COVID-19 Resource Guide

Latest News: Governor Baker sets up testing sites for those who have attended large gatherings.

Four Phase Plan to Re-Open Massachusetts
 

Phase 1 (started May 18th): Start
Phase 2 (started June 6th): Cautious
Phase 3: Vigilant
Phase 4: New Normal

As the phases progress, more businesses will be able to open if public health data continue to show positive trends. Each phase will last a minimum of 3 weeks or longer. The final phase will be reached when we have a vaccine or some treatment for COVID-19.


Current # of cases statewide here
Prevention and treatment guidance here 
FAQs here

 

Give Back

  • Donate blood

  • To donate goods for use in Massachusetts' response to the Covid-19 public health emergency click here.

  • To provide information about goods you are looking to sell to support Massachusetts' Covid-19 response efforts click here.

  • To adapt your business to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) click here.

  • To volunteer to assist in public health, health care, and emergency response click here.

 

Employment: Employers and Employees


Employers

Employees

  • Minors under the age of 18 who have been employed part-time should be eligible under the CARES Act for PUA benefits by calling  (877) 626-6800.

  • Here is a Guide for Workers on returning to work, as it relates to unemployment insurance (UI).

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). The new PUA application form for self employed, gig workers, and those who have exhausted their state benefits launched on April 21st. Click here for more information about the CARES Act implementation.

  • Click here for the latest updates and resources to apply for UI Benefits.

  • Legal Services attorneys have made a helpful unemployment insurance FAQ available in several languages.

  • U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued guidance on emergency paid leave pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), signed into law on March 18th. This includes guidance for employer requirementsemployee rights, and potential frequently asked questions.

  • If you are having issues with filing for unemployment and need to speak with someone from DUA, fill out the online contact form found here. If you reach out to your State Representative, all offices have a legislative liaison contact at DUA and they can help to get a call back sooner.

  • Health Care Professionals Needed. The administration has created a job portal to connect healthcare professionals with staffing opportunities at temporary care sites. Click here to learn more. Also, nursing homes and Assisted Living Residences need help. Find out more about the jobs available at mass.gov/covid-otnw. You may also sign up to volunteer at mass.gov/covid-hhek.​

 

Get Tested/Health Care
 

  • Health Connector has a special enrollment period for healthcare coverage through June 23rd for those who are uninsured.

  • MassHealth and the Health Connector will protect coverage for all individuals who have Medicaid coverage as of March 18th and for all individuals approved for coverage during the national emergency.

  • Check Symptoms Online: Buoy Health Covid-19 Web App, which will help to screen them based on a series of questions and connect them to a health care provider via telehealth. It is available in English and En Español.

  • Get Tested: Lowell and Danvers, which has on-the-spot Covid-19 testing of 1,000 patients per day at no cost. It can deliver results as soon as 30 minutes. Patients will need to visit https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing to pre-register and schedule a same-day time slot for testing.

  • Family Hotline for loved ones in nursing and rest homes: 617-660-5399, 7 days a week.

  • Personal Care Attendant (PCA) services: Call 1-844-422-6277 to be connected to home health services in your region

 

Mental Health
 

  • Call2Talk is available through the 2-1-1 resource hotline.

  • Massachusetts Network of Care, a searchable directory of mental health services and over 5,000 organizations, is available here.

  • Resources for people in need can be found at https://findhelp.org/ and on this map developed by MEMA, MA VOAD, and other partners.

  • Contact Samaritans 24/7. Call or text the 24/7 helpline any time at 1-877-870-4673.

  • Contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741

  • Visit the new Massachusetts Network of Care website to locate behavioral health resources in your area.

  • Contact SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline. The Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

  • Contact the Massachusetts Emergency Services Program/Mobile Crisis Intervention (ESP/MCI) - 1-877-382-1609 (read more about this program)

 

College Students, Borrowers, Parents
 

  • The Massachusetts Division of Banks (DOB) has joined a multi-state initiative to secure payment relief options for Massachusetts student loan borrowers and issued a Consumer Advisory with important information and resources for private student loan borrowers.

  • MA Department of Higher Education (DHE) is deferring scheduled repayments for its No-Interest Loan Program for a duration of four months to support relief efforts during the Covid-19 public health emergency. All no-interest loan accounts currently in repayment will automatically be placed in a deferment from April 2020 through July 2020. More information can be found here.

  • Student Aid Relief: an administrative forbearance and zero interest loan relief was implemented for certain federal loans from March 13th through September 30, 2020. Click here for more information.

 

Childcare

To slow the spread of coronavirus, Governor Baker has temporarily closed all early childhood education programs across the State of Massachusetts. The closure remains in place until June 29, 2020 and may be extended as needed.
 

All families should keep children out of group care settings to the greatest extent possible. Emergency child care programs are for when all other non-group-care settings have been exhausted and families have no other options.
 

Emergency child care programs authorized by EEC will be the only child care programs that are allowed to operate during this time. This prioritizes public health and safety while maintaining critical service.
 

Priority access to emergency child care shall be given to vulnerable children, and the children of families designated as "COVID-19 Essential Workforces," with emphasis on those in the health care, public health, and human services and law enforcement, public safety, and first responder fields.

 

K-12 Education
 

All K-12 schools across the commonwealth were ordered closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. For updates and resources on remote learning please visit: http://www.doe.mass.edu/covid19/ 

The Baker administration, EEC and DESE continue to plan for a safe reopening in the fall of 2020.

 

Domestic, Sexual Violence, Child Abuse
 

  • You are not forgotten and we are here to provide resources to support and keep you safe. Physical spaces are temporarily closed, but there are resources available remotely. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are still available at hospitals to collect forensics.

  • Trial courts can be reached during regular hours at 1-833-91COURT. Judges are available 24/7 to issue 209A restraining orders and 258E harassment orders.

  • The Safelink Hotline is a centralized number to call to talk to someone and receive services for sexual and domestic violence. Calls are confidential and available in many different languages to support survivors and their family. The hotline is available by calling 211 or toll free 1-877-785-2020. For people who are Deaf or HoH, call TTY 1-877-521-2601 or using a video relay service.

  • If you are not comfortable calling, you can instant message with a trained advocate at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, www.thehotline.orgwww.loveisrespect.org, or www.rainn.org.

  • If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.

  • Child abuse affects every community, whether you are aware of it or not. As adults, there are many things we can do to prevent child abuse, like actively acknowledging the signs of child abuse and knowing when and where to report instances of abuse or neglect. Check out the MA Children’s Alliance Resource Page to learn more.

 

Tenants and Landlords, Rent/Utilities
 

On April 20, 2020, Governor Baker signed into law legislation that imposes a temporary moratorium on evictions that goes beyond previous DHCD guidance.

This includes:​

  • A moratorium on all non-essential evictions for tenants who cannot pay rent due to a COVID-19 related hardship.

  • Guidance to all state-aided public housing operators, including Local Housing Authorities and private operators, to suspend both pending non-essential evictions and the filing of any new non-essential evictions.

  • Guidance urging operators of private, affordable housing to suspend non-essential evictions for loss of income or employment circumstances that result in a tenant’s inability to make rent. This guidance also urges operators to establish reasonable payment plans, to notify Section 8 or public housing residents about interim income recertification to adjust rent payments, and to consider offering relief funding for residents ineligible for income reassessment.

  • DHCD is moving to temporarily suspend terminations of federal and state rental vouchers, including assistance provided under the Section 8 (DHCD portfolio only), Massachusetts Rental Voucher and Alternative Housing Voucher programs, in all cases other than those involving violent or drug-related criminal activity that seriously affects the health and safety of other residents.

  • DHCD will also automatically extend the deadline by which a household issued a voucher must identify a housing unit where they can use the voucher. The 60 day voucher search term would be extended automatically until 30 calendar days past the expiration of the state of emergency.

  • The Division of Banks has also released additional guidance for homeowners and financial institutions regarding foreclosure during the state of emergency. You can find more information on their website

 

Guidance for Drivers
 

  • For the most up-to-date information, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/rmv-covid-19-information.

  • Online Learners’ Permit Tests: Class D and M learner’s permit exams are not currently available in Service Centers. The RMV is working on a solution to offer online exams beginning in mid-June. A training update will be distributed when this option is ready to implement.

  • AAA Northeast reopened select branch offices in Massachusetts, while following strict distancing procedures and CDC guidelines for the protection and benefit of employees and AAA members. Members should visit aaa.com/branches and enter their zip code to find the nearest open office.  Everyone will be required to wear a face covering to enter and conduct business at AAA branch offices and will be asked to physically distance. RMV services will be available by appointment only to members who complete an online reservation ahead of time.

  • The RMV is cautioning customers to use only mass.gov/rmv when they are trying to renew a license or registration or process any business transactions online.  Customers may inadvertently come across unofficial third-party websites or “mimic sites” that advertise similar services but have no affiliation with the RMV.

 

Legislative Update
 

As we continue to adapt to address and support the Governor’s actions, the House has successfully passed important bills such as:

 

Scam/Fraud Alerts
 

Some individuals and businesses may try to take advantage of uncertainty during the pandemic.

Criminal enterprises using stolen personal information from earlier national data breaches have been attempting to file fraudulent unemployment claims through the DUA system. This is part of a national unemployment fraud scheme. We have heard from several constituents about potential fraud relating to unemployment benefits. If you have received notification that you've been approved for benefits that you never applied for, please report it right away. Click here for more information and to report DUA fraud online.

National Grids scam: Scammers impersonating National Grid tell customers that unless payment is made within 30 minutes, their power will be shut off. The customer is then directed to call “the direct billing department to make a payment and avoid power disconnection.” The scammers use sophisticated phone systems that display National Grid on the customer’s caller ID.  Additionally, the phone number customers are instructed to call closely resembles the company’s recorded messaging and phone prompt directions. These elements make it difficult to differentiate an actual National Grid call from an imposter’s call. When in doubt, customers should hang up and call the National Grid customer service number on their bill.

State Attorney General Healey’s Office (AGO) has resources here. You can find more information about protecting yourself from scams and fraud, additional resources, and AGO division hotline numbers.

 

Self-Care
 

  • Do activities to reduce stress & cope with fear of Covid-19, like physical and mindfulness exercises, planting a garden, cooking, connecting with your friends and family on the phone or video chat, reading a book, and getting plenty of sleep.

  • Here are some resources for maintaining emotional health & well-being.
     

  • Essex Heritage’s Heritage at Home Initiative: Essex Heritage is rolling out a new initiative, "Heritage At Home", which provides the community with an online database of internet resources as well as natural sites around the county people can visit (when appropriate). You can check it out at www.heritageathome.org.
     

  • One way to stay connected virtually to our local communities is to watch locally-filmed movies and television series. Here is a list of 50 films and episodic series shot in Massachusetts, in just the last 5 years, that are available now to stream on popular video on demand services.

Phone: (978) 566-9780
Email: 
info@votetram.com

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