COVID-19 Massachusetts State House Update

May 18, 2020

  • As of Sunday night, DPH reported a total of 86,010 cases of COVID-19.  The state has now confirmed a total of 5,795 deaths from the virus.
  • A short-term borrowing bill to tide the state through COVID-19-related revenue gaps was signed into law by Governor Baker on Friday.
  • The Governor did not hold any press conferences this weekend.
  • The Baker administration refrained from offering any details about the phased reopening plan a state panel is set to unveil Monday.
  • The Massachusetts Municipal Association says the Baker administration asked the group to provide the information to municipal leaders in advance of the governor’s reopening announcement on Monday.
  • According to reporting in various news outlets late Sunday evening, the construction, manufacturing and worship sectors will be allowed to resume operations as soon as Monday.
  • The MMA’s email said that the announcement will include additional sectors, industries, and activities that will be permitted to open at a later date in the first phase.
  • On Sunday evening, the Boston Globe reported that the plan will allow businesses outside Boston to open at 25% capacity as of May 25, citing “a person familiar with the matter.”
  • In Boston, businesses won’t be allowed to reopen until June 1, the source reportedly told the Globe, and likely a smaller percentage of workers will be allowed to return at first.
  • According to the Globe, businesses that are set to get the green light from the state to open their doors May 25th  as part of the first of four reopening phases include barbershops, hair salons, and recreational marijuana shops.
  • Retailers would be able to provide curbside pickup and hospitals will be cleared to resume elective procedures, but restaurants won’t open during the first phase and the MBTA will remain on a reduced schedule.
  • The current order that is keeping “non-essential” businesses closed will be extended by 24 hours to Tuesday, May 19, so it is still in place when he rolls out the details.
  • Governor Baker is expected to announce further details of his plan to reopen later today.
  • The timing of the Monday announcement has not yet been made public.
  • Available sector guidance documents attached.
  • The House and Senate are both scheduled to have informal sessions on Monday.
  • The House is planning on taking up the information technology bond bill on Wednesday in a formal session.
  • Voters on Tuesday will decide the fate of a pair of Senate seats that have been vacant for months.
  • The races are to fill seats based in Westfield and Plymouth.
  • In Westfield, the candidates are Democratic state Rep. John Velis and Republican John Cain, both of Westfield.
  • In Plymouth, the candidates are Democratic Falmouth Selectwoman Susan Moran, and Bourne Republican Jay McMahon.
  • Democrats will retain a supermajority in the Senate regardless of the races’ outcomes, Republicans currently hold four seats out of 40 and Democrats have 34.
  • House Speaker Robert DeLeo will address the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce virtually this Thursday afternoon.

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