Massachusetts - COVID-19 Covered

Massachusetts

Total Cases: 798,905 (September 23)
Tests Administered: 4,996,148 (March 6)
Fatalities: 18,504 (September 23)
Testing:
  • A list of Massachusetts COVID-19 testing sites can be found here. 

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • In conjunction with Governor Baker’s order to close all non-essential businesses, he issued a list of those that qualify as essential services: health care/public health/human services, law enforcement, public safety, first responders, food and agriculture, energy workers, water and wastewater workers, transportation and logistics workers, public works employees, communications and IT, community-based and government operations, critical manufacturing, hazardous materials and chemicals, financial services, and defense employees. (March 23)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Massachusetts issued mandatory safety standards for workplaces which will apply universally to all reopening workplaces. Details can be found here 
  • Massachusetts released additional reopening guidance for Child Care, Camps, and Summer Recreational Programs and Close Contact Personal Services 
  • The Massachusetts Legislature passed a bill that would require employers to provide up to 40 hours of COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave (“COVID Leave”) to their employees, to be made available either through September 30, or until the exhaustion of $75,000,000 in program funds – whichever is earlier. (June 2) 
  • Governor Baker announced the creation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which provides unemployment benefits for individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits, including “self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and those with limited work history.” (April 20) 

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • The Baker administration announced $3.2 million in grants and contracts to community-based organizations as part of the Massachusetts Vaccine Equity Initiative to increase awareness and access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the 20 cities. (June 8) 
  • The Baker administration announced $70 million in funding for school districts and community organizations to offer summer learning and recreational programs to help students impacted by a year of remote and hybrid learning. (April 30) 
  • The Baker administration announced that $30.4 million in grants would be awarded to 602 additional Massachusetts businesses though state’s the COVID-19 business relief program. (April 26) 
  • The Baker administration announced $100 million in funding for four communities – Chelsea, Everett, Methuen and Randolph – that are all designated hardest hit communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. (March 25) 
  • The Baker Administration announced approximately $14.6 million in awards for 295 additional businesses in the eleventh round of COVID relief grants administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. (March 25) 
  • Governor Baker announced a targeted outreach initiative in 20 cities and towns most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and allocated $1 million to the MA League of Community Health Centers to support vaccination in “historically underserved communities.” (February 16) 
  • Governor Baker signed a $626 million capital bill focused on housing, business competitiveness, and community development. It included a five-year roadmap for capital authorizations and key policy provisions to support economic growth and improve housing stability. (February 9) 
  • The Baker administration re-filed unemployment insurance legislation initially filed last month. The Governor’s legislation aimed to sustain unemployment benefits and provide an estimated $1.3 billion in unemployment insurance relief to the Commonwealth’s employers over two years. The legislation would also propose financing measures designed to ensure the solvency of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and that federal borrowing that has occurred is repaid in a responsible and affordable manner. (January 13) 
  • The Baker administration announced over $4.7 million in grants to address urgent food insecurity for residents across the Commonwealth as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (November 24) 
  • Baker administration announced $5.9 million in grants to address urgent food insecurity for residents across the Commonwealth as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (October 28) 
  • Baker administration announced a $774 million comprehensive plan to stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy. The plan focused on getting people back to work, supporting small businesses, fostering innovation, revitalizing downtowns, and ensuring housing stability. Partnerships for Recovery began by directing $115 million in new funding to small businesses and Main Streets hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and for workforce training efforts. (October 22) 
  • The Baker administration awarded over $6.5 million to 13 Massachusetts organizations to develop new products to assist in the response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The new grants from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Emergency Response Team would expand the Commonwealth’s work to drive in-state manufacturing of critical products. (October 15) 
  • The Baker administration announced over $5.5 million in grants to address urgent food insecurity for Massachusetts residents as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. (September 30) 
  • The Baker administration announced a new grant program to help prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in communities of color. Open to applicants until October 14, the $650,000 grant program was available to faith-based organizations and community groups serving Black, Latinx, and other people of color in cities and towns hardest hit by COVID-19. (September 23) 
  • Governor Baker announced another $5 million in Massachusetts Department of Transportation and federal CARES Act funding would be made available through the Shared Streets & Spaces program, which helps create space for socially distanced commerce, dining and walking. (September 10) 
  • Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito announced the launch of My Local MA to encourage residents of the Commonwealth to support their local economies by shopping at local Massachusetts businesses and attractions, safely – in person, online, and using curbside pickup or takeout. (August 26) 
  • The Baker administration received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to distribute $300 per week in addition to regular unemployment benefits to those who qualify. (August 25) 
  • The Baker administration announced $3.3 million in grants for combatting food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (August 18) 
  • The Baker administration announced $1.8 billion in capital funding for new public safety, food security, and information technology measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (August 7) 

Business Support & Resources:

  • The Baker administration announced nearly $31 million in awards to 710 additional small businesses in the tenth round of COVID-19 relief grants administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. (March 18) 
  • The Baker administration announced approximately $39.7 million in awards for 1,026 additional businesses in the ninth round of COVID relief grants administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. (March 4 
  • The Baker administration announced approximately $173.9 million in awards to 4,043 additional small businesses in the sixth round of COVID relief grants administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. (February 4) 
  • The Baker administration awarded over $45 million in grants to 1,100 new small businesses through COVID relief program. (January 28 
  • The Baker administration announced $37.4 million in awards to 638 additional small businesses in the fourth round of grants through the COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program. (January 22) 
  • The Baker administration announced three new programs to boost internet connectivity statewide, including a subsidy program to assist job seekers in the MassHire system that are facing a technology barrier. (January 5) 
  • The Baker administration announced $67.4 million in awards to 1,366 additional small businesses in a second round of grants through the COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. (December 31) 
  • The Baker administration launched a $668 million program to provide financial assistance to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program in part relies on the pending federal COVID-19 relief bill recently passed by Congress. (December 23) 
  • The Baker administration announced that nearly $49 million in grants to small businesses would be awarded through the COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. (December 21) 
  • Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, Senate President Spilka, and House Speaker DeLeo announced an extension of administrative tax relief measures for local businesses impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. (September 15) 
  • The Baker administration announced $20 million would be allocated to support social services and small businesses through the Community Development Block Grant program. (July 16) 
  • Governor Baker announced additional administrative tax relief measures for Massachusetts businesses, especially those in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. (June 19) 

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Reopening:

  • Governor Baker announced all industries would be permitted to open to 100 percent capacity, indoor and outdoor gathering limits would be rescinded, and all state-mandated COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted except for public and private transportation systems, hospitals and other facilities housing vulnerable populations. (May 28) 
  • Governor Baker announced legislation that would extend measures providing for a temporary suspension of certain open meeting law requirements, special permits for expanded outside dining at restaurants, and billing protections for COVID-19 patients when the State of Emergency lifts on June 15. (May 25) 
  • Governor Baker announced all remaining COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted effective May 29, including the mask mandate. (May 17) 
  • Governor Baker announced amusement parks, theme parks, and outdoor water parks could operate at 50 percent capacity, and large capacity venues (indoor and outdoor stadiums / arenas) could increase capacity to 25 percent. Gathering limits would be increased to 250 people outdoors for event venues, public settings, and private settings effective May 29. (May 7) 
  • All Massachusetts residents 16 years of age or older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (April 19) 
  • Massachusetts residents 55 years of age or older, those with high-risk health conditions, and certain workers, including front line service workers, are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (April 4) 
  • The Baker administration announced the release of $27.4 million in federal funds to increase trust, vaccine acceptance and administration rates as part of the Vaccine Equity Initiative and to meet the needs of priority populations. (March 17) 
  • Governor Baker announced that dental hygienists and respiratory therapists would be permitted to administer affluenza and COVID-19 vaccines. (March 11) 
  • The Baker administration announced a new preregistration signup tool would be available for the state’s seven mass vaccination sites beginning March 12. (March 10) 
  • The Baker administration announced Massachusetts would advance to Step 2 of Phase III of the state’s reopening plan on March 1. All capacity limits across all sectors with capacity limits would be raised 50 percent, excluding employees. Restaurants would no longer have percent capacity limits. (February 25) 
  • The Baker administration announced a $4.7 million initiative to promote COVID-19 vaccine equity in the 20 communities most disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. (February 24) 
  • The Baker administration announced individuals 65 years of age and older, as well as those with 2 or more certain medical conditions, including Asthma, could begin booking an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning February 18. (February 17) 
  • The Baker administration announced that individuals who accompany someone age 75 or older to get a vaccine at a mass vaccination site may also schedule and receive their own vaccination on the same day. (February 9) 
  • The Baker administration announced a new multilingual public awareness campaign, “Trust the Facts. Get the Vax.” The $2.5 million campaign would promote the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine and urge residents to get vaccinated when it is their turn. (February 3) 
  • The Baker administration released an update on COVID-19 vaccination efforts, including new vaccination locations and the option to book appointments online. (February 3) 
  • The Baker administration announced that vaccinations for individuals 75 years of age and older would  begin on February 1. (January 27 
  • The Baker administration rescinded an existing Early Closing order that required many businesses to close at 9:30PM each evening. (January 22) 
  • The Baker administration announced it would withdraw its Stay-at-Home advisory urging residents to remain at home between the hours of 10:00PM to 5:00AM. (January 22) 
  • The Baker administration announced that all residents in Phase 1 of the state vaccine distribution plan would be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. (January 21 
  • The Baker administration announced the first location for a COVID-19 mass vaccination site in the Commonwealth, located at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. (January 12) 
  • The Baker administration announced the extension of further restrictions and new hospital guidance to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. Industry restrictions for capacity limits and reduced gathering limits that went into effect on December 26 would be extended to January 24. (January 7) 
  • The Baker administration announced that all communities in Massachusetts would return to Step 1 of Phase 3 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan, effective December 13. Indoor capacities across a broad range of sectors of the economy would be reduced, and several other workplace restrictions would be tightened. (December 8) 
  • The Baker administration announced the Commonwealth would increase testing capacity and locations to provide more access for residents in every county. The plan included five new locations, and the state planned to collect 110,000 COVID-19 tests per week—representing a 50 percent testing increase for state-financed and organized testing sites alone. (December 7) 
  • Massachusetts revealed a new statewide COVID-19 public awareness campaign, urging residents to take precautions so they can get back to their normal lives. (November 23) 
  • The Baker administration announced that a field hospital would be built at the DCU Center in Worcester as the Commonwealth prepared additional capacity for COVID-19 patients. (November 13) 
  • In response to recent COVID-19 outbreaks associated with the conduct of interstate youth hockey activities, Governor Baker agreed to suspend interstate competitions for public and private schools and youth hockey effective November 14 through December 31. The prohibition will not impact interstate collegiate, professional, or US national team hockey activities, which would remain subject to existing health and safety protocols and/or restrictions. (November 12) 
  • Governor Baker issued a new executive order that required the early closure of certain businesses and activities each night at 9:30PM. (November 2) 
  • Governor Baker revised the state’s face mask order exemptions, allowing employers to require employees to provide proof of a medical or disabling condition that would prevent them from wearing a face mask. It would also allow schools to require that students participating in in-person learning provide proof of such a medical or disabling condition. (November 2) 
  • Governor Baker signed an updated order reducing the size limit for gatherings at private residences: indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to ten people and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people. The limit on gatherings held in public spaces and at event venues remains the same. The new order also required that all gatherings (regardless of size or location) must end and disperse by 9:30PM. (November 2) 
  • The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Advisory announced that beginning November 6, all residents of Massachusetts would be advised to stay home between the hours of 10:00PM and 5:00AM. (November 2) 
  • The Baker administration announced a comprehensive set of resources, known as the Eviction Diversion Initiative, to support tenants and landlords during the financial challenges caused by the pandemic. (October 12) 
  • The Baker administration announced new guidance that would allow safe indoor visitation to resume in nursing homes and rest homes, and further expanded indoor visitation options in assisted living residences. (September 24) 

SCHOOL PLANNING

K-12:

  • The Baker administration announced that K-12 educators, childcare workers, and K-12 school staff would be eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments starting March 11. (March 3) 
  • The Baker administration announced K-12 educators, childcare workers, and K-12 school staff would be eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments beginning March 11. (March 2 
  • The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $11.7 million in Skills Capital Grants awarded to 47 educational institutions across the Commonwealth to update equipment and expand student enrollment in programs that provide career education. (December 10) 
  • The Baker-Polito Administration and COVID-19 Command Center released updated metrics for schools and municipalities. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education also released updated school guidance. (November 6) 
  • The Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Department of Public Health announced $3.4 million in grants awarded to programs in Central and Western Massachusetts that promote ongoing efforts by the Commonwealth to provide community behavioral health services to middle school students at risk for substance use, emotional challenges, and conduct problems. (November 6) 
  • Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the city will delay plans to reopen schools after the COVID-19 positivity rate climbed higher than four percent. (October 7) 

State Higher Education:

  • A list of Massachusetts universities and colleges that planned to reopen in the fall can be found here. 
  • A group of Massachusetts colleges and universities submitted their recommendations for a four phased approach to reopening campuses in the Fall. Details can be found here. 
  • Massachusetts state universities will require all students to be fully vaccinated for the fall semester (April 26) 

Giving Opportunities

April 20, 2020

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is requesting surgical/procedure masks, N95/N99 masks (respirators), face masks with integrated shield, PAPRs, goggles, gloves, protective suits/gowns, booties/shoe covers, head covers, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes.

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at [email protected]