CORONAVIRUS / COVID-19 UPDATE #15
Friday, April 24, 2020
I hope everyone is hanging in, especially with this dreary weather. I write with something fun: the next episode of Low Budget Beacon Hill! We’re in a pandemic period for the long haul, so I hope this brings a little entertainment. In Episode 3, Rep. Maria Robinson and I went extra-low budget (I’m actually sitting on the floor the whole time) to shed some light on legislating in the time of coronavirus. Watch to the end for the most amusing parts.
We’ve received plenty of questions from constituents about how the Massachusetts State Government has continued operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. We answer lots of important questions, including:
- How are decisions made during a state of emergency?
- How does the legislature vote and operate while practicing social distancing?
- How does the COVID-19 response differ between the state and federal government?
- Did you remember to clean out your child’s lunchbox?
In addition, my team and I held our third virtual office hours today, with a packed schedule and detailed conversations with constituents from across the district. We’ve also been hard at work on the 2020 Vote By Mail Act… more on that below.
Other state-level updates:
- Student Loans: The Massachusetts Division of Banks (DOB) has joined a multi-state initiative to secure payment relief options for Massachusetts private student loans borrowers. These new options stand to benefit over 182,000 Massachusetts borrowers with privately held student loans.
- Emergency financial assistance to homeowners and renters: New funding is now available under the Residential Assistance to Families in Transition (RAFT) program to provide short-term emergency financial assistance to eligible homeowners and renters by assisting with mortgage payments, rent, utility bills, and other costs.
- Crisis Standards of Care: Massachusetts revised its crisis standards of care – the guidelines for managing surges of patients during periods of limited medical resources – to minimize discrimination against people with disabilities or people of color. Thankfully, experts believe our hospitals will not go over capacity during the COVID-19 surge and the crisis standards of care will not be needed.
- High Speed WiFi for communities in need: The state rolled out new WiFi hotspots to give unserved municipalities access to high speed internet. Communities will get a temporary 250 megabit per second wireless hotspot, allowing increased broadband access for residents, families, and students impacted by COVID-19.
- Stronger Together Attleboro: If you don’t have plans tomorrow night, join Virtual Trivia to support Stronger Together Attleboro. Proceeds will support individuals and families facing extreme hardship due to COVID-19 in the Greater Attleboro area. If you can’t make it, please consider donating to support Attleboro-area families in need.
- Statewide COVID Count: Statewide data for Friday, April 24 is delayed. DPH will post the data here when it becomes available.
Remember, there’s plenty for each of us to do to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe, like wearing a face covering when you go out in public. I’ve also donated blood and we’re participating in take-out Tuesday to help our local restaurants stay afloat! I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to … please join the social media conversation.
As always, my team and I are here for you. Call us at 617-722-1555 or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of us will get back to you as quickly as we can. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook for real-time updates.
Wishing you and your families strength, health, and resilience.
Yours in service,
Senator Becca Rausch