Dear Friend,

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many new developments to share about the City’s efforts to respond to this public health crisis. Please know that we are doing everything we can to expand access to testing and provide resources to support residents during these difficult times.

In this email you will find information about the City’s COVID-19 strategy, updates about the Council’s FY21 Budget Review process, and more. Please share this update with your network.  As always, do not hesitate to reach out and contact my office if you need help.
Boston Area Mask Initiative
Over the past month, the Boston Area Mask Initiative has produced over 17,046 homemade protective face masks for residents and medical professionals.

By collecting small donations for face masks, I have raised over $6,000 to dollars for the Winter Walk, a campaign to end homelessness in Boston. Special thanks to Karen Foley, my Director of Constituent Services and Scheduling, for helping this effort.
Updates and Resources
It is critical that we continue to practice physical distancing, continue staying home whenever possible, wearing face coverings, washing hands, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly. According to public health officials, Boston still has not yet reached its peak in cases, so practicing these steps are more important than ever.

Please text BOSCOVID to 888-777 to sign up for daily updates about our COVID-19 strategy. More information is available on boston.gov/coronavirus.

1) As of April 26th, there are 7,910 positive cases of COVID-19 in the City of Boston. Click here for additional statistics on COVID19 cases in Boston and Massachusetts.

2) Boston has 15 testing sites in community health centers and hospitals across the City. Residents are strongly encouraged to call ahead for pre-screening and to schedule an appointment. Residents will not be charged for testing and residents will not be asked about immigration status. A full map of testing sites is available here. This link will be updated as new sites become available.

3) The City will begin sharing testing data per neighborhood. On Fridays, the City will release reports on the number of people tested and positive testing rates per neighborhood. The latest data was shared on Friday, April 24 and can be found here.

4) The City will begin allowing restaurants to sell groceries including produce, paper products and more. Restaurants will still be required to limit physical occupancy to 10 people. To sign up for this policy, restaurants musts submit a health and safety plan to the licensing board. Click here for guidance on this policy.

5) Today, the Small Business Administration will begin their second round of federal funding for small businesses under the Payroll Protection Program. Information on the loan application can be found here.

6) Last week, Governor Baker announced that schools will remain closed and operate remotely for the remainder of this academic year. The City will continue to provide free breakfast and lunch during this time. Boston Public Schools has issued a needs assessment survey to all students in the district to understand their needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Families should respond to the survey to help us determine how to better support them throughout the school closure. The survey is available in 10 different languages.

7) The Boston Transportation Dept is providing ticketing amnesty for medical workers during the pandemic. Tickets will be waived on appeal by emailing parking@boston.gov with a copy of the ticket and hospital ID. Please click here for additional information about this policy.

8) Emergency childcare programs, including nearly 40 in Boston, will continue to operate for first responders and other essential workers. You can find a list of programs here.

9) The City secured the agreement of 12 of the largest housing lenders in Boston to defer homeowners’ mortgage payments by 3 months, and longer if needed.  Click here to learn more about the Mortgage Relief Partnership during the pandemic.

10) City of Boston will move forward with universal testing for COVID-19 (coronavirus) for all unhoused individuals in Boston.

11) City Hall is operating on reduced hours and will only be open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 9AM to 5PM. If you need to visit City Hall for essential services, you must make an appointment and must complete a self screening upon entering the building.
Council Updates
Coronavirus pandemic: Local lawmakers on response efforts

Snohomish County Washington Executive Dave Somers and Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George join 'America's News HQ.'

Read more
video.foxnews.com
Although our City Hall Offices are closed, the Boston City Council is committed to making the right investments for our communities during the FY21 Budget Review process . These are difficult days for our City and it is crucial that we continue to be thoughtful with our spending to ensure a strong recovery.

Due to social distancing guidelines, this year’s budget hearings are held via Zoom and live streamed on boston.gov/city-council. If there is anything you would like me to advocate for during the budget, please email me at a.e.george@boston.gov and my Chief of Staff jessica.rodriguez@boston.gov. My office and I take the budget very seriously and we value your input.

All information about the FY21 Budget Review Process can be found here.  
FY21 Budget Calendar
Below you will find a schedule of upcoming working sessions on the FY21 Budget. To watch past hearings, please click here .
Mon, April 27 at 11AM| Working Session on the FY21 Budget for Boston Public Schools 

Tue, April 28 at 11AM | Working Session on the FY21 Budget for the Public Works Dept; Boston Transportation Dept; the Boston Public Library; Boston Centers for Youth and Families; and the Office of Youth Engagement and Employment

Thu, April 30 at 11AM | Working Session on the FY21 Budget for the Mayor's Office of Economic Development and the Boston Equity Fund
Support our Family Shelter Providers
Our City's shelter providers continue to work tirelessly for our families and individuals experiencing homelessness. Please consider making a financial contribution to one of our family shelter providers to support their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please click on their name to be directed to their website donation page.
Help Flatten the Curve
Councilor Stresses Need for Social Distancing

Boston City Councilor At-Large Annissa Essaibi-George talks about the local response to the COVID-19 threat...

Read more
www.youtube.com
Everyone has an important role to play during this public health crisis. Please continue to practice physical distancing and stay home as much as possible.

In addition, practice caution in your daily activities: wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol; avoid shaking hands; avoid touching your face; cover your coughs and sneezes; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

If you think you are experiencing mild symptoms, do not call 911. Instead, please call your healthcare provider or call 311 to contact the Boston Public Health Commission.