Your state government is working hard to ensure that we are providing the most accurate and up-to-date information during this global pandemic. It is important for us to prepare, not panic, and adhere to the recommendations from our public health experts in order to stay healthy and well-informed.
Please practice social distancing and observe all personal hygiene guidelines that the CDC recommends here concerning COVID-19. It is important for all of us to take these measures seriously and implement them as swiftly as possible in order to protect our friends, families, and neighbors. Anyone who seeks information on the virus should visit www.mass.gov/COVID19. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has been coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide daily updates to this website.
If you have questions about COVID-19 and would like to speak directly with someone please call your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider call DPH’s 24/7 hotline at 2-1-1.
In the coming days and weeks, stay tuned for updates from my office and from DPH regarding various assistance programs that will be made available. Below you will find information on local and statewide efforts, how to apply for unemployment, RMV hours, and Worcester’s Healthy Meals To Go program. Please do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns.
I wish you and your family well during this difficult time, and please do your part to help curb the spread of this highly contagious virus.
Visit the City of Worcester’s website for local information regarding COVID-19 by clicking here. The website includes a video library with information about the virus from City of Worcester Medical Director Dr. Michael Hirsh, communication from City Manager Ed Augustus, press releases, and other helpful information.
Worcester Healthy Meals To Go
Worcester Public Schools and Friendly House are offering free, healthy breakfast and lunch or supper meals that are available from Monday to Friday each week. The meals are available to students 18 years of age and under along with students in Transitional Education and English Learner programs.
Due to the evolving spread of COVID-19 in MA, Governor Baker directed the Department of Public Health to issue a stay at home advisory. Residents are advised to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other non-essential activities for a two-week time period, beginning March 24 at noon and ending April 7 at noon. Residents over 70 years of age and persons with underlying health conditions, who are considered at high risk when exposed to COVID-19, should limit social interactions with other people as much as possible. Although Massachusetts residents are not confined to their homes, gatherings of over 10 people are prohibited, and all residents are encouraged to limit non-essential travel and social interactions. If you do go out, avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
The Baker administration also issued an order relative to essential services and workplaces and released a detailed list of workers and services considered essential: COVID-19 Essential Services List.
Businesses with questions can email email@example.com and businesses not covered under the order can request "essential" designation through this online form.
On March 10, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker declared a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19. On March 14, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the establishment of a new COVID-19 Response Command Center. This Command Center is being led by Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. the Command Center is the Commonwealth’s single point of strategic decision-making and coordination for the Baker-Polito Administration’s COVID-19 response.
Click here for more information.
|Unemployment Benefits and COVID-19|
To file an unemployment claim quickly utilize the UI online portal, which can be found by clicking here. To ensure a successful claim, be sure to review the COVID-19 specific unemployment information found here.
Sign up here for a town hall presentation on applying for unemployment assistance.
If issues arise while filing your claim, either contact my office or use this contact form and a DUA agent will contact you as soon as possible.
|The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV)|
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is taking steps in accordance with Governor Baker’s declaration of a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19. The RMV is practicing social distancing by reducing customer visits in their Service Centers and AAA offices.
The RMV implemented a 60-day extension to persons with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) and Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLPs) that are expired or will expire between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020. The RMV implemented a similar extension for residents with Class D, Class M and Class DM driver’s licenses, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits on March 16th. Those who are eligible for these extensions should wait to visit an RMV Service Center to renew until after the State of Emergency has concluded.The Worcester RMV center will be open from Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM until further notice. The RMV offers more than 40 types of transactions online at www.mass.gov/rmv. For more information on the impact of COVID-19 on the RMV, visit their website here.
|Statewide Protective Measures|
Here are a list of important statewide protective measures to be aware of:
- March 23 order for non-essential businesses and organizations to cease in-person operations. (Click here for a detailed list of workers and services that are considered essential. Click here to request designation as an essential business. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.)
- March 23 order limiting gatherings to 10 people during the state of emergency.
- March 18 order temporarily closing all child care programs and authorizing the temporary creation and operation of emergency child care programs. (Click here if you are in need of an exempt emergency child care programs.)
- March 15 order for a 3-week suspension of school operations for educational purposes at all public and private elementary and secondary (K-12) schools in the Commonwealth.
- March 15 order on hospital visitor restrictions.
- March 15 order on visitor restrictions for assisted living facilities.
- March 12 order restricting visitor access to nursing homes and rest homes.
Additionally, on-premises consumption of food and drink at bars and restaurants is prohibited until April 6th. Employers are encouraged to support alternative work arrangements, including allowing employees to work from home. MBTA trains and buses are running on a reduced service schedule.
Click here for other updates and emergency orders.
Massachusetts Legislature Response to COVID-19
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Legislature has taken action to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Legislature has established COVID-19 working groups to develop recommendations on how to address the outbreak. Representative Mahoney was appointed as a member of the working group in the House to guide operations and outreach to the public during this time. This select group is composed of members of the House who have backgrounds in healthcare, public health, and disaster response. On March 12, 2020, the Senate and House passed a supplemental budget to create a $15 million fund in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts.The House and Senate passed legislation to help protect public health by providing cities and towns the authority to postpone and reschedule certain municipal elections and related activities. The bill now goes to the Governor.
The House also passed legislation to waive the one-week waiting period for workers seeking unemployment insurance benefits related to, or resulting from, the COVID-19 pandemic or the effects of the State of Emergency declared by Governor Baker. This critical piece of legislation was signed by Governor Baker.
Local information: City of Worcester
Statewide information: Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MassDPH)
Federal information: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Global information: World Health Organization (WHO)
The City of Worcester’s COVID-19 Information Line can be reached at 508-799-1019. The line provides facts and information about COVID-19, including how to stop its spread and what to do if someone is experiencing symptoms. The line is available in multiple languages and provides an option to speak directly with a nurse.
Massachusetts 2-1-1 provides real-time COVID-19 information, resources, and referrals in multiple languages. This line is open 24/7. Additionally, all calls are free and confidential.
Text "COVIDMA" to 888-777 to receive COVID-19 text message alerts to your phone and stay up-to-date with the latest news from the Commonwealth.
|COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment|
Click here for frequently asked questions about COVID-19.
Click here for information about COVID-19 cases and residents subject to quarantine regarding Massachusetts, testing at the State Public Health Laboratory, and guidance for clinical laboratories.
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, immediately contact your healthcare provider or the DPH hotline 2-1-1.
Emergency warning signs include (This list is not all inclusive, consult a medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.):
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
For more information and for a CDC COVID-19 self-checker, click here.