TARGETED FREE COVID-19 TESTING SITES
Last week, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the launch of free COVID-19 testing sites in eight communities from July 10 to August 14 to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This “Stop the Spread” initiative is a data-driven effort to reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 in communities that are above the state average in total cases and positive test rate, and have experienced a decline in testing levels since April. The initiative is being launched in Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, and New Bedford. Residents of these communities can take advantage of the availability of these new testing sites, even if they are asymptomatic. While these sites are being launched in these communities, they are open to all residents of the Commonwealth. Read the full press release here.
- Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program
- The Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Shared Streets and Spaces quick-launch/quick-build grant program will provide grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $300,000 for cities and towns to 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.
- Municipalities can read more and apply here.
- Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: “Resurgent Places”
- On June 19, 2020 MassDevelopment announced $225,000 in funding for a new round of Commonwealth Places. The COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places funding round is being made available specifically to help community partners prepare public space and commercial districts to best serve their population during communities’ economic recovery efforts. Eligible projects will comply with the Commonwealth’s Reopening Massachusetts plan, and may include outdoor seating spaces, sidewalk retail venues, partitions to support social distancing, and more.
- Nonprofits and community groups can read more and apply here.
RETAIL GUIDANCE: REUSABLE BAGS NO LONGER PROHIBITED
Sector-specific protocols for retail businesses have been updated to no longer prohibit the use of reusable bags in retail stores. Businesses should refer to their local ordinances regarding single-use plastic bags.
I also wanted to remind you that grocery stores should adhere to protocols for retail businesses. Grocery stores previously had dedicated guidance, issued by DPH in March and April. Last week, DPH rescinded these orders, as specific provisions within the orders (including the requirement that grocery stores and retail with a pharmacy offer dedicated hours for adults 60+, and prohibition of salad bars and self-serve food, among others) are included in guidance for retail businesses. Please see the protocols for full details.