March, 18th 6:10pm Update

On Wednesday, March 18th, Mayor Walsh announced a city-wide effort to distribute important information related to the coronavirus. Information will be delivered to residents and it will be in multiple languages. If you are healthy and would like to volunteer to help deliver information to neighbors, you may sign up at bit.ly/helplitdrop 

The City of Boston has launched a new, free texting service to provide daily updates and information about the coronavirus. Stay in the know and text BOSCOVID to 99411 to opt-in.

On Tuesday, March 16th, Mayor Walsh addressed the residents of Boston about what our City has done to be prepared for Coronavirus; how we’ll continue to work together to keep the people of Boston healthy and safe; and what this crisis demands of each and every one of us, individually and together, as we move forward. See the Mayor's full address here.

As of Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the City of Boston has 49 positive cases of coronavirus (confirmed and presumptive) in Boston residents. These numbers are expected to go up as the State increases testing capacity.

The Boston Public Health Commission will be providing the updated total of cases in Boston residents as it is received from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Information can be found at boston.gov/coronavirus or bphc.org

On Wednesday, March 18th, Governor Baker announced new measures relating to childcare centers, small business tax relief and unemployment insurance legislation. Updates from the Governor’s Office can be found at mass.gov/covid19

Massachusetts has 256 positive cases of coronavirus (confirmed and presumptive).  
 
BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
The City of Boston, in partnership with Project Bread, YMCA of Greater Boston, Boston Centers for Youth and Families, and other community organizations, will provide free meals to all youth and teens at various locations and times across the City. Learn more about meal distribution locations here

Meal Distribution sites near the South End, Bay Village and Lower Roxbury include the following:

YMCA at Wang — 8 Oak St 8am-12pm
BCYF Quincy Community Center — 885 Washington St 9am-2pm
Blackstone Elementary School — 380 Shawmut Ave 8:30am-11:30am
Vibrant Boston Community Center at Lenox/Camden —136 Lenox St  8am-12pm
YMCA at Huntington Ave — 316 Huntington Ave 8am-12pm

As part of our efforts to continue serving our students, Boston Public Schools are providing Chromebooks to students who do not have consistent access to a computer at home. Parents will receive an appointment time to pick up their student's device to avoid creating crowds.

STREET SWEEPING:
Street sweeping is still on and we encourage residents to move their cars to allow for Public Works to properly clean our streets. However, we understand that given the current situation with COVID-19 in Boston that moving your car may be difficult at this time. As a result, we are suspending ticketing and towing for the time being.

Please be aware that the suspension of ticketing and towing only applies to street sweeping. The Boston Transportation Dept. will still be enforcing other street regulations.

Trash and recycling pick up is on a regular schedule

ZONING BOARD OF APPEAL HEARINGS:
The March 19th, 2020 and March 24th, 2020 Zoning Board of Appeal Hearings have both been cancelled. The March 19th hearing has been deferred to May 14th at 5pm at 1010 Massachusetts Ave, 5th floor, Boston, MA, 02118. The March 24th hearing has been deferred to May 19th, 2020 at 9:30am at Boston City Hall, Room 801.

No determination has been made at this time with respect to April hearing dates for the Zoning Board of Appeal.

When the Board of Appeal resumes hearings, members of the community are strongly encouraged to submit letters in support or opposition to an appeal in lieu of appearing in person. This will help promote social distancing.

LICENSED PREMISES:
The following restrictions from the City of Boston’s Licensing Board went into effect on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020.
  • No restaurant (with or without an alcoholic beverages license), bar, club, private club, social club, or entertainment venue may at any time allow more than twenty five (25) individuals in the licensed premise including staff.
  • No establishment may serve food or alcoholic beverages for on premise consumption. This effectively means a complete prohibition on the service of alcohol with the exception of retail package stores.
  • Establishments may only serve patrons food via take-out and delivery. 
  • Any restriction or regulation prohibiting take-out is temporarily lifted.
  • Establishments must remove or rope off all seating in the licensed premise. 
  • Establishments must abide by the CDC's social distancing policies. 
  • Establishments offering take-out and delivery may stay open to the closing hour currently listed on their license.
  • Massachusetts General Law does not allow for a Section 12 Licensee to sell alcoholic beverages to go. Any change would require emergency legislation at the state level. The Board has consulted with the ABCC and there is no plan to adopt such legislation.
Please note, City of Boston Licensing Board Hearings have been indefinitely canceled going forward.

CITY OF BOSTON SHELTERS AND HOMELESS SERVICES:
The City of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission are working on a comprehensive plan for people experiencing homelessness. This plan is in the final stages and we are taking the necessary action now on certain parts of the plan. There are no plans to close our shelters.



BPHC and the Department of Neighborhood Development are working with our partners at Boston Health Care for the Homeless, Pine Street Inn, Boston Medical Center, St. Francis House and other agencies to ensure that we can continue to operate our emergency shelter system safely and care for those needing observation, quarantine or more serious levels of care and any additional supports needed. 


There will be both testing/screening facilities and isolation facilities at 3 locations:

  • Boston Health Care for the Homeless (in front of Woods Mullen) 
  • Next to the 112 Southampton Shelter 
  • Pine Street Inn 
Screening will ramp up this week and take place at multiple sites. If an individual is showing signs of COVID-19 will be tested for the virus. As Covid-19 testing becomes more available, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program is developing guest screening protocols consistent with CDC and Public Health guidance to mitigate person-to-person transmission. Providers are working with Boston Health Care for the Homeless to implement screening at shelter and day programs. Shelter guests will be referred for observation and support in locations identified by health care providers while awaiting test results and/or needing isolation while ill with COVID-19. 


Individuals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are instructed to self-isolate for 14 days or longer in order to ensure that they have not contracted COVID-19 and do not pass it along to others. People experiencing homelessness do not have the same options when asked to stay home. The City has identified sites to ensure a person experiencing homelessness has a place to go, if that individual needs to be isolated or quarantined. We currently have one location that is operational (17 beds). By the end of the week, we will have another site that will be operational (38 beds). We are closely monitoring this situation and will ramp up additional space as needed. 


HELP FLATTEN THE CURVE:

To protect Bostonians and their families from the spread of the virus, residents are reminded to practice caution: wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol; avoid shaking hands; cover your coughs and sneezes; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you think you might be sick, please call your doctor or 311 to be connected to the Mayor's Health Line. Residents are also reminded to practice social distancing: keep your distance from others (6 feet apart); avoid crowded places. 

While City Hall is still open and running, we discourage anyone from coming in unless they have an urgent need for services that cannot be done by phone or online. If you have questions, call the City's hotline at 311 to get connected to a department.

Residents are asked not to call 911 unless you are experiencing a medical emergency. All COVID-19 questions should be directed to Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050 or 311. The City and BPHC will continue to provide updated information on bphc.org and boston.gov/coronavirus
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