COVID-19 Massachusetts State House Update

April 27, 2020

  • As of Sunday night, DPH reported a total of 54,938 cases.
  • The state has now confirmed a total of 2,899 deaths from the virus.
  • This Friday, May 4th is the expiration of Governor Baker’s order closing non-essential businesses.
  • The governor has not said yet if he plans to extend that forced shutdown order.
  • Governor Baker on Saturday again stressed that the May 4 date is not what people should be focusing on.
  • He has said over the last few days that his administration is preparing rules of the road for when the state reopens.
  • He has indicated a company’s ability to abide by those rules would determine whether it can open or not.
  • The House and Senate will both meet again on Monday.
  • A commitment from the White House and bipartisan support in the Senate bode well for a possible agreement on a major COVID-19 financial aid package to the states, according to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, chairman of the National Governors Association.
  • Appearing Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,”, Governor Hogan was asked about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s controversial comments about states having the option to declare bankruptcy to deal with the wreckage being caused by the virus.
  • Governor Hogan said he thought the McConnell’s remark “just slipped out” but also said that it was McConnell who blocked state aid in the most recent COVID-19 relief package to move through Congress.
  • A state aid provision was “very close to happening” in that bill, Governor Hogan said.
  • Governor Hogan said a $500 billion aid package supported by the NGA is critical to helping state economies to rebound.
  • However, in addition to a “commitment from the president and vice president” to additional state aid, Governor Hogan cited bipartisan Senate support for the idea.
  • U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal of Springfield said on Saturday that he’s working with House Democrats on the “Phase 4” bill and expects it to emerge within 10 days.
  • The Federal Transit Administration on Friday committed to expedite the delivery of $12 million to the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority and the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority
  •  A new state law addressing governance challenges in cities and towns during the COVID-19 pandemic is credit positive for local governments in Massachusetts, Moody’s Investors Service said this week.
  • The law permits the extension of budget deadlines, allows greater flexibility to postpone town meetings to approve local budgets, and enables cities and towns to use available reserves beginning next fiscal year prior to receiving normal certification.
  • Gun rights activists staged a demonstration on Cape Cod on Saturday afternoon to protest Governor Baker’s refusal to include gun shops on the state’s list of essential business that are allowed to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Dozens of activists gathered at the Bourne Bridge Rotary holding signs demanding that gun shops, as well as the broader economy, be allowed to reopen.
  • One thousand COVID-19 tests donated by the company Orig3n will help the City of Boston test all clients in its shelter system over the next two weeks.
  • The effort is being executed with Boston Health Care for the Homeless, the Boston Public Health Commission, St. Francis House, and the Pine Street Inn.
  • Mayor Marty Walsh issued new temporary policy and guidance to allow permitted restaurants to sell grocery items by delivery, curbside pickup and takeout.
  • The move waives the required retail food permit for the sale of uncooked foods.
  • Boston plans to begin testing for antibodies to the coronavirus among asymptomatic residents in select neighborhoods in the city.
  • Mayor Walsh announced a partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital to test 1,000 volunteers this week for both COVID-19 and antibodies to the virus as part of a study to evaluate the true level of exposure in the city.

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