COVID-19 Update #12 From Representative Dykema
New Updates as of March 28th
Federal Stimulus Bill – “CARES Act” – Signed
The federal CARES Act stimulus bill was signed into law by the President last night. Here are a summary of the legislation and fact sheets on the legislation’s expanded benefits relative to unemployment compensation and supports for small businesses. Some of the initiatives in the legislation will be implemented through the state. I’ll include more information in this newsletter as it becomes available.
Below is a summary of the most recent efforts to respond to the wide range of needs in our communities. For a summary of previously issued guidance and state restrictions related to the coronavirus epidemic, visit mass.gov/coronavirus. For previous updates visit carolyndykema.com/covid19.
Coronavirus Testing and Response
- There are 4,257 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with 350 hospitalizations and 44 deaths as of today at 4pm. For a breakdown of cases by county and age, check here.
- Over 35,000 tests have been conducted by the State Public Health Laboratory and private testing organizations – a significant increase that reflects a large effort on the part of the state and private entities to increase testing
- The Governor highlighted the need for blood donations and encouraged anyone who is able to donate, please make an appointment through the American Red Cross. Precautions are taken to be sure that donation is safe, and please don’t visit a blood donation center if you are not healthy.
- Yesterday, the legislature passed
H4598, An Act to address challenges faced by municipalities and state
authorities resulting from COVID-19 on a voice vote. Provisions of the bill
- Allows municipal town meeting dates to be extended beyond current legal requirements
- Gives municipalities flexibility in adopting a budget for the next fiscal year if they are not able to adopt a budget by June 30.
- Waives payment of interest and late fees on taxes, excise, and utility payments.
- Allows restaurants to sell alcohol for drive-thru purchase and off premesis consumption for the duration of the emergency.
- Expands the number of hours that public sector retirees can work in order to expand the response workforce, especially in needed specialties such as public health and public safety.
- Extends deadlines and tolling periods for municipal permits and allow for flexibility in the permitting process.
Resources for Residents Experiencing Job Loss or Loss of Income
COVID-19 is causing broad disruption to the economy which is affecting incomes of many residents and families. There are a number of state resources and supports available.