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波士頓市議員Michael Flaherty - COVID-19疫情整理報告



Friends,

This weekend, Mayor Walsh announced a series of new measures intended to reinforce the City’s current efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. These measures include:
  • Advising all Boston residents to wear a face covering (mask, bandana, scarf, or other type of cloth) whenever they leave their home. For guidance on how to make your own at home, click here.
  • Closing the sports facilities at all City parks to limit the number of ongoing gatherings
  • Further limiting the hours that public buildings are open, including City Hall
  • Instituting a Public Health Advisory encouraging people to stay home between 9 PM and 6 AM nightly
You can read thoroughly about these changes here. Although we are facing more and more changes to our daily lives in the face of this pandemic, it is absolutely paramount that all Bostonians do their part to be informed, be mindful of others, and understand the importance of staying home whenever possible. We will get through this together.

Our work on the Boston City Council continues through these trying times, and we welcome public engagement throughout the process. Today at noon we have an important Council hearing regarding additional liquor licenses in the City of Boston. The public can submit testimony both in written form and through live video. For both methods, you should email christine.odonnell@boston.gov for instructions. We also have our regular weekly Council meeting on Wednesday at noon. This week’s Council meeting is especially important as the City’s budget is being released. The release of the budget is just the first step in a long, public process, but it is an important one nonetheless. Both the hearing and the Council meeting will be streamed online and on Comcast Channel 8, RCN Channel 82 and Verizon Channel 1964.

Please see below for my weekly update on Boston resources and guidance related to COVID-19, or coronavirus. If you have any questions, please call my office at 617-635-4205, or send me an email at Michael.Flaherty@boston.gov


People who have questions and concerns about COVID-19 regarding possible exposure, symptoms or getting tested, should immediately call their primary care providers. If you do not have a primary care provider, I encourage you to call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050 or the MA Department of Public Health at 211. You can also use Buoy Health’s 24/7, free new online resource for residents to check their symptoms and connect with the next appropriate health care resource. This tool does not replace emergency care, but is an additional support for residents during this outbreak. Visit buoy.com/mass to learn more and use the tool. 

As always, if you are having a medical emergency, please call 911. If you would like to learn about COVID-19 updates in the City of Boston you can visit boston.gov/coronavirus or text BOSCOVID to 99411. 




Effective on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, there will be a temporary adjustment of the hours that City Hall is open to the public during this public health emergency. City Hall will be open to members of the public who have confirmed appointments with specific departments on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will be closed to the public on the other days of the week. Public access to 1010 Mass Ave will be limited to the Boston Public Health Commission on the 2nd Floor and residents must be accompanied when entering the building. 

Most City services are available online and we will continue to encourage all residents to take advantage of our online services. Online services include ordering a birth, death or marriage certificate; paying a parking ticket or property taxes; or applying for a parking permit. Members of the public should only visit municipal buildings if they need immediate services that cannot be provided online or over the phone, and they have contacted the relevant department to secure an appointment. If you need information on how to access a specific City Department, you can access that information online. 

The Zoning Board of Appeals April Hearings have been cancelled and rescheduled for a later date.

Licensing Board hearings have been canceled until further notice. 

Construction Guidance: Mayor Walsh is extending the City of Boston's order to pause non-essential construction for City of Boston permitted sites. Read the temporary guidance for construction. 

The Boston Transportation Department has announced the following parking enforcement changes. Please note that, with the exception of those changes noted below, BTD will continue to enforce parking violations, with a focus on public safety violations, such as blocking a hydrant, sidewalk or handicap ramp.
  • Resident Parking: Residents with a valid resident permit sticker will be allowed to park in a metered or two-hour parking space, without having to adhere to the time limit or pay a meter fee, within their specific neighborhood.
  • Street Cleaning: BTD has not been ticketing and towing for street cleaning, given challenges to finding alternative places to park in neighborhoods.
  • Inspection Stickers and Registration: BTD will not ticket for expired inspection stickers or registrations, given potential challenges for people to renew inspections and registrations at this time.
  • Parking Garages: To support the medical community, BTD has identified facilities offering free, reduced rate or reserved parking for medical professionals.
  • BlueBikes: The City of Boston and its municipal partners of Brookline, Cambridge, Everett, and Somerville are offering all hospital staff a free 30-day pass for our public bike share, Bluebikes.



Small Business Relief Fund
Mayor Walsh announced the creation of the Small Business Relief Fund to assist Boston’s small businesses most directly impacted by closures, policies or general loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund is designed to quickly disburse grants to local businesses through a streamlined process that does not require businesses to assume additional debt. The Fund is now open for applications.

Rental Relief Fund
The City is dedicating $3 million in city funds to assist Bostonians who are at risk of losing their rental housing due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will help income-eligible tenants in the City of Boston achieve housing stability by providing direct financial relief to assist with rental payments. Specifically, these funds are for income-eligible tenants who do not have access to expanded unemployment benefits and/or as a result of the nature of their jobs, unemployment benefits represent a significant reduction in their actual income. Applications to the Rental Relief Fund will be available beginning today, Monday, April 6th.

Artists Relief Fund
The Boston Artist Relief Fund (formerly operating as the Opportunity Fund) will grant awards of $500 and $1,000 to individual artists who live in Boston whose creative practices and incomes are adversely impacted by COVID-19. All artists that live in Boston are eligible, however, lower income artists and artists that have not been funded through City-led grants during this fiscal year (July 1, 2019-present) will have priority. For more information, click here.




In addition to the Rental Relief Program, the City of Boston has taken additional actions to protect our most vulnerable residents from losing their homes, including:
  • The Boston Housing Authority stopped pursuing all non-essential evictions;
  • The Boston Housing Authority and the Boston Public Schools (BPS) are creating a new partnership to house up to 1,000 families with BPS students at risk of displacement and experiencing homelessness over the next year;
  • Formed a partnership with the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations to urge a citywide moratorium on eviction proceedings;
  • Asked the Boston Housing Court to stay all non-emergency eviction proceedings, which the Supreme Judicial Court has instituted throughout the statewide housing court system until April 21, while housing court itself is closed for non-emergency cases until May 4 which effectively inhibits evictions until that point;
  • Supporting legislation that provides residential and commercial tenants and homeowners with protections against evictions and foreclosures during and for a period of time after the State of Emergency is lifted. 




In addition to the Small Business Relief Fund, the following additional resources are available:
  • The Office of Economic Development has also created a Financial Relief Handbook for additional resources and programs.
  • If you need help applying for a Small Business Association’s Disaster Relief Loan and upcoming stimulus program, please reach out to the Office of Economic Development or fill out this form.
  • City of Boston’s Office of Economic Development has created a guide to allow essential businesses that are remaining open to share that information with their customers and city residents. The guide can be found here.
  • This office has also created a similar guide for restaurants that are remaining open to share their hours, take out instructions, gift card information, and other useful information. The restaurant guide can be found here.
  • Finally, Mayor Walsh and the city’s Licensing Board have lifted restrictions to allow takeout and delivery at all restaurants, and state government has now allowed for restaurants already licensed to sell alcohol to include sealed containers of that alcohol in their delivery orders.
  • Looking to get connected? Join the next Small Business Conference Call on April 7th at 3pm. Can’t make this one? Don’t worry, the Small Business Office hosts weekly conference calls on Tuesdays at 3pm. To be added to the email distribution list, email smallbiz@gmail.com. 




Last week, the federal government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. At this time a number of the finer details of the bill and its implementation are still being hammered out between the federal, state, and local levels of government. However, at this time we can share with you a few top-line details:
  • Individuals earning less than $75,000 per year will be receiving checks of $1,200
  • $260 Billion has been set aside to boost unemployment programs
  • A new $350 Billion small business loan program has been created that has provisions which would allow portions of the loan to be forgiven
You can expect more information on the mechanics of how these programs can be accessed, as well as information on additional programs created through the bill, as the information becomes available to us.




We know this pandemic has and will continue to have far reaching impacts on many industries, such as our bar and restaurant industry, our small businesses, and the construction industry, to name a few. We encourage employees in affected industries to learn about the resources available to them by the Department of Unemployment Assistance website. 




If you or a loved one are experiencing food insecurity during this time, there are resources available for you. You can email the Mayor’s Office of Food Access at food@boston.gov, or call them at 617-635-3717. You can also visit their website, boston.gov/food, for interactive maps of meal sites for school-aged children, along with general food resource maps for every neighborhood in Boston.

If you are a Boston resident aged 55 or older and experiencing food insecurity, please reach out directly to the Age Strong Commission at 617-635-4366 or agestrong@boston.gov. The Age Strong Commission is at the forefront of connecting food and senior services. Ethos is an additional option for assistance. They provide a variety of services, including home delivered meals and “grab and go” meals. You can visit their website by clicking here or by calling them at 617-447-6606.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides eligible individuals and families money to buy food at grocery stores, convenience stores and certain farmers markets. If you or your family needs assistance enrolling in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or you are looking for food pantries and community meal programs, you can call the Project Bread Hotline: 1-800-645-8333. They have counselors that can assist callers in 160 languages and there is a dedicated line to assist hearing-impaired at TTY: 1-800-377-1292. More information can be found hereThe Greater Boston Food Pantry also has 150 food pantries and meal sites open in Boston. Visit gbfb.org to find a meal site or food pantry near you.






Residents can also call 311, the MA Department of Public Health at 211 or subscribe to text alerts at a state level by texting COVIDMA to 888-777. 

If you have any further questions, concerns or are in need of other City services for our office, please do not hesitate to reach out to our City Council office at 617-635-4205. 

Be safe and please remember to take care of yourselves and one another during this time. Thank you.

All the Best, 
Michael
 
Paid for by The Flaherty Committee
The Flaherty Committee
PO Box 122
Boston MA 02127 United States

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