Moving Massachusetts Forward, and What to Expect of Reopening
With the beginning of the Governor’s phased reopening, we now enter a stage where we must balance safety and productivity.
Public safety regulations will be done in conjunction between municipalities and the state. These regulations were developed by the Governor’s Reopening Board, under Lt. Governor Polito’s Chair. Members of the Board include healthcare experts, business and industry leaders, as well as public safety officials. Retail and pet-services may begin with curbside drop-offs, While construction and office space may open again with skeleton crews. We ask that you assist any employees who live with high-risk individuals by making alternative arrangements. Businesses will also need to purchase Personal Protective Equipment for all employees, as well as develop and retain on file a detailed protection plan.
(Lists of PPE vendors and models for protection plans can be found at mass.gov/reopening for your reference. If you are unable to access the list or the plan, let us know so we can mail one to you.)
We have received inquiries from many businesses who are “blended” models or small specialty shops. As part of the reopening plan, we encourage you to submit your amended operations to us, so we may present the plans to the committee on your behalf. Together we can walk through the best practices proposed by like establishments and what you may and may not be able to implement easily for your specific business location. This allows us to put forward to the committee a pragmatic and personalized plan that addresses any/all safety concerns for your business.
We are in a defining moment of transition in the chronology of this health crisis. By working together we can continue our path towards success. Massachusetts was hit particularly hard via an early outbreak of this virus. Since then, we have learned many valuable lessons. We must not forget those lessons as we march onward and we will not make any of the same mistakes again.
As always, be safe and stay healthy.
State Reps Earmark State IT Bond Bill Funding for Local Emergency Services
Following many days of preparation, the House of Representatives sent forward a key bond bill looking to improve Information Technology investments for state and local governments across the state. Targeted issues of the bill include improving constituent services from state entities, assisting localities with improving IT security, and $40 million in potential funding for public schools to assist in online learning.
Locally, Tewksbury and Wilmington received individual earmarks. If the bonds are released by the Governor, state assistance to Tewksbury would include up to $250,000 for the purchase of a new ambulance and $150,000 for a new rescue vehicle, replacing current fleet vehicles at the end of their lifespan. Wilmington would receive $150,000 for communication upgrades to their current emergency radio and telecommunications network, and $18,000 to implement onboard computers for fire equipment. These computers would allow first responders to communicate important information between units easier, coordinating responding units and forwarding vital information to crews before they even arrive on scene.
“I felt this is a very important opportunity to support our local first responders again,” said Representative Robertson. “If Governor Baker and Treasurer Goldberg eventually choose to authorize the release of these funds, and they have done well as our state’s executive branch financial stewards, these are additional funds that we may pursue to provide additional state assistance to our communities. We’ll help alleviate the costs to town residents while improving both local and regional emergency response, and shifts the financial cost off the town to take advantage of our state’s strong bond rating.”
“I’m proud to have worked with my House colleague, Rep. Robertson, on amendments that are aimed at bringing significant funding to Tewksbury to support emergency services,” said Rep. Tram Nguyen. “As we face an unprecedented public health crisis, I will continue to advocate for our community and help those who are affected by this terrible virus.”
Other language in the bill supported targeted funds to provide municipal grants for safety equipment for first responders, financial assistance to hospitals and community health centers to counter future COVID outbreaks, and grants to help municipalities implement disability-access compliance at local facilities. The bill now heads to the Senate for debate and passage.
These press releases were produced by state Rep. David Robertson. The views expressed are the author’s own.