網頁

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Emergency Actions to Address COVID-19

            (Boston Orange 編譯)麻州州長查理貝克(Charlie Baker)今日(315)下午6點宣佈,從317日起,所有公私立中小學停課三週,民眾聚會限25人以下。
            為因應新型冠狀病毒疫情在麻州的擴散情勢,查理貝克政府還制定了一系列規定。
            查理貝克表示,政府明白這些規定將打亂人們的日常生活,但採取這些做法,是為確保州民仍能得到州政府提供的關鍵服務,同時採取限制新型冠狀病毒擴散的預防措施。
            查理貝克今日列出的新法大綱包括:
             麻州學校:
            中小學: 317日至46日暫時停止教育性營運。
            幼兒教育及托兒服務: 遵循EEC/DPH指導原則,視實際情況決定。
            高等教育: 繼續展開遠距學習
            聚會及餐館: 麻州長查理貝克發出緊急命令,限制聚會人數不可超過25人,並自317日起至46日止,禁止在餐館或酒吧內用餐,喝酒。
            行政辦公室職員:在行政辦公室工作的非緊急州府職員,週一、週二(316日及317)不要上班。經上司子派為因應新型冠狀病毒工作人員者,仍須上班。
            醫療保險:麻州公共衛生廳今日發出的指導原則如下:
            所有商業保險商,自保計畫,以及團體保險局必須負擔和新型冠狀病毒檢測有關的遠距醫療服務及治療費用。
            在檢測及治療上,保險商必須這樣做,並不得要求任何形式的共攤費用,例如共同付款,及共同保險。
            保險商也不得要求須事先授權,才提供這些服務。
            所有的輔助居住大樓禁止訪客,以保護居民及員工的健康。週五時,聯邦政府已發令禁止訪客到療養院。
            麻州公共衛生廳或精神病部門經營的所有醫院必須過濾所有訪客,任何人有生病跡象,禁止探訪。
            醫院必須取消所有非基本的選擇流程。
            授權持牌藥商製作並在櫃台銷售洗手消毒液。
            汽車牌照登記:
            汽車監理處(RMV)將展延某些牌照的更新截止日期,並減少顧客親自到監理處的需要。
            本週起生效,RMV將容許系統內的D類,DMs類,身分證,學習駕照等證照的到期日展延60天。所有在202031日至430日到期的牌照,都將持續有效,直到證件上有效日期的60天以後。
            有限日期的展延,不適用於汽車登記。大多數的車輛登記,可在Mass.gov/RMV的網上辦理。
            這到期日展延也不適用於商業駕照(CDLs),或那些駕照或學習駕照到期日和在美居留到期日是同一天的人。
             符合展延資格者應等到麻州緊急狀態撤銷或結束後,到RMV服務中心或AAA辦公室去更新。

            失業援助:勞工及人力發展辦公室(EOLWD)及失業援助部(DUA)和美國勞工部合作,正在採取一系列行動來援助工人及雇主。
            目前失業的:
            所有關於在MassHire執業中心上課的規定,已暫停。 
            由於新型冠狀病毒而錯過截止日期,在DUA的正當理由條款下,可獲原諒。
            所有上訴聆訊將只以電話舉行。

             根據勞工部的指導原則,如果一名工作人員因為曝露或傳染等合理危險,或是要照顧家人,在市政當局或醫療專業人員的命令下隔離,或離職,或是不准,而不是故意不回去工作,麻州失業援助部現在可以支付失業福利。該名工作人員部須提供醫療文件,只需要在可以時回去工作就行。
            為幫助那些受新型冠狀病毒影響而不能工作的人,政府正在申請緊急法案,以豁免一週的失業福利等待期,並容許新申請案更快得到款項。
             EOLWDDUA也在申請緊急法,以准許受新型冠狀病毒影響者可以領取失業福利,如果他們工作場所關門,並在四週或更短的時間內會重新開張,下列的條件就適用:
            在關門期間,員工和雇主保持聯繫
            員工必須同意做雇主給他們的任何他們可以做的工作
            任何雇主可以要求把照顧福利展延至八週,工人們在前述的同樣條件下,可保持較長時間的資格。
            如果必要,DUA可能為雇主及工人展延這些期限。
            受新型冠狀病毒影響的雇主,在做季度申報,以及繳款上,可以要求60天的緩衝期。
            有關增撥失業福利經費,讓因為新型冠狀病毒而在支付失業福利上被控的雇主得到解脫等進一步的聯邦法案,還待定案。

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Emergency Actions to Address COVID-19
Governor announces emergency on three week school closures, prohibiting gatherings of 25 of more

BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a three-week suspension of school operations for educational purposes at all public and private elementary and secondary (K-12) schools in the Commonwealth beginning Tuesday, March 17, and a series of new guidance and legislation in response to COVID-19.

“Our administration is taking these rapid steps to protect the health and safety of our residents to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We know that a lot of the measures we are putting into place, including mandatory school closures and prohibiting gatherings of 25 people or more, will cause disruption in people’s day to day lives. With the steps we are taking today, we can ensure residents can still access key state services while taking necessary precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

“The legislation our administration is filing will help ease burdens on cities and towns regarding municipal governance as they work to keep their residents safe,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to working with the Legislature to swiftly enact these bills to help provide our cities and towns with relief.”

The bills and guidance that Governor Baker outlined today include the following:

Schools in the Commonwealth

Elementary and Secondary Schools: suspend educational operations from March 17 until April 6. Full order available here.

Given the evolving data regarding cases of COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of children and school staff, the Governor is ordering a 3-week suspension of school operations for educational purposes at all public and private elementary and secondary (K-12) schools in the Commonwealth (not including residential and day schools for special needs students), beginning Tuesday, March 17 and continuing until Monday, April 6. The suspension of educational programming would not necessarily affect the availability of school buildings for the provision of food or other essential non-educational services. As April 6 approaches, the administration will provide additional guidance.

During this period it is critical that students and their families, as well as school staff, stay home as much as possible. If an individual needs to leave home, it is essential to strictly follow social distancing guidelines by avoiding crowds, canceling social gatherings, and maintaining a safe separation of at least 6 feet from others. Restricting access to school buildings will have little impact on public health if these best practices are not followed in good faith.

Although schools must suspend in-person educational operations, staff should be planning for how best to equitably provide alternative access to student learning opportunities during this period and potentially beyond. Equally important, school personnel should develop plans for ensuring to the greatest extent possible that families have access to essential non-academic services for their children – especially involving special education and food services for students who are most vulnerable. 

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will work in partnership with schools and districts to develop strategies and resources to sustain learning and vital services throughout this closure period. Already, DESE has received a partial waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture providing greater flexibility regarding food service in certain districts with higher concentrations of low-income students and is actively pursuing additional waivers for the remaining schools and districts.

Early Education and Care:  follow EEC/DPH guidance regarding closure based on actual cases

The suspension of educational operations at K-12 schools will inevitably affect the provision of pre-school and childcare services. Although we are not ordering the closure of childcare programs at this time, we are strongly urging childcare providers to strictly observe guidelines that are being issued by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH), which call for temporary closures based on actual direct or indirect exposures to individuals with COVID-19. 

At the same time, EEC will prioritize the maintenance and expansion of childcare capacity serving front-line healthcare workers and first-responders across the state.

Higher Education: continue to move towards remote learning

With regard to higher education, the Department of Higher Education and DPH strongly recommend that colleges and universities, both public and private, continue to pursue strategies to reduce the need for students to be on campus, including suspending in-person classes and implementing institution-wide programs to shift to remote learning, technology enabled solutions, and other tools to allow students to successfully complete course and degree requirements. Institutions should also pursue strategies to reduce the need for faculty and staff to be on campus by maximizing remote work opportunities, while maintaining essential on-campus services, especially for residential students who cannot safely return home.  Additional guidance will be forthcoming.

Gatherings & Restaurants: Governor Baker issued an emergency order limiting gatherings to 25 individuals and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants, beginning on March 17 and effective until April 6. The full order is available here.

Executive Branch Employees: All non-emergency state employees working in Executive Branch agencies should not report to their workplace on Monday, March 16th and Tuesday, March 17th. Employees who are designated by their managers as emergency for the purposes of coronavirus planning should report to work as well. Those employees will be contacted by their managers this evening. During this period, the administration will work to expand alternative work arrangements for the executive branch workforce and further develop plans to continue to provide essential state government services.

Health Care: The Department of Public Health issued guidance today that includes the following:

  • All commercial insurers, self-insured plans, and the Group Insurance Commission are required to cover medically necessary telehealth services related to COVID-19 testing and treatment. The full order is available here.

  • Insurers must do this without requiring cost-sharing of any kind – such as co-pays and coinsurance – for testing and treatment.

  • Additionally, insurers cannot require prior authorization for these services.

  • All assisted living residences are to ban visitors to protect the health of residents and staff. This is in addition to the federal guidance issued on Friday that bans visitors to nursing homes and rest homes.

  • All hospitals operated by the Department of Public Health or the Department of Mental Health are to screen all visitors and restrict visitation if individuals show any indication of illness.

  • Hospitals must cancel non-essential elective procedures.

  • Authorizes licensed pharmacies to create and sell hand sanitizer over the counter.

Registry of Motor Vehicles: The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will extend the renewal timeline of certain credentials to reduce the need for customers to physically visit an RMV service center for in-person transactions. The full order is available here.

  • Effective this week, the RMV will implement a 60-day extension to the current expiration date for Class D, Class DMs, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits within the RMV system. All customers with expired/expiring credentials physically dated between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, will continue to have an active status within the RMV system until sixty (60) days after the expiration date printed on their credential.

  • This extension does not apply to vehicle registrations. Most vehicle registrations can be renewed online at Mass.Gov/RMV.

  • This deadline extension will not apply to customers with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) or those whose end of stay in the United States is the same as the expiration date on their driver’s license, ID card, or Learner’s Permit. 

  • Customers eligible for this extension should wait to visit an RMV Service Center or AAA office (if a member of AAA), to renew until after the State of Emergency has been terminated.

Unemployment Assistance: The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) and the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), in coordination with the US Department of Labor (USDOL), are taking a series of actions to assist workers and employers.

For current unemployment claims:

  • All requirements regarding attending seminars at the MassHire career centers have been suspended.

  • Missing deadlines due to effects of COVID-19 will be excused under DUA’s good cause provision.

  • All appeal hearings will be held by telephone only.

The Department of Labor issued guidance to the states instructing state agencies to apply existing law flexibly. Under the DOL guidance, DUA may now pay unemployment benefits if a worker is quarantined due to an order by a civil authority or medical professional or leaves employment due to reasonable risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member and does not intend to or is not allowed to return to work. The worker need not provide medical documentation and need only be available for work when and as able.

To assist individuals who cannot work due to the impact of COVID-19, the administration is filing emergency legislation that will allow new claims to be paid more quickly by waiving the one week waiting period for unemployment benefits.

EOLWD and DUA are also filing emergency regulations that will allow people impacted by COVID-19 to collect unemployment if their workplace is shut down and expects to reopen in four or fewer weeks. The following conditions apply:

  • Workers must remain in contact with their employer during the shutdown.

  • Workers must be available for any work their employer may have for them that they are able to do.

  • An employer may request to extend the period of the covered shut-down to eight weeks, and workers will remain eligible for the longer period under the same conditions described above.

  • If necessary, DUA may extend these time periods for workers and employers.

Employers who are impacted by COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day grace period to file quarterly reports and pay contributions.

The pending federal legislation proposes further relief including additional money for unemployment benefits, and relief to employers for charges related to unemployment benefits paid due to COVID-19.

Municipal Governance Legislation: Governor Baker announced a package of legislation to help address challenges to municipal governance resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, including potential delays in holding Town Meetings and adopting Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) municipal budgets. Provisions in the proposed legislation include:

  • Amend existing statute authorizing Moderators to postpone Town Meetings by thirty days. State statute currently permits postponement for “public safety emergency,” and the legislation would add “public health emergency” as a second reason for postponement.

  • Permit local Select Boards to postpone Town Meetings beyond the statutory June 30 deadline when the Governor has declared a state of emergency and conditions prevent the completion of a Town Meeting.

  • Permit local Select Boards to temporarily adopt lower quorum rules. This would be an opt-in provision to allow a town-by-town determination, and it would enable Select Boards to designate the quorum level. Numerous towns have existing low quorum provisions in their by-laws.

  • Permit continued month-to-month spending into FY21 by towns based on the prior fiscal year budget with approval of the Division of Local Services during states of emergency. The month-to-month authorization would continue so long as a state of emergency prevents the adoption of a budget. Cities have similar authority under existing state law.

  • Permit towns to access their free cash balance for FY21 spending with approval of the Division of Local Services. This would be based on the July 2019 certified balance and could continue until an FY21 budget is adopted.

  • Permit municipal spending from revolving funds at the level set by their Fiscal Year 2020 appropriation until an FY21 budget is adopted.

  • Authorize a three-year amortization period for deficit spending incurred as a result of COVID-19 crisis. The default rule would require an FY21 tax rate to provide for one-year amortization and this change would follow the 2015 precedent for snow removal costs.

Boston Marathon: Governor Baker also filed legislation designating September 14, 2020 as a legal holiday to support the rescheduled 2020 Boston Marathon. Earlier this week, Governor Baker joined Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and marathon officials to announce that the Boston Marathon was being rescheduled from April 20, 2020 to September.

The Administration will continue to update the public on further developments and individuals are encouraged to consult both the Department of Public Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites for the most up to date information.

The latest information and guidance regarding COVID-19 is always available at mass.gov/COVID19.

No comments:

Post a Comment