Thank you for your support of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau, and for your leadership and service to the Greater Worcester community.
We recognize that everyone in both the private and public sectors are taking unprecedented actions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist in these efforts, the Bureau has assembled some guidance and online links that could be helpful to raise awareness of responses by national, state, and municipal government.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is maintaining a regularly updated webpage on the situation and has made the 211 phone line available to address any questions on COVID-19. Since Sunday, Governor Baker has instituted a series of new responses (more background including the Executive Orders, are online), most notably:
- Restricting gatherings and events
- Closing schools until April 6
- Prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or beverages at bars & restaurants from March 17 to April 6
- Announcing a $10 Million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund to provide emergency capital loans up to $75,000 to businesses and nonprofits with under 50 full and part time employees impacted
- Shifting non-emergency executive branch employees to alternative work arrangements
- Requiring health insurers to cover medically necessary tele-health services and COVID-19 treatment and testing without any cost sharing such as copays
- Authorizing licensed pharmacies to create and sell hand sanitizer
- Adjusting the state’s unemployment system’s practices and programs to reflect COVID-19 responses and pending federal legislation
- Assisting municipal governments by allowing the postponement of Town Meetings, temporary adoption of lower quorum rules, and other measures
- Distributing $5 Million in emergency funding to community health boards supporting COVID-19 responses
- Designating September 14th as a legal holiday to support the rescheduled Boston Marathon
City of Worcester
The City has a municipal webpage on COVID-19, and on Sunday the City Manager declared a municipal state of emergency, with government proceedings such as the City Council and School Committee online at http://www.worcesterma.gov/video-on-demand.
- Establishing an Emergency Operations Center
- Convening a task force on small business assistance with an online guide of available resources
- Providing a COVID-19 information line at 508-799-1019
- Reducing access to municipal facilities such as City Hall
- Conducting daily media briefings at 5 pm.
Beyond Governmental Resources…
- The head of the Boston Fed and the Director of the MGH Center for Disaster Medicine have issued a joint statement on how employers can best respond to the situation.
- The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce is offering assistance to any business – member or not – has assembled extensive online guidance for employers, and will be providing daily updates.
- The United Way of Central Massachusetts has created the “We Care” fund to coordinate contributions supporting responses to COVID-19.
- The Greater Worcester Community Foundation has created a “COVID-19 Response Fund“, seeded with $535,000, to coordinate contributions to support organizations working with those disproportionately impacted by the outbreak.
- Mutual Aid Worcester was formed to coordinate volunteered services, donations, and expertise to meet emerging community needs from COVID-19.
We hope and trust that these resources are helpful as you develop your own responses to the COVID-19 situation and support the coordinated responses of our local, state, and federal governments. The Research Bureau will continue to do all that we can to assist responses from public and private sources and respond appropriately to this situation – including having our staff work remotely – and are always available to provide assistance when needed.
Your continued leadership throughout this situation is essential, so please monitor the city webpage and state webpage for daily updates, and if you have any questions or feedback, please email me at any time.
Worcester Regional Research Bureau
390 Main Street, Suite 208
Worcester, MA 01608