COVID19 – Massachusetts State Government Update 4-25-2020

April 25, 2020

UPDATED SBA Assistance and Relief Post

Leave Provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

  • As of Friday night, DPH reported a total of 50,969 cases.  The state has now confirmed a total of 2,556 deaths from the virus.
  • There is one more week before the May 4th expiration of Governor Baker’s order closing non-essential businesses.
  • The governor will not say, though, if he plans to extend that forced shutdown order, arguing that he cannot predict trend data and that conditions could change in the next two weeks.
  • Governor Baker is seeking a $1.2 billion federal loan that will replenish the state’s dwindling unemployment insurance reserves, something he described Friday as an expected ask, and the administration is also seeking two waivers from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • Those waivers would help expand MassHealth telehealth services and grant more flexibility for recipients.
  • Rhode Island has also called off in-person K-12 education for the rest of the school year and plans to finish the academic year with distance learning.
  • Using the same rationale that Governor Baker did earlier in the week, Governor Raimondo said Thursday that “we do not have enough data or evidence to inform a safe reopening of our school buildings.
  • Much of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation is pushing US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to provide direct financial relief to Massachusetts cranberry farmers and for the federal government to buy up surplus supplies of cranberry juice. In a letter to Perdue, members of the delegation said cranberries were a $99.8 million industry that supported nearly 7,000 jobs as of 2015, and urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to utilize all programs at its disposal to help cranberry farmers.  The letter is attached.
  • Nearly 47,000 businesses in Massachusetts have received $10.3 billion in loans issued by the Small Business Administration through April 22, according to a Trump administration breakdown of COVID-19 aid that has flowed into Massachusetts.
  • The detailed summary from the White House came on the same day President Donald Trump signed a new $484 billion relief package to replenish a popular small business lending program and provide direct aid to hospitals.
  • A White House spokesperson said that through the CARES Act Massachusetts medical providers have already received $841.4 million from the Provider Relief Fund, and $34.1 million went to 38 heath centers, which Governor Baker has begun to lean on to support the state’s COVID-19 testing efforts.
  • The Department of Public Health also received $505,000 to support rural hospitals and promote telehealth in rural communities.
  • The White House also said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent 400 ventilators, 246,876 N-95 masks, 587,120 surgical masks, 97,965 medical gowns, 3,766 coveralls, 119,557 face shields, and 534,408 gloves from the Strategic National Stockpile to Massachusetts.
  • Of the total $2.6 billion the state and local governments expect to receive from the last round of federal stimulus funding, the Treasury has already allocated $1.6 billion, the spokesperson said.
  • DraftKings, the Boston based fantasy sports and betting platform began trading on the Nasdaq yesterday.
  • With 2,300 employees around the world, the company said it plans to maintain its global HQ in Boston.
  • The House and Senate will both meet again on Monday.
  • Just a friendly reminder not to ingest any household cleaning products.

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