COVID-19 Work and Resources
MAPC is committed to helping local officials and other allies and stakeholders address their needs, and we are encouraging a statewide, coordinated response to this virus. MAPC stands ready to assist your community and the region during this time. This is a challenging, unprecedented situation for all of us, but we can make it easier by supporting each other, sharing resources, and continuing to collaborate.
For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Massachusetts, visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's COVID-19 Resources page.
More on COVID-19
COVID-19 Work Overview
Reopening and Recovery
LATEST REOPENING NEWS:
Revised Requirements for Child Care Providers
On Friday, August 21, the Department of Early Education and Care announced revised minimum requirements for health and safety for child care providers.
The new requirements ease restrictions on classroom group sizes and ratios and allow limited on-site services for children with special needs to occur safely in child care facilities.
Governor's Reopening Task Force
On Wednesday, March 13, MAPC Deputy Director Rebecca Davis and Government Affairs Director Lizzi Weyant presented recommendations to the Governor’s Reopening Advisory Board, alongside Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll and Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone. These recommendations were made on behalf of a working grouping of MAPC region mayors and managers.
Small Business and Unemployment Response
- Building a New Future Together: We've published a guide to how municipal governments can help their small businesses reopen, recover, and thrive.
- Small Business Response Plans: MAPC is working with Salem, Arlington, Medford, and the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce on response plans for assisting small businesses.
- Unemployment Response Plans: MAPC is working with Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Revere, and Somerville on a rapid response plan to identify the needs of unemployed individuals and determine immediate and long-term employment options.
As we begin to reopen and public health guidelines continue to encourage physical distancing, how can municipalities repurpose street space to accommodate increased demand for walking, biking, and outdoor retail?
MAPC is helping our municipalities answer that question. We're eager to support our cities and towns in thinking through ways to repurpose street space to allow for safe walking and biking, more efficient bus service, and expanded outdoor dining and retail options. Here are some ways we can be of help:
- Regional visioning and planning
- Collective procurement of materials
- Coordination and sharing best practices
- Technical assistance at the local level
Contact Transportation Director Eric Bourassa at email@example.com with questions or ideas.
MAPC is providing resources to and facilitating conversations among municipal leaders from across the state. We are sharing best practices, resources, templates, and information on how to keep residents safe, healthy, and informed while keeping city and town governments running.
MAPC has served as a conduit of information and communication channel between state and local officials in Greater Boston. We have hosted weekly calls between mayors and managers and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. We have run webinars on topics such as homelessness, food security, and small business preservation. And every Sunday, we host a call with scientists, physicians, and epidemiologists so local officials can learn more about the science behind the pandemic and key trendlines that will affect local decision-making.
If you are a mayor, city or town manager, or their designee and you wish to join this group, please contact Lizzi Weyant, MAPC Director of Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will immediately place you in the group, add you to the video call group, and direct you to resources.
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council, in partnership with MassDevelopment, is providing funding for state and municipal agencies that coordinate transportation services, regional transit authorities (RTAs), and Health and Human Services Transportation (HHST) providers across the Commonwealth to meet the transportation and delivery needs of vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 emergency.
Funds must be used to partner with taxicab, livery, or hackney businesses and will be dispersed on a rolling basis.
Recommendations for how municipalities can facilitate small business reopening and recovery, and how the Commonwealth can help them through consistent guidelines and requirements.
Hosting engaging public meetings over virtual platforms can be tricky. This guide includes tips and tricks for virtual engagement, including what to do before, during, and after your meeting.
Supplies and Isolation & Recovery Centers
With our colleagues at the Northeast Regional Advisory Council (NERAC), we repurposed Homeland Security funds to buy ventilators for some of our smaller hospitals. We worked with Chelsea and Revere to stand up an isolation facility for ill residents who could not safely remain at home. With our colleagues at MassDevelopment, we are helping localities to access funds for emergency transportation needs. And we distributed almost $800,000 of urgent financial aid from the state Department of Public Health to cash-strapped local health departments.
Check out a video on the Revere isolation facility below:
MAPC is currently compiling lists of various national, state, regional, and local resources for our communities. As we learn more about additional programs, we will be sure to include them in this list.
MAPC is hosting occasional webinars to keep our municipal stakeholders and wider audience aware of opportunities, resources, and information related to the COVID-19 response.
We'll be focusing on topics that will be useful to our audience and hope to provide clear, relevant, and timely information. The webinars will complement and respond to the conversations that we're having everyday with people responding to the COVID crisis.
- Local Permitting During and After COVID-19
- Sharing Our Streets: Creating More Space for Safe Walking, Biking, and Outdoor Retail
- Supporting Small Businesses, Offsetting Unemployment: How Municipalities Can Help
- Essential Trips: A COVID-19 Response Discussion for Local Transit Providers
- Virtual Meeting Best Practices
- The COVID-19 Layoff Housing Gap
- Municipal Finance During the COVID-19 Crisis
- Responding to Food Insecurity During the COVID-19 Crisis
Spotlight on Town Meeting, Election, and Budget Process Legislation
We are thrilled that the Governor signed a bill, now Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2020, that will allow increased flexibility for municipalities to address town meeting, municipal elections and budgeting during the public health emergency caused by COVID-19.
Guidelines for Town Meetings
June 11, 2020 - The Department of Public Health has released sector-specific safety recommendations for Town Meetings. Guidelines include an emphasis on virtual attendance, social distancing at in-person meetings, face coverings, disinfecting, and positive-case notifications.
Small Business and Unemployment Resources
Artist, Freelancer, and Gig Worker Resources
MAPC's Arts & Culture team is compiling resources in response to COVID-19, including resources for artists, links to surveys on the crisis’s economic impact, opportunities to participate in state and federal arts advocacy efforts, and resources for arts-engaged response and recovery.
We’ll continue to update this list as we learn about new resources, webinars, and advocacy opportunities If you have any questions, please contact Interim Arts & Culture Director Annis Sengupta at email@example.com.
MAPC Call for Participants “Living Together” Documentary
Mariona Lloreta, in partnership with MAPC, is seeking participation for the Living Together documentary. This short film will feature residents of Metro Boston in order to highlight the experiences of those living in the region and their connection to MetroCommon 2050, Metro Boston’s next regional plan.
NEFA Spatial Justice Grants
Two new Public Art Grant Opportunities are available to Massachusetts artists and artistic collaborators. Grants focus on spatial justice in the time of COVID-19 and feature monthly deadlines from August through October 2020.
- "Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice" awards range from $2,000-5,000.
- "Public Art for Spatial Justice" awards range from $5,000-10,000.
City of Boston Opportunity Fund 4.0
One-time awards range from $500 to $1,000 to enable artists to develop their careers and plan free arts-focused experiences and events throughout the city's neighborhoods. The Fund is currently open and applications are accepted on a rolling basis through FY21.
MassDOT Shared Streets
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. Applications will be accepted June 22 to September 29. Projects must be mostly or completely implemented by October 9, 2020.
USDA Rural Placemaking Challenge
Maximum grants of $250,000 are available from a $1 million fund for planning and technical assistance to foster placemaking activities in rural communities. Planning must directly benefit communities of 50,000 residents or fewer and applicants must demonstrate existing and proposed partnerships with public, private, philanthropic, and community partners. Applications are due by September 10, 2020.
The MA COVID Team and local boards of health are working together on a contact tracing program to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. Contact tracing is an important tool in reducing the spread of the virus. Through the Community Tracing Collaborative, everyone who has tested positive will get a call from the Board of Health or the MA COVID Team, making sure they have the support they need to quarantine and get better, and to find out who they have recent been in contact with.
The MA COVID Team or Board of Health will talk to those contacts, encouraging them to get tested and to stay at home to not spread the virus further. Together with massive testing and hospital care follow up, contact tracing is absolutely essential to stop the virus and get our communities moving again.
The COVID team has assembled a toolkit of materials to spread the word about the importance of contact tracing. Please use the tools below to spread the word about this important initiative through newsletters, flyers and social media. Thank you for your help!
Click images to download files.
MAPC is fully open for business on a virtual basis, and we are ready to help cities and towns that are struggling with emergency management or coordinating a municipal response to COVID-19. Reach out if your municipality is struggling with staff capacity: we can provide expertise and ease the pressure on small or overwhelmed municipal governments.