Important Coronavirus Update #8 | 3/28/2020

COVID19 CASES

STATE OF MA UPDATES

CITY OF BOSTON COVID19 OPERATIONS

ZONING BOARD OF APPEAL / LICENSING BOARD APRIL HEARINGS

FIRST RESPONDERS TESTING SITE AT SUFFOLK DOWNS

NEWTON PAVILION 

BUOY HEALTH COVID 19 SCREENINGS

BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

BOSTON TRANSPORTATION DEPT 

CONSTRUCTION

HIRING BPHC POSITIONS

HOW YOU CAN HELP COVID19 EFFORTS

STAY INFORMED

COVID19 CASES

The City of Boston has 477 positive cases of coronavirus (confirmed and presumptive) in Boston residents. So far, 40 of these 477 residents have fully recovered. There have been 2 COVID-19 related deaths in Boston residents.

The Boston Public Health Commission will be providing the updated total of cases in Boston residents as it is received from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Information can be found at boston.gov/coronavirus or bphc.org.

Massachusetts has 3,240 positive cases of coronavirus (confirmed and presumptive) and 35 deaths reported at this time. 

Ensuring that residents have accurate, up to date information about the coronavirus is critical during this public health crisis. The City of Boston has launched two dashboards to provide statistics on COVID19 cases in Boston and throughout Massachusetts.The first dashboard includes a day-by-day breakdown graph of the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and tracks daily updates from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for the number of COVID-19 cases. The second dashboard includes information specific to the City of Boston, including total daily cases, recovered cases, and total cases over time. The dashboard also tracks the levels of testing done throughout the United States.  View them here.

The City of Boston also has a free texting service to provide daily updates and information about the coronavirus. Text BOSCOVID to 99411 to opt-in for English. Language and communications access remains a priority for Mayor Walsh, so this text service is also available in Spanish, Haitan Creole, French, Cabo Verdean Creole, and Portuguese. 

  • Text BOSEspanol for Spanish
  • Text BOSKreyol for Haitian Kreyol
  • Text BOSFrancais for French
  • Text BOSKriolu for Cabo Verdean Creole
  • Text BOSPortugues for Portuguese

Updates in 10 total languages can additionally be accessed through boston.gov/coronavirus#multilingual-help. Each language has its own page and hosts multilingual print materials distributed citywide. 

STATE OF MA UPDATES

On Friday, March 27th, Governor Baker issued travel recommendations instructing all travelers entering the Commonwealth to self-quarantine for 14 days. The State is also asking people outside of Massachusetts not to travel here with the exception of first responders and front line workers. Information is being distributed at Logan Airport, South Station, truck stops, gas stations and highway signs.

Governor Baker has filed legislation to extend the MA Income Tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15. 

On Tuesday, March 24th at noon, Governor Baker ordered 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 until Tuesday, April 7 at noon. A full list of “COVID-19 Essential Services” can be found here.

On March 24th, Governor Baker directed the Department of Public Health to issue a Stay at Home advisory outlining self-isolation and social distancing protocols. This advisory goes into effect as of Tuesday, March 24 at noon until Tuesday, April 7 at noon. The Order limits gatherings to 10 people during the state of emergency, a reduction from the 25-person limit established in an earlier order.

Residents are advised to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary activities during this two-week time period.  Residents over 70 years of age or with underlying health conditions, who are considered at high risk when exposed to COVID-19, should limit social interactions with other people as much as possible.  

CITY OF BOSTON COVID19 OPERATIONS

All essential City of Boston services such as public safety, public health and maintenance operations including street cleaning, parks maintenance, trash and recycling pick up, etc will continue to be in operation.

While City Hall is still open and running for critical operations, we discourage anyone from coming into City Hall or any municipal building unless they have an urgent need for services that cannot be done by phone or online. If you have questions about whether a department is open to the public, please call the City’s hotline at 3-1-1 to get connected to a department.

The following departments have moved to by appointment only: 

  • Registry
  • Parking Clerk
  • Age Strong
  • Elections
  • City Clerk 
  • Assessing
  • Collecting
  • Bid counter for Public Facilities 
  • Inspectional Services Department

If constituents would like to schedule an appointment at these departments, they should reach out via phone or email. Department contacts can be found on boston.gov

Residents are asked not to call 9-1-1 unless you are experiencing a medical emergency. All COVID-19 questions should be directed to the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050 or 311. The City and BPHC will continue to provide updated information on bphc.org and boston.gov/coronavirus.

ZONING BOARD OF APPEAL / LICENSING BOARD APRIL HEARINGS

Please be advised that the following Zoning Board of Appeal April Hearings have been canceled due to the ongoing COVID19 Public Health Emergency:

  • April 7th, 2020 ZBA Hearing
  • April 16th, 2020 ZBA Subcommittee Hearing
  • April 28th, 2020 ZBA Hearing

To mitigate the spread of COVID19, public access to the Inspectional Services Dept offices at 1010 Massachusetts Ave is restricted to appointment only. Applicants requesting relief of the zoning or building code, or anyone inquiring about upcoming hearings, should email ISDBoardOfAppeal@boston.gov or call 617-635-4775.

The City of Boston’s Licensing Board has canceled hearings until further notice. Any Licensing Board questions should be directed to the Board’s Executive Secretary, Lesley Delaney Hawkins, Esq., who can be reached at (617) 635-4170 or Lesley.hawkins@boston.gov.

FIRST RESPONDERS TESTING SITE AT SUFFOLK DOWNS

Mayor Walsh announced that the City of Boston will be opening a COVID19 testing site for Boston’s first responders at Suffolk Downs in East Boston. This testing site will serve qualified EMTs, firefighters, and police officers only. This is a joint effort between the Boston Public Health Commission and the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. First responders will first be screened to make sure they meet the State criteria for testing. This is an important step to keep our first responders healthy. This facility will not be open to the public or media.  

NEWTON PAVILION

The former Boston Medical Center hospital building known as the Newton Pavilion will be temporarily reopened and used to meet COVID-19 related medical needs of local homeless residents. Newton Pavilion is currently owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The facility will be operated by a consortium of providers, including Boston Medical Center, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, shelters including the Pine Street Inn, and the City of Boston’s COVID-19 response team. The 250 hospital beds at this facility will be essential to relieving stress on our health care system and increasing medical care for our homeless population as we continue to respond to this public health crisis.

BUOY HEALTH ONLINE COVID19 SCREENINGS

The State of Massachusetts has partnered with South End based Buoy Health: a free health assistance tool to provide medical advice remotely. Buoy Health is not a replacement for emergency care. It provides a free online diagnostic tool which screens for COVID19. Additional information can be found at buoy.com/mass.

BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS:

Boston Public Schools closure has been extended to May 4th. The City of Boston, in partnership with Project Bread, YMCA of Greater Boston, Boston Centers for Youth and Families, and other community organizations, has been providing free meals to all youth and teens at various locations and times across the City. Learn more about meal distribution locations here. We have served over 100,000 meals since this program began last week, averaging 13,000 meals per day.

Boston Public Schools is partnering with Catie’s Closet to continue to provide wrap around care for families. Last year we announced free menstrual products for students and BPS will still have them available throughout the school closure. Catie’s Closet has supplied 500 toiletry packages to each of our 16 BPS emergency meal sites. 

Meal Distribution sites in Mattapan and some in Dorchester include:

Gallivan BCYF61 Woodruff Way, Mattapan, MA 021269:00AM-3:00PM
Mattahunt BCYF100 Hebron St, Mattapan MA 0212610:00AM-3:00PM
Faith Christian Church 21 Harvard Street, Dorchester MA 021248:00AM-12:00PM
Lee School155 Talbot Ave, Boston, MA 021248:30 AM- 11:30AM
Mildred Ave5 Mildred Ave, Mattapan, MA 021268:30 AM- 11:30AM

See all meal sites in Boston at boston.gov/BPS-meal-sites.

Chromebooks: As part of our efforts to continue serving our students, Boston Public Schools are providing Chromebooks to students who do not have consistent access to a computer at home. Parents can fill out this application and email their school principal to receive an appointment time to pick up their student’s device to avoid creating crowds. To date we have distributed 20,724 laptops to BPS students. 

BOSTON TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT

The following updates to parking enforcement policies are in effect until further notice in the City of Boston:

  • Resident Parking 

Residents with a valid resident permit sticker will be allowed to park in a metered or two-hour parking space, without having to adhere to the time limit or pay a meter fee, within their specific neighborhood. For cars without the relevant resident permit parking sticker, standard time limit and meter requirements remain in place.

  • Street Cleaning

BTD has not been ticketing and towing for street cleaning, given challenges to finding alternative places to park in neighborhoods. 

  • Inspection Stickers and Registration

BTD will not ticket for expired inspection stickers or registrations, given potential challenges for people to renew inspections and registrations at this time.

  • Parking Garages

To support the medical community, BTD has identified facilities offering free, reduced rate or reserved parking for medical professionals. To receive discounted parking, medical staff will need to present a hospital ID.To see the list of participating facilities, please visit: https://www.boston.gov/news/discounted-garages-available-hospital-staff-boston

  • BlueBikes 

The City of Boston and its municipal partners of Brookline, Cambridge, Everett, and Somerville are offering all hospital staff a free 30-day pass for our public bike share, Bluebikes. To learn more about how to sign up for the program, visit boston.gov

  • Pick Up/Drop Off Zones for Small Businesses 

To help small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19, BTD is creating temporary pick up zones in front of restaurants that have transitioned to takeout and delivery only. Takeout food pickup zones restrict parking to five minutes to increase convenience for the quick pickup and delivery of takeout food from restaurants, and provide adequate room for social distancing of six feet or more. Restaurants that would like to request a temporary pick up zone can do so on boston.gov. Requests will be evaluated on a case by case basis. 

With the exception of those changes noted above, BTD will continue to enforce parking violations, with a focus on public safety violations, such as blocking a hydrant, sidewalk or handicap ramp.

CONSTRUCTION

Due to the public health emergency caused by the spread of COVID-19, Mayor Walsh announced that he is extending the City of Boston’s order to pause non-essential construction for City of Boston permitted sites. The initial order announced on March 16th was set for 14 days and will now continue until further notice. Please see the (attached) updated temporary construction guidelines. Additional information can be found here

HIRING BPHC POSITIONS

The City is actively hiring candidates for critical positions such as homeless counselors, recovery services, public health advocates and public safety officers. Please go to bphc.org for job listings.

HOW YOU CAN HELP COVID19 EFFORTS

  • Stay home if possible. If you must go outside, practice physical distancing from others (6 feet apart); avoid crowded places.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol; avoid shaking hands
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you think you might be sick, please call your doctor or 311 to be connected to the Mayor’s Health Line 617-534-5050.
  • Donate supplies to first responders here
  • Donate to the City of Boston Resiliency Fund here
  • Fill out the 2020 Census. The 2020 Census is happening now and only 16.7 percent of households have responded. The Census informs how billions of dollars in federal funds will be allocated by state, local and federal lawmakers annually for the next 10 years. It’s more critical than ever to ensure that all Bostonians are counted. 

STAY INFORMED

Receive the latest COVID19 info from reliable sources. Visit: bphc.org/coronavirus; boston.gov/coronavirus; mass.gov/2019coronavirus. Call: 311 or 211