5/28/20 COVID-19 Update

  • Identity theft scheme targets state unemployment benefits
  • Massachusetts college presidents release four-phase plan for fall reopening, lack confidence about needed testing
  • Massachusetts state Senate swears in two new Senators today
  • Payroll Protection Program sees slowdown; funds remain available
  • Is the state Lottery headed for extinction?
  • Thursday’s Silver Lining: Pirate radio station cheering up isolated seniors

 

  1. State Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta will require additional identify verification measures, causing temporary delays in benefit payments to many legitimate claimants as the Department of Unemployment Assistance fights tens of thousands of identity theft and fraud cases apparently orchestrated by a network in Nigeria.

 

  1. A committee of a dozen Massachusetts college presidents advising Governor Baker released an outline for a four-phase reopening of higher education institutions. The group said most colleges and universities will be prepared to announce their official plans for the fall semester by July 1. The presidents are advocating for a law change so that institutions are held legally harmless if they reopen and people get sick.

 

  1. Senators-elect John Velis (D-Westfield) and Su Moran (D-Falmouth) will be sworn in today by Governor Charlie Baker. Moran and Velis are both pick-ups by Senate President Karen Spilka’s Democratic majority, replacing former state Senator Vinny deMacedo (who left for a job at Bridgewater State Univeristy) and state Senator Don Hummason (who won the Westfield Mayor’s office).

 

  1. When the Payroll Protection Program was first announced, $349 billion was awarded in 13 days. One month into the second round and it’s going much slower, with more than $140 billion left to be distributed. Many factors, including continually shifting guidance, changing forms, technical difficulties and banks restricting the process to existing customers slowed down the lending process and prevented some business from receiving money.

 

  1. The Massachusetts Lottery faces a significant threat of becoming obsolete as COVID-19 accelerates industry-wide shifts toward online and cashless games, Lottery officials said. The Lottery’s model is built exclusively around in-person cash sales and that may not be sufficient for the new normal. Treasurer Deb Goldberg’s office filed H37 in January 2019 to create an online lottery system but lawmakers have yet to act on it.

 

  1. RADIO RECLINER: An online pirate radio station hosted exclusively by elderly DJs from assisted living communities across the United States has been helping seniors wait out the COVID-19 isolation. The project, Radio Recliner, was launched as a means of keeping lonely seniors entertained and optimistic during the pandemic.
2020-05-28T11:37:08+00:00