COVID-19: Updates as of March 24
I am writing today to provide you with important updates on COVID-19 and the Commonwealth’s response to this unprecedented public health crisis.
Governor Baker Orders Non-Essential Business Closures
On Monday, March 23, Governor Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of Tuesday, March 24 at noon through Tuesday, April 7. If your business or workplace is not listed as essential, but you believe it should be, you can complete the Essential Service Designation Request form HERE.
Stay at Home Advisory Issued by Governor Baker
Additionally, Governor Baker directed the Department of Public Health to issue a stay at home advisory outlining self-isolation and social distancing protocols. Residents are advised to stay home and to avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary activities during this two-week time period. Residents over 70 years of age or those with underlying health conditions are considered at high risk when exposed to COVID-19 and should limit social interactions with other people as much as possible.
Finally, the order limits gatherings to 10 people during the state of emergency, a reduction from the 25-person limit established in an earlier order. This includes community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, and any similar event or activity that brings together more than 10 persons in any confined indoor or outdoor space. The order does not prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people in an outdoor space; however, social distancing should be practiced.
Click HERE for the full list of categories of “COVID-19 Essential Services”
Click HERE for a copy of the Emergency Order
Click HERE for a copy of the Guidance of Assemblages
Legislature Passes Legislation to Empower Cities and Towns to Postpone and Reschedule Municipal Elections
The House and Senate passed legislation to help protect public health by providing cities and towns with the authority to postpone and reschedule certain municipal elections and related activities. The bill now goes to the Governor.
The legislation includes guidelines for public notification of rescheduled election dates, voter registration deadlines, absentee ballots processing, and the display of sample ballots. The legislation:
Allows municipal governments to postpone caucus or certain elections scheduled before May 30, 2020 and reschedule the caucus or elections to a date prior to June 30, 2020.
Allows any eligible voter to vote early by mail for elections occurring before June 30, 2020.
The House also issued orders to reschedule two special state elections until June 2, 2020. The Senate issued an order to reschedule two state special elections until May 19, 2020.
As a reminder, it is important to only share information and facts from trusted sources. Here are a few you can count on:
For updated information, visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus.
More detailed information and additional guidance is available from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.
There is also information and videos available on the World Health Organization website at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.
My office continues to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As a reminder, the State House remains closed to the general public until further notice. Despite the closure, we remain operational in a remote capacity.
To reach me and my Legislative Aide Summer Ordaz by email, please send a message to the following addresses: William.Driscoll@mahouse.gov and Summer.Ordaz@mahouse.gov. Emails are encouraged, but if you need to reach us by phone, please call (617) 722-2460.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.