ACEC/MA works with our public agency partners and ACEC National to provide you with curated news and information. It is also a place to collect information about how the coronavirus is impacting your business to share best practices and effectively advocate for your needs. If you have information to share or have questions regarding public agency project issues in Massachusetts email us and we will check in with the agency on behalf of our community.
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Thank you to Molly Sullivan of Rasky Partners for her contributions to this resource page.
|Governor Baker's 1/4/21 Update from the State House||
Governor Baker gave an update on COVID-19: statewide 2,291 patients are being treated for COVID-19, and 416 people are in the ICU. The Commonwealth’s second field hospital opened today in Lowell at the UMass Lowell Rec Center. The first one is at the DCU Center in Worcester.
Beginning January 11, first responders will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine. There are about 45k first responders in Massachusetts, including police, fire and EMTs.
Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders laid out criteria for first responders to administer their own vaccines, which is an option available to the 200+ departments. The state will also stand up vaccination sites and work with doctors and hospitals. More information on signing up for the first responder vaccination can be found here.
|Governor Baker's 12/23/20 Update from the State House||
Governor Baker gave an update on COVID-19: He announced his administration's plan to provide stimulus funding for small businesses. He was joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy.
Governor Baker announced that in addition to any funding that may be coming out of Congress, the state is planning to launch a $668M small business relief fund. The program relies in part on the Congressional bill awaiting approval by the President, as it would grant the state some fiscal flexibility, but regardless, Massachusetts will begin administering available funds to businesses as soon as next week. These grants, of up to $75,000, will help cover three months of a small businesses expenses. The program will be administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. Businesses who had previously applied for a small business grant, but were not selected, will be given priority. For anyone who has not already applied, the application can be found here starting on 12/28/20.
Lt. Gov. Polito and Secretary Kennealy echoed Baker’s commitment to support small businesses, particularly as the state battles a second surge by imposing additional restrictions on businesses.
|Governor Baker's 12/22/20 Update from the State House||
Governor Baker gave an update on COVID-19 at the State House where he announced new statewide restrictions that will be in place for at least 2 weeks, starting Sat., December 26, 2020. The new restrictions include moving capacity levels down to 25% for many businesses and outdoor gatherings having a 25 person maximum capacity, with inside gatherings having a 10 person cap. The Governor said that these new restrictions do not affect K-12 education.
The Governor said that, "the main reason we picked the day after Christmas, instead of the day before Christmas, was that we know that many people, hopefully, will participate in a faith service of some kind safely on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It's perfectly possible to do that safely."
Additionally, starting on December 26 all hospitals must postpone or cancel all non-essential elective procedures, unless it would negatively affect someone's health.
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito reported that the 25% capacity limit applies to restaurants, personal services, theaters, casinos, office spaces, places of worship, driving and flight schools, libraries, lodging, arcades, indoor recreation, fitness centers and health clubs.
A full list of the capacity and gathering limits can be found here
|#ConstructionStopsCOVID||Announced 12/21/20: First-in-nation initiative between Greater Boston Building Trades Unions & Contractors and global health leader Partners In Health to promote COVID-19 safety in construction industry and beyond ... More|
|Governor Baker's 12/21/20 Update from the State House||
Governor Baker gave an update on COVID-19 this afternoon from the State House. He was joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy.
Governor Baker stated that due to the large increase of cases following Thanksgiving, the Commonwealth’s health care system is under extreme stress. Baker said that if we see increase after Christmas that is similar to the one after Thanksgiving, the state will be in serious danger of overwhelming the health care system. He noted that as his administration monitors the data, every safety measure is on the table in order to minimize the impact of the virus.
The Governor then shared that the recipients of the administration’s $50.8M small business relief grant program, which was part of a $700M economic recovery program that was announced in October, have been selected and will be notified later today. 1,158 small business in Massachusetts will receive grants from the program, with 100% of the recipients being minority owned.
Lt. Gov. Polito and Secretary Kennealy reiterated that the Commonwealth remains committed to providing as much funding as possible to ensure that the state’s small businesses are able to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
In closing, Governor Baker again urged Massachusetts residents to safely celebrate Christmas and do as much as they can to avoid spreading the virus any further.
|Governor Baker's 12/18/20 Update from the State House||
Governor Baker reported that nearly 60K Pfizer vaccine doses were distributed to hospitals in Massachusetts this week. Next week the Commonwealth is scheduled to receive nearly 43k vaccine doses. The Governor said that hospitals are reporting an "overwhelming acceptance" of the vaccine among eligible health care workers. Through a federal partnership, CVS and Walgreens are planning to start vaccinations at long-term care facilities around Dec. 28.
The administration learned yesterday that the Commonwealth will be receiving 145,000 doses of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine by the end of December, this is down from expected 180,000.The Governor said that he was ‘certainly frustrated’ that Massachusetts will be receiving less does and the change in delivery plans will likely cause a ‘slight’ delay. Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders announced that the state is expanding who is qualified to administer vaccines. Emergency medical technicians, emergency services personnel, nursing and medical students are now authorized to administer.
Additionally, Baker announced that he is filing a unemployment relief bill that would freeze the UI contribution rates for employers and enable the Commonwealth to issue special obligation funds to repay fed for UI funds that the state borrowed.
|Governor Baker's 12/15/20 Update||
12/15/20: Governor Baker gave an update on COVID-19 this afternoon from the State House. He was joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.
Baker reported that COVID-19 numbers have ‘shot up’ since thanksgiving and deaths have increased by 84% since the holiday. The Governor said that after seeing the aftermath of Thanksgiving, which was just one day, he thinks we shouldn't kid ourselves about the holidays in December. He said that the safest way to celebrate this year is with those in our own households and to avoid traveling and mixing households. He reiterated that anything else beyond that has the potential to spread the virus. The Governor said if the hospitals can't keep up with the latest surge and any potential additional surge from the holidays, Massachusetts might have to face more restrictions.
The Governor ended his comments by reporting that the Commonwealth is still expecting to receive 300,000 doses of vaccine by the end of the year, pending the second vaccine maker getting federal approval. This includes 379 long-term care facilities that will get vaccine doses through a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens. Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders explained that the Department of Public Health puts the order in for vaccines to the federal government on behalf of health care providers. The Secretary said that in the coming months, there will be enough vaccines to vaccinate all heath care workers.
12/14/20: Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the City of Boston will rollback to a modified Phase II based on the most recent public health metrics for a minimum of 3 weeks. In his announcement, Mayor Walsh also indicated that Lynn, Newton, Somerville, Brockton, Winthrop, and Arlington are moving forward with similar actions today. In the City of Boston, these actions go into effect on Wednesday, December 16. Changes in this update include but are not limited to:
Activities that continue as part of Phase II include:
|MBTA Updated COVID 19 Guidelines & Procedures||
The MBTA's COVID 19 guideline and procedure updates are intended to
|Governor Baker's 12/9/20 Update from the State House: Focus on Vaccines||
Governor Baker focused today on the state’s plan to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. He announced that the first round of vaccinations will maximize life saving care for the state’s most vulnerable residents, including health care workers, frontline responders and those in COVID-19 facing positions. The federal government has accepted the state’s preliminary phased vaccination plan. Phase 1 vaccinations will be distributed to the state’s highest risk and highest need individuals, in this order of priority, as soon as next week:
The first 60,000 doses of the vaccine is expected to arrive in Massachusetts on December 15, 2020, with the state getting about 300,000 doses by January. At first, vaccines will be distributed to 32 hospitals throughout the state.
If Phase 1 goes according to plan, the state will begin Phase 2 in February. Phase 2 focuses on workers in critical industries and individuals with one or more comorbidities. It will then extend to a broader universe of individuals over the age of 65 who are at a higher risk. During Phase 2, distribution to Phase 1 individuals will continue. Additional shipments of the vaccine are expected throughout January, February and March. Phase 3 of the plan is expected to begin in April and will include a much larger universe of younger individuals. As the vaccine infrastructure ramps up, distribution of the vaccine will expand to more health care settings, including community health centers, doctor’s offices and pharmacies. The vaccine will provided free of charge to all individuals and insurance companies will not be able to charge any out-of-pocket costs or copayments.
Lieutenant Governor Kayrn Polito, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, Dr. Paul Biddinger (Massachusetts General Hospital), and Reverend Liz Walker joined Governor Baker in urging residents to continue preventing the spread of the virus and spoke about the lengths the state has gone to ensure the efficiency and efficacy of the vaccination process.
More information on Massachusetts’ COVID-19 vaccination plan is Here
|Governor Baker's 12/8/20 Update from the State House||
The updated guidance for 12/8/2020 is posted on the state’s reopening website.
Governor Baker announced today that just over one third of the state’s hospital system remains unused. Due to the sharp increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations, Baker is again calling on Massachusetts residents to be diligent and actively work to stop the spread of the virus. The Governor is encouraged by the development in vaccines, but reminded residents that there is still a lot of work to do. To do this, effective this Sunday, all communities in Massachusetts will move back to Phase III Step 1. This will reduce indoor capacities for most sectors to 40% and tighten several other workplace restrictions. It will also require the closure of certain businesses, including indoor performance venues and high contact recreational businesses. The maximum outdoor gathering size will drop to 50 people statewide. At restaurants, table limits will drop to six people per party, with a maximum seating time for dining of 90 minutes per party.
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito then shared more details on the administration’s announcement, which she said is aimed at tightening up guidance in advance of the December holidays. This reopening rollback will apply uniformly to every municipality in the Commonwealth. One new measure requires any household planning to host more than 25 people outdoors to notify their local board of health beforehand. In office buildings, all office workers will be required to wear masks at all times unless they are alone in their own workspaces. Polito stressed that these rollbacks are temporary measures and that the administration will continue to review public health data so as to adjust these measures accordingly.
Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy thanked all of Massachusetts’ business for everything they have done to slow the spread of the virus. He urged Commonwealth residents to safely support their local businesses. Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders reminded everybody that as of Friday, that elective procedures, which can be safely postponed , will be curtailed to free up staffing and beds for COVID-19.
|Governor Baker's 12/7/20 Update from the State House||
The Governor announced that effective Friday, December 11, 2020, hospitals in the Commonwealth will curtail elected procedures that can be safely postponed to free up staffing and beds for COVID-19.
Baker also announced that the Commonwealth is expanding their free testing and relocating some testing locations. The Governor said that there will be testing availability in every county in the Commonwealth. Previously, Western MA sites were only in Hampden County. The Governor reported that the state will have the capacity to complete 110k tests a week. This is separate from 350 other testing sites statewide. The new testing sites will be in Framingham, New Bedford, and Lynn.
Governor Baker reported that Massachusetts can expect 300,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of December. Front-line health workers will have the priority, followed by long-term care facilities. The Governor said he will have more to announce regarding a vaccine on Wednesday.
Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders spoke after the Governor and said that the elective procedure curtailment is not a blanket curtailment. Procedures such as colonoscopies, mammograms, children pediatric checkups may still be available, and people should contact their providers for clarification. The Secretary reported that the quarantine period for those that have had a COVID-19 exposure has now been lowered from 14 day to 8 days, if the person exposed has no symptoms, and negative test on day 5 or after the exposure.
|Governor Baker Announces New Restrictions to Combat Rising COVID-19 Cases||11/2/2020: Governor Baker reported that new cases of COVID-19 have increased 300% since Labor Day. Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a series of targeted measures to disrupt the increasing trend of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Governor Baker announced these changes at a time where public health data has indicated that cases are rising, with cases up by 278% and hospitalizations up by 145% since Labor Day.
All orders and advisories will be effective Friday, November 6 at 12:01 AM. They include:
Stay at Home Advisory The advisory includes a curfew that asks residents to stay home between 10 pm - 5 am except to work or grocery shop. Restaurants must stop table service after 9:30 pm, but can continue takeout services. All casinos, theaters and other indoor entertainment facilities will close at 9:30 pm.
Included in the order, Governor Baker ordered that everyone above age of five must wear a face covering. Also included is a new limit private indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 25 people.
Face Covering Order
Governor Baker also signed an updated order restricting gatherings. The new gatherings order reduces the gathering size limit for gatherings at private residences: indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people. The limit on gatherings held in public spaces and at event venues (e.g. wedding venues) remains the same. The new order also requires that all gatherings (regardless of size or location) must end and disperse by 9:30 PM. The new gatherings order also requires that organizers of gatherings report known positive COVID-19 cases to the local health department in that community and requires organizers to cooperate with contact tracing. The gatherings order authorizes continued enforcement by local health and police departments and specifies that fines for violating the gathering order will be $500 for each person above the limit at a particular gathering.
Governor Baker issued a new executive order that requires the early closure of certain businesses and activities each night at 9:30 PM. The 9:30 PM closure requirement is aligned with the Stay At Home Advisory and together the two new initiatives are designed to further limit activities that could lead to COVID-19 transmission. Effective November 6, the following businesses and activities must close to the public each day between the hours of 9:30 PM and 5:00 AM:
|Baker-Polito Administration Announces $774M Economic Plan||
On 10/22/20, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a $774M comprehensive plan to stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy. The plan focuses on getting people back to work, supporting small businesses, fostering innovation, revitalizing downtowns and ensuring housing stability. Partnerships for Recovery begins today by directing $115M in new funding to small businesses and Main Streets hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and for workforce training efforts. Additionally, the Administration is aligning multiple funding sources, both existing and proposed, to appropriately respond to the crisis.
Partnerships for Recovery supports five key recovery efforts:
- Getting Massachusetts back to work
"This plan represents a comprehensive strategy to get people back to work and to support the small businesses hit the hardest by the pandemic, putting the Commonwealth on a path to recovery," said Governor Charlie Baker. "By leveraging existing tools and programs and implementing new ones this plan will allow us to make critical resources and assistance to those who need it most available now."
"While we continue to combat this pandemic, this plan takes an approach that addresses key needs of the businesses in downtowns and main streets, provides housing support for vulnerable families, and opens new doors for people seeking to return to work," said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “While we acknowledge we still have a ways to go, this plan will help to jumpstart our innovation economy and position Massachusetts to be on a path for success.”
- Putting $115M to work right away for small businesses and workforce training, including more than $25M to get people back to work;
Getting People Back to Work
To get people back to work, new investments are being made to build workforce skills, growing training programs and pathways, forging new partnerships between employers and workers, and supporting internet connectivity to facilitate remote work and online career advancement. The more than $25M available now includes:
- $10.4M to engage Massachusetts employers by expanding workforce partnerships with large employers in target sectors to create aligned statewide training-employment pathways;
Revised House 2 also proposes $17.9M in workforce funding, including $8.4 million in funding to transform vocational high schools into Career Technical Institutes running three shifts per day. This initiative is designed to train 20,000 new workers over four years in skilled trades and technical fields including plumbing, HVAC, manufacturing, and robotics. This will consist of a combination of enrolling more high school students in high-impact vocational trade programs and expanding capacity for adults to earn industry-based credentials, aligned to apprenticeships and post-secondary degrees.
"These funds will provide critical re-employment services to our workforce, helping people make the transition from unemployment benefits to good paying jobs in some of the Commonwealth's key long term job growth sectors," said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta.
Direct Support to Small Business and Main Street
To generate economic growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and support Main Streets across Massachusetts, the Administration is investing $322.8M in direct support of small and diverse businesses and local communities. This funding includes grants (see details below) to the hardest hit small businesses, especially small businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, or members of other underrepresented groups. These grant awards will allow small businesses to cover expenses such as rent, payroll, and utilities as they get back on their feet. Additional funding will support small businesses through hands-on and personalized technical assistance, including targeted support for women- and minority-owned businesses around digital and online technology as their business model pivots away from a brick-and-mortar location.
Many communities have seen their Main Streets and downtown districts hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and new funding aims to help cities and towns plan for short-term innovations and long-term recovery. A new $10M round of the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program will continue to help cities and towns quickly implement or expand improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce in their communities. Separately, local recovery planning grants will soon be available to cities and towns to assist with long-term planning for their business districts. A total of $10M is available for this program.
To support the museums and other cultural facilities that have faced a particularly challenging reality this year, but remain a cornerstone of what Massachusetts offers to visitors, these institutions will be eligible for $10M in Cultural Facilities Operating Grants. This funding will help these organizations to make safety improvements and other upgrades to allow them to continue to offer their unique attractions and exhibits.
As part of this recovery plan, the Governor's recently filed revised budget proposal recommends over $100M in additional funding for economic recovery and development efforts, including $35M for community development financial institutions (CDFI) grants and loans, and $15M for matching grants for capital investments by businesses with 20 or fewer employees. Additionally, more than $115M in existing capital through programs such as MassWorks, and those in the MassDevelopment portfolio (Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, Site Readiness Program, Transformative Development Initiative, and Collaborative Workspaces), will be leveraged in support of economic recovery. This recovery plan complements the Administration's $275M economic recovery package, which was announced in June.
Small Business and Main Street Highlights (new funding):
- $50.8M in Small Business Grants to help the hardest hit businesses;
- $10M to continue funding the Shared Streets and Spaces Program;
- $10M for local recovery planning grants to support cities and towns;
- $10M to support cultural facilities such as museums;
To keep people safely in their homes during the pandemic and support small landlords with expenses, the Administration recently announced $171M in support of the Eviction Diversion Initiative. This comprehensive strategy includes funding to help to cover housing costs such as rent and mortgage payments, invest in new programs around mediation and legal representation, and provide repaid rehousing when a tenant is evicted. Additionally, the Administration continues to invest in the Commonwealth's stock of affordable rental housing with $121M in direct subsidies.
Massachusetts has long been a hotbed of innovation and creativity in science and technology, and sectors such as the life sciences and advanced manufacturing are not only critical to the innovation economy, but also continue to contribute to the response to the coronavirus. To ensure we continue to lead in this space, $62M in existing capital funding through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and MassVentures is available to support recovery and growth.
Small Business Grant Program Details
Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) is administering the Small Business Grants program, with $50.8M available beginning today. Grant awards range between $25,000 - $75,000, and eligibility criteria and applications are available here.
As part of this grant program, preference is given to small businesses whose owners are women, minorities, veterans, members of other underrepresented groups, or focused on serving the Gateway Cities of Massachusetts, who have been unable to open and those most adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Preference is also given to applicants that have not been able to receive aid from other federal programs, including PPP and other relief related to COVID-19.
The program has two distinct funding 'doors' based on business size, with different eligibility criteria, which is available online. Applicants must review the information to determine which program to proceed with applying.
|Governor's 9/29/20 Press Conference: Effective October 5, a limited number of sectors will be eligible to reopen, with restrictions, in Step II of Phase III for lower risk communities only||
Governor Baker reported that public health experts have noticed an increase in positive cases, which was a possibility considering the "increased activity" in the fall and colder weather. While colleges have some students on campus, the Governor added that there has been aggressive testing on campuses. The Governor gave an update on COVID-19 testing, saying that in May, the Commonwealth’s 7-day average was around 15,000 tests a day. Now the Commonwealth has been averaging around steadily 55,000 tests a day over the past couple of weeks.
Governor Baker also announced that lower risk communities can transition to the second step of Phase 3.
Effective October 5, a limited number of sectors will be eligible to reopen, with restrictions, in Step II of Phase III for lower risk communities only:
The Governor’s Revised Gatherings Order is the following:
|CDC Guidance for Working in Sewers||Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, a number of members have contacted us seeking safety guidance for surveyors who have to collect invert data of sewer lines. While ACEC/MA leaders are not able to offer any such advice they have directed that hyperlinks to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance be shared with members and posted on this page. While the CDC offers no guidance specific to this task, sources of relevant CDC guidelines include Information for Sanitation and Wastewater Workers on COVID-19 and Guidance for Reducing Health Risks to Workers Handling Human Waste or Sewage.|
|Governor Baker's September 1, 2020 Update||
Governor Baker gave an update on COVID-19 outside of the MBTA’s Green line. He was joined by Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack and MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak.
Officials explained that the MBTA took advantage of low ridership this summer and accelerated several projects on the green line, explaining that this will allow the MBTA to provide a more reliable, faster green line experience. Governor Baker reported that this project would have normally taken a full year, but the MBTA was able to complete it over the summer months and save 30% on construction costs.
Governor Baker reported that as of 9/1/20, 2.4 million people have been tested for COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, with testing up to 19,000 people per day in August, which is up from 12,000 people being tested per day in June. The statewide positive test rate is still hovering around 1%. The Governor said that overall statewide COVID stats are “in a great place” but several communities are still struggling.
|Visitors from 4 more states no longer need to quarantine||Massachusetts has added four states to its list of low-risk states that do not require travelers to fill out a form, undergo testing or quarantine. Starting August 29, 2020, travelers entering Massachusetts from Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and Colorado will no longer need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or produce a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival.|
|Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Initiatives to Stop Spread of COVID-19
Creates Cross-Agency Enforcement and Intervention Team, Ramps up Enforcement
On August 7, 2020, Governor Baker signed an updated gatherings order, effective Tuesday, August 11, which will:
To read the gatherings order, click here.
To read the updated restaurant protocols, click here.
|Effective August 1, 2020, all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts must follow new travel orders.||
On July 24, 2020, Governor Baker filed an executive order that says all travelers entering Massachusetts, including both out of state residents and Mass. residents returning home, will be required to comply with a new travel order effective August 1.
Reopening Massachusetts: Governor Initiates Transition to Third Phase of Four-Phase Approach
Phase III, Step 1 of Reopening Massachusetts Set to Begin on July 6
On July 2, 2020, the Governor announced that on July 6, Phase III, Step 1 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan will begin and updates on gatherings will be in effect. For the City of Boston, Phase III and the gatherings order will take effect on Monday, July 13.
The Department of Public Health (DPH) also issued updated guidance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Full guidance and list of businesses eligible to reopen in Step One of Phase III can be found at www.mass.gov/reopening. Businesses and sectors set to begin opening in Phase III are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards.
|June 8: Phase 2 Reopening begins||
Massachusetts moved into the second phase of its re-opening plan on June 8 as restaurants opened for outdoor dining, hotels permitted room guests and retailers welcomed shoppers back inside their stores. Meanwhile, the state projects a $6.2B deficit in its Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund by the end of 2021.
Employers are also encouraged to review any re-opening guidance issued by local municipalities.
|Phase 2 of Reopening begins June 8||
On June 6, Governor Baker announced that Phase Two of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan will begin on Monday, June 8.
The following businesses will be eligible to reopen in Step One of Phase II on June 8, with contingencies: retail, with occupancy limits; Childcare facilities and day camps, with detailed guidance; Restaurants, outdoor table service only; hotels and other lodgings, no events, functions or meetings; warehouses and distribution centers; personal services without close physical contact, such as home cleaning, photography, window washing, career coaching and education tutoring; post-secondary, higher education, vocational-tech and occupation schools for the purpose of completing graduation requirements; youth and adult amateur sports, with detailed guidance; outdoor recreation facilities professional sports practices, no games or public admissions; non-athletic youth instructional classes in arts, education or life skills and in groups of less than 10; driving and flight schools; outdoor historical spaces, no functions, gatherings or guided tours; Funeral homes, with occupancy limits
The following businesses will be eligible reopen in Step Two of Phase II at a later date to be determined: indoor table service at restaurants and close-contact personal services, with restrictions, including: hair removal and replacement, nail care, skin care, massage therapy, makeup salons and makeup application services, tanning salons, tattoo, piercing and body art services and personal training, with restrictions
Governor Baker also announced that health care providers may also incrementally resume in-person elective, non-urgent procedures and services, including routine office visits, dental visits and vision care subject to compliance with public health and safety standards. All other in-person medical, behavioral health, dental and vision services may also resume on Monday, except for elective cosmetic procedures and in-person day programs, which will be included in Phase III. Telehealth must continue to be utilized and prioritized to the greatest extent possible, whenever feasible and appropriate.
Additionally, Baker reported that a total of 630,000 viral COVID-19 tests have been completed, and testing continues to increase throughout the state. Since mid-April, the 7-day average for the positive COVID-19 test rate is down 82%, the 3-day average of hospitalized patients is down 55%, and the number of hospitals in surge is down 76%.
|Update on Paycheck Protection Program||See more on: https://www.acecma.org/about/news/update-on-paycheck-protection-program-3032|
|5/19/20 Mayor Walsh Briefing||
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh started his press conference with an update on the COVID-19 numbers in the City of Boston: on 5/18 there were 11,950 confirmed cases. Last week, Boston’s positive test result rate was 13.9%, a new low. The number of positive cases in the hardest-hit neighborhoods in Boston continues to decline. Despite the positives, the numbers still give a reason for caution. The Mayor urged residents to continue to stay home, practice social distancing, wash their hands and wear masks in public.
Mayor Walsh discussed the Governor’s phased reopening plan released yesterday: Open air construction projects in Boston are able to resume this week, with others opening next week. Contractors must submit COVID safety plans to return to work and safety training for inspectors. Nearly 2,300 safety plans have been submitted to the city. He reported that the city is in the process of developing a detailed plan for Boston offices. The statewide plan allows for 25% capacity on offices reopening on May 25, but the City of Boston will allow offices to reopen on June 1. The city will share guidelines for Boston offices next week. The City of Boston will allow small businesses to resume curbside pickups on May 25; The Mayor asked small businesses that do not feel comfortable opening to contact his office. He also reported that the state reopening plan allows for places of worship to reopen this week, with guidelines and limited capacity, but he has heard from some places of worship that do not feel comfortable reopening. He urged seniors in the City of Boston to act on the side of caution when it comes to attending services and asked seniors to reach out to faith leaders directly during this time.
|ACEC/MA Health & Safety Forum on 5/18/2020||The ACEC/MA Health & Safety Forum on 5/18/2020 focused on office reopening and construction site safety issues. Link to YouTube Recording of this Forum.|
|Phase 1 Reopening Begins 5/18/2020||
5/18/2020: Construction Sites:
5/18/2020: Governor Charlie Baker announced that phase 1 begins today which means manufacturing and construction sites are allowed to reopen, as early as today, if they meet the guidelines. Places of worship are allowed to reopen if they follow the guidelines set for them as well. Around the state, offices spaces can reopen on May 25 if they meet health guidelines, and office spaces in Boston can start June 1. One of the new requirements is that office space can only reopen with 25% capacity. During phase 1, emergency childcare will be expanded for families that have no other option.
Hairdressers and barbers are included in phase 1 and can reopen by appointment only, starting May 25. Restaurants, hotels, retail stores, nail salons, and public pools are included in phase 2. There will be at least a 3 week minimum waiting period between phases, but it could be longer, depending on data from health officials. Summer camps will be included in phases 2 and 3, and casinos, museums, and other entertainment-related businesses will get the green light in phase 3.
The “stay at home” advisory has been changed to a “safer at home” advisory, which the Governor urged residents to still stay at home unless they absolutely need to go out. Limit on gatherings still remains at 10 people.
The full reopening report and guidelines and are located below.
Sector-specific protocols and best practices:
Updated MBTA COVID-19 Procedures
|Boston Announces Incremental Start to Construction||
On Tuesday, May 5, the City activated the submission process for required COVID-19 Safety Affidavits and COVID-19 Safety Plans for permitted construction work. The City also announced the timeline to incrementally expand the categories of allowed construction to further align with the broader categories of construction defined as essential by the State. Read the announcement.
As of May 18, 2020, the City of Boston will allow essential construction projects on sites that meet the following criteria: (1) Projects are permitted, in compliance and have filed a Covid-19 Safety plan and a signed affidavit; (2) Project sites are sufficiently prepared to adhere to all criteria of their safety plan; and (3) the work is for hospitals, public schools, residential buildings (1-3 units), road and utility work, or other outdoor/open air-work such as steel erection, roofing and constructing foundations.
As of May 26, 2020, the City of Boston will allow all essential construction projects to recommence construction activities in adherence to their safety plans. This incremental approach will provide the time necessary to allow complex, large-scale development an opportunity to educate their workforce, safely remobilize and implement their site-specific Safety Plan
The City of Boston released 3 documents regarding the phased-in approach for the resumption of construction activities:
On May 5, City of Boston announced it will take an incremental approach to broadening the allowable categories of construction. Effective May 5, all essential construction projects (as defined by the state, which currently means residential, hospitals, public schools, mixed use with residential, public works and construction related to COVID-19) with approved safety plans and signed affidavits as required under the COVID-19 Safety Policy for Construction will be authorized to prepare the site with project specific COVID-19 safety measures.
At no time will the City of Boston permit any construction beyond what is allowed by the Commonwealth. DPW and ISD will continue to monitor and enforce the COVID-19 Safety Plans for Construction. In accordance with the signed affidavit, contractors acknowledge and agree that non-compliance with any requirements may result in suspension of termination of work in progress of revocation of the City’s permit for such work.
|Governor Baker Announces Reopening Advisory Board||
On April 28, Governor Baker announced the formation of the Reopening Advisory Board, which is being Co-Chaired by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. The Board brings together public health officials, business leaders and municipal government officials from across the state, and is charged with providing recommendations to the Administration to reopen the economy in phases based on preserving the health and safety of the Commonwealth's residents. ACEC/MA plans to provide stakeholder input on the issues facing the engineering, A/E and land surveying business community. More info
City of Boston Construction Protocols
On Friday, April 17, the City published a draft COVID-19 Safety Policy for Construction. These are new requirements, designed to make job sites safer for workers and communities, that are expected to be implemented by Monday, April 27.
Due to COVID-19, the City of Boston will be implementing new protocols for essential construction work in the City of Boston. All essential construction sites must now submit a COVID-19 Safety Plan and a COVID-19 Safety Affidavit. These policies go into effect on April 27, 2020 for all essential construction. Nothing in these new protocols changes what construction is currently allowable in the City of Boston right now, but when construction resumes at some point, compliance with this policy will be required.
To help with this, the City has provided a Safety Plan Worksheet for guidance.
Centralized Screening Procedures
|Massport sent us the attached Centralized Screening Procedures. Massport has established a centralized screening station at Logan Airport to allow for the expedient and efficient daily screening for COVID-19 for all employees associated with major construction projects located at Logan airport|
|MBTA: COVID-19 Consultant/Vendor/ Contractor Outreach - Case Incident Reporting||
MBTA has sent us the attached guidelines to report known or presumptive COVID-19 cases involving Consultant/ Vendor/ Contractor workforces to the MBTA. Case Incident Reporting
|New Massachusetts Law: AN ACT TO ADDRESS CHALLENGES FACED BY MUNICIPALITIES AND STATE AUTHORITIES RESULTING FROM COVID-19||
Signed into law April 3, took effect immediately, now Session Law 53 of the Acts of 2020
This law has implications for how certain private sector development might move forward in pre-construction and permitting.
For Design Professionals, this new law:
Other key parts of the new law:
This is a memo outlining the letter needed from each contractor certifying compliance with CDC, OSHA and the Commonwealth’s guidelines. The letter must be on company letterhead and signed by a principal of the company. The contractor must submit a separate letter for each contract to the District Highway Director.
|4-1-2020 MassDOT and DCAMM Enforcement of the COVID-19 Safety Guidelines and Procedures for Construction Sites||
From MassDOT: Enforcement of the COVID-19 Safety Guidelines and Procedures for Construction Sites
|Supplemental Guidelines for Construction Sites
ADDENDUM 1 Limiting Exposures and Worker Infection Protocol
COVID-19 Employee Health, protection, guidance and prevention
|Link to these Guidelines|
|Updated information for the Paycheck Protection Program||
April 3: Some of this is information we posted earlier this week, but note the updated links highlighted, including the final borrower application for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Assistance for Small Businesses
The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.
Paycheck Protection Program Resources
|MBTC votes unanimously to call for a statewide suspension of all regular activity at construction sites||On March 31, 2020, the Massachusetts Building Trades Council voted unanimously to call for a statewide suspension of all regular activity at construction sites in Massachusetts. On April 1, 2020, Governor Baker's announcements did not include action on this issue. More from the MBTC|
|US Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance on Employee Retention Tax Credit in CARES Act||3/31/20: Treasury and the IRS released guidance on how employers may qualify for the employee retention tax credit in the CARES Act. The tax credit is available to employers whose business is fully or partially suspended by government order due to COVID-19, or if the employer’s gross receipts are below 50% of the comparable quarter in 2019.|
|Governor Baker Limits Essential Construction to Housing & Infrastructure, Extends Non-Essential Business Closures||
On March 31, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker extended his emergency order to close non-essential businesses and his stay-at-home advisory until May 4. It requires 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. In addition, the Administration also updated the “COVID-19 Essential Services” categories.
The list of “essential” construction related activities was modified so that only construction related to housing (including mixed use with housing) and critical infrastructure are now considered “essential.”
|Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Advisory Memorandum on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers||
On March 28, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued: Advisory Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response
This advisory is being used by states as a guidance document. As of March 30, 2020, Massachusetts and local law enforcement are not stopping engineers, land surveyors and other design professionals from doing their work as long as the work is being done in a way that is consistent with health and safety protocols in the guidance document provided to municipalities and construction sites last week.
|How to Apply for an SBA Disaster Relief Loan||Link from the US Chamber of Commerce: https://www.uschamber.com/co/start/strategy/applying-for-sba-disaster-relief-loan|
Congress passes CARES Act, Sends to White House
3/27/20 1:30 PM: The US House just passed the CARES Act, sending the package to the White House for the President’s signature.
Here's some information on the small business provisions.
Small Business Program Overview
The new law establishes a Paycheck Protection Program to assist qualifying small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals through the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) loan program. $349B is authorized for 7(a) lending from Feb. 15 through June 30, and SBA would fully guarantee the loans. Loans would be available during the covered period for:
Eligible recipients could receive loans up to $10M or 250% of their average monthly payroll costs, instead of $5M, with interest rates capped during the covered period at 4%. Loans can be used to cover eligible payroll costs -- salaries, commissions, regular paid leave, and health-care benefits -- as well as mortgage interest and utility payments. Firms would be required to make a “good faith certification” that funds will be used to retain workers, maintain payroll, and pay for rent and similar expenses. Funds cannot be used to compensate individual employees at an annual rate above $100,000, or to pay for emergency sick or family leave under the second coronavirus response package.
Loan Forgiveness – key elements
The package provides $10 billion to expand the SBA’s disaster loan program from Jan. 31 through Dec. 31 to cover businesses, cooperatives, employee stock ownership plans, and tribal businesses with 500 or fewer employees, as well as sole proprietors and independent contractors. The measure also authorizes SBA to advance up to $10,000 to existing and newly eligible disaster loan recipients within three days of receiving their applications. Recipients could use the advance funds to pay sick leave to employees affected by Covid-19, retain employees, address interrupted supply chains, make rent or mortgage payments, and repay debt. They wouldn’t have to repay the advance funds.
|Governor Baker's 3/27 Press Conference asks all travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days.||
During Governor Baker's 3/27 daily press conference he announced that his office is asking all travelers arriving to Massachusetts to self-quarantine for 14 days. He reported that starting 3/27 info flyers will be available at Logan airport, Worcester airport and South Station. Roadside message boards will also alert drivers.
For the second day in a row, Baker spent time during the press conference to urge the use of telehealth options to more safely facilitate interactions between patients and heath care providers. He reminded the public that his administrator ordered telehealth to be covered by all health insurances and urged everyone to take full advantage of it. The Governor announced a new partnership, with Buoy Health, an online resource for residents to receive medical guidance from the safety of their home. The Governor reminded the public that Bouy Health should not be used in place of emergency medical care and it is free for Massachusetts residents and a tool to get guidance.
|Federal Cares Act Information||
3/26/20: The full bill text of the Federal CARES Act, which passed the US Senate on 3/25/20 is available here. To read a section by section analysis of the Act, click here. And click here to view the Senate Appropriations Committee's supplemental summary.
The US House is hoping to act on this bill on March 27.
State Construction Guidelines and Procedures
The state has issued COVID-19 Guidelines and Procedures for All Construction Sites and Workers at All Public Work
Several specific requirements to note:
Baker Administration Issues New Construction Guidance to Municipalities Clarifying Construction as an Essential Service
On March 25, 2020, the Baker Administration issued construction guidance to Massachusetts municipalities overturning all local construction moratoriums. March 25, Governor Baker issued guidance clarifying that the March 23, 2020 Order “Assuring Continued Operation of Essential Services in the Commonwealth, Closing Certain Workplaces, and Prohibiting Gatherings of More than 10 People” supersedes and makes inoperative any order or rule issued by a municipality that will or might in any way impede or interfere with the achievement of the objectives of this order. “Construction Workers who support the construction, operation, inspection and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects” are deemed essential.
This guidance advises all municipalities that had issued their own directives, policies and regulations in place regarding construction to withdraw their orders.
Note: This letter includes important construction safety guidance related to COVID-19.
|City of Boston Extends Construction Moratorium Until Further Notice||
On March 25, 2020, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh extended the City of Boston's construction moratorium until further notice, citing safety and health concerns for workers and Boston residents.
Note: This policy only applies to projects permitted by the City of Boston.
New Legislation Proposes Extension of Permits During Current State of Emergency
On March 24, Governor Baker filed H. 4586, An Act to Further Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities, School Districts, and State Authorities Resulting from COVID-19. While the bill addresses several topics, Section 9 of the bill addresses the tolling of permits. Specifically, the language provides the following:
These changes will provide necessary relief to cities and towns that, due to disruptions caused by the state of emergency, are unable to timely process and hear permitting applications. At the same time, these changes balance the needs of residents and developers by ensuring that their current permits are not impaired by the emergency.
Massachusetts Legislation Related to COVID-19 Issues - as of 3/27/20
ACEC/MA's 3/17 Web Briefing on Business Continuity Planning During Uncertain Times
We've shared the 3/17 Web briefing recording with ACEC National. With our permission, this now posted on ACEC National's Website to share here: https://education.acec.org/diweb/catalog/item?id=5018573
This Web Briefing is Free for ACEC Members and Non-Members
This is a complimentary on-demand online class courtesy of ACEC/Massachusetts, but you must sign in to your ACEC National account to access the recording. This is different from your ACEC/MA login and password.
If you have any questions about how to log in, email Maureen Brown at ACEC National for assistance.
ACEC/MA members only pay the ACEC/MA member rate for registration. Check the ACEC/MA Member Directory to see if your firm is an ACEC/MA member. If your firm is an ACEC/MA member, you are a member.
Important: You must use the account, including the username and password, of the individual you wish to register.
IMPORTANT: Altering your name or contact information during registration will overwrite your record in our membership database. Please do not share your login information with anyone else.
If you have additional questions regarding registration, contact us at 617/227-5551 or email@example.com.
Registration is processed through the ACEC/MA associated website, www.engineers.org. ACEC/MA is supported by the staff of The Engineering Center Education Trust.