Reopening Massachusetts – June 26, 2020
The Baker-Polito Administration’s comprehensive plan to safely reopen the Massachusetts economy, get people back to work, and ease social restrictions while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19.https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-massachusetts
MGCC Small Business survey – We’ve partnered with MassINC Polling Group and others to conduct an important statewide survey about how the coronavirus has impacted small businesses in Massachusetts. We’re asking for input from small businesses to ensure that economic recovery programs and policies are informed by your current needs. This survey is for small businesses with 500 employees or less. It’s available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and Mandarin. It should take less than 10 minutes of your time. Your answers will be analyzed together with other responses and will never be used to identify you personally. This survey will be open for a short period of time. Please respond as soon as possible.https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5668957/MGCC
Sales Tax Holiday – the annula sales tax-free weekend will be August 29-30th
PARTNERSHIPS FOR GROWTH – ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BILL – Last week, the Governor unveiled a COVID-19 economic recovery package to generate economic growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The $275 million package, designed to promote equity across the Commonwealth, is an update to the Administration’s Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth, the economic development legislation originally filed on March 4th, 2020.
Multilingual Unemployment Resources – Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – Report Fraud (Update June 19,2020)
Multilingual Unemployment Resources
The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) offers information in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Vietnamese and more to help non-English speakers apply for benefits.
- Apply for unemployment online with translation options: https://unemployment.mass.gov/
- Multilingual call agents are available at the Department of Unemployment Call Center (877) 626-6800. Open 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday, 8 a.m–12 p.m. Saturday.
Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits.
- The PUA application is available in English and Spanish here. For the PUA Application in Spanish, select “View in Spanish” at the top right of the screen.
Report unemployment benefits fraud
If you believe someone is using your identity to falsely claim unemployment benefits, learn how to report the fraud and what to do to protect yourself.
- If you believe someone has applied for unemployment benefits using your personal information, use our secure fraud reporting form to alert us or call the DUA customer service department at (877) 626-6800.
- Multilingual Fraud Reporting Information: Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Vietnamese
Reopening Guidelines (June 7, 2020)
- The Baker-Polito Administration’s comprehensive plan to safely reopen the Massacheustts economy, get people back to work, and ease social restrictions while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-massachusetts
- Download the reopening report – https://www.mass.gov/doc/reopening-massachusetts-may-18-2020/download
- Readiness Daily Report – https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting
- Phase II (beginning June 8, 2020) – https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-response-reporting
Reopening Guidelines (May 22, 2020)
This week, the Baker-Polito Administration released the Reopening Advisory Board’s report on the four-phase reopening of the Massachusetts economy, Reopening Massachusetts. This report outlines a roadmap for gradually reopening, as well as guidance as to when which businesses may reopen, and what standards they must adhere to in Phase 1.
Phase 1 began on May 18th with lifting restrictions in some industries/sectors. The next milestone you should be aware of within Phase 1 is May 25th, when additional sectors are able to reopen with limitations (including curbside pickup for retail businesses). Phase 1 will last at least three weeks; the Commonwealth will progress to Phase 2 when public health metrics and progress indicate it is safe to do so.
What Businesses Can Expect in Phase 1 to businesses, one-page summary of key information.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BUSINESSES
Identify the phase in which your industry or sector is eligible to reopen
Read the guidance for reopening
- Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards
- General Business Guidance
- Sector-Specific Protocols and Best Practices (if applicable; additional guidance will be made available as we progress through the Phases)
- Please note that businesses that have been offering essential services and have remained open throughout the COVID-19 outbreak must adhere to the safety standards and create a COVID-19 Control Plan (see below) by May 25th. Businesses with office spaces that have been operating as an essential service have until July 1st to comply with occupancy limits.
Develop a COVID-19 Control Plan
- You may use the COVID-19 Control Plan template or create your own written plan.
- All businesses in the Commonwealth must develop a written control plan outlining how its workplace will comply with the mandatory safety standards for operation in the COVID-19 reopening period.
- Control plans do not need to be submitted for approval but must be kept on premises and made available in the case of an inspection or outbreak.
Before reopening, the business must meet the Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards and attest to compliance
Reopen brick-and-mortar operations safely and in line with guidance
- These standards will be jointly enforced by local Boards of Health and the state’s Department of Labor Standards (DLS).
- Businesses play a key role in setting a standard for safe public interactions and in restoring consumer confidence.
- By adhering to these mandatory standards and best practices, businesses, employees, and customers will ensure Massachusetts is able to progress from Phase 1 to Phase 4, the “New Normal.” It’s all of our responsibility to ensure we move forward, and not backwards, in reopening the Massachusetts economy.
- What Businesses Can Expect in Phase 1, which condenses key detail into a single page
- The report, Reopening Massachusetts, offers the full framework of the four-phased reopening and provides an overview of the issues underpinning the approach
- The Reopening: Four-Phase Approach page outlines the phased approach and the key role that public health benchmarks play in reopening
- The Purchasing Hygienic or Protective Supplies page includes information for employers and employees about supplies needed to return to workplaces, as well as a Vendor Tool to assist businesses in locating and purchasing hygienic and protective supplies
- Department of Public Health’s Safer-At-Home Advisory gives key guidance for all residents of the Commonwealth, including employers and employees, during Phase 1. Please note, businesses authorized to operate under Phase 1 are not subject to the 10-person limitation on gatherings.
- Note for retail businesses: retail businesses may engage in curbside pickup sales as of May 25th. Please check the Essential Services FAQ document for current guidance on remote fulfillment. Additional notes on curbside pickup guidance will be available in the coming days.
- Massachusetts COVID19 Updates and Information- https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-updates-and-information
- Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Returing to Work: Guide for Employers – https://www.mass.gov/info-details/unemployment-insurance-benefits-and-returning-to-work-guide-for-employers
- Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Returning to Work: Guide for Workers – https://www.mass.gov/info-details/unemployment-insurance-benefits-and-returning-to-work-guide-for-workers
- Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance – https://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-unemployment-assistance
- Massachusetts Pandemic Unemployment Insurance – https://www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-pandemic-unemployment-assistance
- Text Alerts – Text COVIDMA to 888-777 to receive COVID-19 text message alerts straight to your phone and stay up to date with the latest news + updates from the Commonwealth. Para recibir alertas de mensajes de texto de la Mancomunidad de Massachusetts, envíe un mensaje de texto con COVIDMAESP al 888-777.
- MEMA’s Emergency Operations Center’s Private Sector Hotline: 508-820-2094 (M–F, 8AM – 4PM)
- Berkshire Medical Center toll-free hotline for questions/concerns: 855-BMC-LINK – or – 855-262-5465 (7 days/week, 7AM – 7PM)
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health: 617-983-6800 (24-hour emergency hotline)
4-30-20 – Long Term Care Portal – Be a Healthcare Hero!! If you have a passion for helping people, we need you! Nurses, CNAs, medical assistants, community health workers, and more are being matched to employment opportunities in the long-term care industry in Massachusetts.
Use the portal below for healthcare professionals to REGISTER hiring needs and for healthcare professionals to REGISTER their information to be matched to a facility’s need
4-27-20 – Additional Paycheck Protection Program resources now available on EOHED’s website: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program. Using the SBA data, EOHED published a list of institutions that provided loans to Massachusetts companies during the first round of funding.
4-20-20 – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals unable to work because of a COVID-19 related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. Apply now. Recursos en espanol.
4-15-20 – The MassHire Berkshire Career Center has been pleased to assist our constituents with their unemployment questions while Department of Unemployment Assistance has been working to provide their services remotely. They are providing virtual events and UI services. As DUA continues to add staff, we will be referring all unemployment questions to their workflow. Please know that we are still providing job search and workforce development services and will be here to assist in your job search efforts. Below is the link to the Unemployment Assistance Contact Request https://www.mass.gov/forms/covid-19-department-of-unemployment-assistance-contact-request
Also, here is a link to additional information we encourage you to review. https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-unemployment-and-coronavirus-covid-19
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) Questions & Answers (April 10th) Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) Questions and Answers 4-10-20
Unemployment Insurance – People are encouraged to file their Unemployment Claim On-line or by phone at 877.626.6800. If the web page is slow or incomplete to load that is due to the heavy demand. Please try latter in the evening or early in the morning. Wait times on the phone will likely be long. Learn what information you need to open a claim and the potential help in filing the claim.
Virtual Town Halls – answer all of your unemployment insurance questions!
Contact unemployment customer assistance about a specific claim issue
Virtual Town Hall Registration – Click here for MA Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Corona Virus Virtual Town Hall Registration to learn how to file for unemployment.
Resources for UI claims and frequently asked questions about unemployment assistance
Business & Employment Guidance at it relates to COVID-19
Due to the unprecedented impacted of COVID-19, the MassHire Berkshire Career Center is closed to public walk-in traffic. This precautionary measure is to protect our customers and staff. The Berkshire Career Center will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so and are providing services virtually via phone and email. Your unemployment benefits will not be impacted by these changes. During this time, there are some free on-line tutorials in English and Spanish to assist.
March 20, 2020 – Click here to file unemployment insurance as it relates to COVID-19 http://www.mass.gov/dua
Business & Employment guidance as it relates to COVIC-19 https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-guidance-and-directives#businesses-&-employment-
March 16, 2020 – March 16, 2020 COVID19 Update
MassHire Berkshire Career Center closed to the public beginning March 16, 2020.
Training programs suspended due to school closings.
MA State of emergency – https://www.mass.gov/resource/information-on-the-outbreak-of-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19
Berkshire Workforce Board external meetings cancelled.
Business Resources provided by Associated Industries of MA (AIM) – Several companies have reached out to the BWB about guidelines during this challenging time, and the Associated Industries of MA (AIM) forwarded this “Employers Guide to Covid-19” which can be shared with companies. https://aimnet.org/blog/the-employers-guide-to-covid-19/
EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE – The changing circumstances around COVID-19 are challenging to us all. All staff are reminded of our Mass4You Employee Assistance Program and are encouraged to access this EAP support as needed at 866-342-6892. The caring professionals staffing this line are available 24/7 to support you in dealing with any stress associated with medical challenges, caregiving and coping.
Thank you for your continued vigilance as we work together through the challenges of COVID-19. BWB will continue to keep you updated on further developments and encourage you to consult both the Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control websites for the most up to date information.