5/19/20 COVID-19 Update

  • Governor Charlie Baker details Massachusetts reopening plan, including details on phases, industries, timelines and public health requirements
  • Small businesses reactions range from “short sided” to “solid”
  • The Commonwealth’s fiscal health is worsening
  • UMass Amherst announces furloughs and voluntary separation packages
  • What Baker’s plan didn’t cover: K-12 schools, higher education campuses and more
  • Two special state Senate elections are today
  • Tuesday’s Silver Lining: Marks your calendars for Sunday’s telethon for Boston restaurants

 

  1. Governor Charlie Baker announced details on the state’s recovery and reopening efforts as Massachusetts begins to reemerge from the months long stay-at-home order.” In the “road map,” Governor Baker outlined the four phases of reopening and laid out mandatory safety and health requirements which can be found on Reopening Massachusetts, along with the reopening advisory committee’s report and details sector specific protocols and best practices.
  2. Small businesses across the Commonwealth were hoping for clarity after the Governor’s reopening plans were announced but, for many, it’s left them with more questions. With the phases expected to last at least three weeks, many small businesses are dependent upon the success of earlier phases to ensure their business such as gyms, restaurants and inns.
  3. The Commonwealth’s fiscal situation is worsening. The Massachusetts Taxpayer’s Foundation, a right-leaning tax policy think-tank, released a report on Monday projecting a drop of $6.9 billion or 19.3 percent below benchmark. Just a month ago, they estimated tax revenues in fiscal 2021 would fall $4.4 billion or 14.1 percent below benchmark.
  4. The University of Massachusetts Amherst announced staff furloughs and offered volunteer separation incentives. The unprecedented financial challenges have led to an agreement between UMass and their three staff unions, representing about 3,000 employees to agree to five furlough days without pay between May 31 and June 20. Additional cash incentives are available to staff who voluntarily resign or retire between now and June 12.
  5. While Governor Baker’s plan was mostly well received by the business community, many parents and students remain without answers. The details provided by the Baker Administration offered broad strokes on what to expect but stopped short of answering questions about the near-term future of what education will look like.
  6. Voters in the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire and the Plymouth and Barnstable district will have the opportunity to cast their vote to replace their respective state senators today. Town Clerks in both districts are begging people to take precautions and have patience if they come to vote in person as there will be reduced staff and poll workers to ensure social distancing guidelines. A mail-in ballot campaign as well as early voting has taken place in each district to ensure ballot access while maintaining public health and safety.
  7. COMING TOGETHER: On Sunday, tune into “One Night Live,” a virtual telethon to benefit restaurant workers affected by COVID-19 closures. Famous chefs and familiar faces will include Blue Ginger’s Ming Tsai, Flour’s Joanne Chang and Sweet Cheeks’ Tiffani Faison.
2020-05-19T09:45:51+00:00