3/31/20 COVID-19 Update

There are a lot of unanswered questions this morning: Will Governor Baker extend the nonessential work order? Is riding the MBTA safe? What to do about the $3 billion revenue shortfall the state is expecting with delayed tax receipts?

Business as usual: A bill expanding unemployment benefits is on the move in Massachusetts state Senate.

The Massachusetts Democratic party’s nominating convention is on track to be cancelled.

1,000 ventilators are on their way to Massachusetts hospitals as emergency rooms brace for a sharp increase, and potentially THE peak in cases of coronavirus.

Gas prices are reaching the $2 mark for the first time in decades. Highlighting today’s silver lining: emissions are down across the globe.

  1. An announcement from Governor Charlie Baker is expected today on the expansion of his nonessential work order which is set to expire on April 7th . In his daily press conference on Monday, Baker said he was reviewing the latest guidance from the federal government before deciding.

 

  1. With a tax deadline delayed from April 15 to July 15, Massachusetts now faces an emergency budget situation with a projected $3 billion in delayed revenue. Legislation has been filed by Baker to allow the state to borrow from expected future revenue, borrowing which has been used previously but never to cover such a large shortfall.

 

  1. The Massachusetts state Senate plans to advance additional unemployment benefits for workers while ensuring protections for small business owners from being penalized from their workers utilizing these benefits as a result of COVID-19.

 

  1. Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman Gus Bickford is taking appropriate steps to cancel the May 2020 Nominating Convention. This decision comes a month after the party temporarily suspended all 102 remaining caucuses due COVID-19. Both Senate candidates, incumbent Sen. Ed Markey and democratic challenger Rep. Joe Kennedy III, reached the necessary threshold and will be on the ballot for the primary in September.

 

  1. Eighteen MBTA employees tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, raising questions of how safe it is – even for emergency workers and essential health care workers – to continue operating Greater Boston’s public transportation system. Talks are ongoing between MBTA officials and The Boston Carmen’s Union, which represents MBTA bus and train drivers, about additional initiatives to stop the spread of the virus and protect both employees and those who have to keep riding.

 

  1. As Massachusetts hospitals prepare for a surge in coronavirus patients, Governor Baker announced Massachusetts will soon receive a federal shipment of 1,000 ventilators. These ventilators are in addition to 878,000 pieces of equipment that arrived over the weekend from the National Strategic Stockpile.

 

  1. Up to 10,000 students in Springfield Public Schools may soon receive a district issued laptop. In an effort to ensure equity while students focus on remote learning at home, SPS will begin delivering laptops on April 7. Springfield Public Schools have been closed since March 16.

 

  1. As residents drive less, gas prices are quickly approaching $2 a gallon. According to AAA Northeast, the average price of a gallon of self-serve, regular gas fell 11 cents in the past week to an average of $2.05.

 

  1. A sliver of a silver lining from COVID-19? Carbon emissions are down across the globe.
2020-03-31T09:15:55+00:00