.
In addition to reaching out and checking in with your neighbors, following is a list of ways you may be able to help others in our community:
Hudson’s United Methodist Church
Donate and volunteer at Hudson’s United Methodist Church’s Drive-Thru and Pickup Provisions. Donations of food, cleaning supplies and toilet paper are welcome. Volunteers are needed: Text Stacey Hartford at 978-601-2494
If you would like to help the Bolton senior community with grocery shopping, prescription pickup & Meals on Wheels deliveries please contact email@example.com.
The Stow Council on Aging
you-help for more information on donating and volunteering.
The Maynard Neighbor Brigade
has adjusted its scope of services to help communities and support residents during the coronavirus health crisis. Read more about coronavirus efforts and volunteer here:
Open Table has suspended its community dinners, but its pantry remains open with drive-thru service. If you can volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to donate groceries, see drop off instructions here (
groceries/) or email email@example.com
The Stow Food Pantry
The Stow Food Pantry continues to support the community and is accepting financial donations via PayPal at
or on Facebook. Checks can be sent to PO Box 437, Stow, MA 01775
Hudson Food Pantry
The Maynard Food Pantry
The Maynard Food Pantry welcomes monetary donations (mail checks to P.O. Box 55, Maynard, MA 01754) and donations of certain items, including hearty canned soups, cereal and toiletries.