Update from Secretary Kennealy’s Office

Staff Contribution


May 12, 2020


New Guidance for Fulfillment of Remote Orders By Retail Businesses


Earlier this week, the Administration provided new guidance for retail businesses. Under this guidance, non-essential businesses are allowed to bring in a small number of employees in order to remotely fulfill online or phone orders, provided they can meet safety protocols.


Read the full guidance in the  COVID-19 Essential Services FAQs.



Department of Unemployment Assistance Resource


DUA has recently released FAQs to guide employers and employees in returning to work:


Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Returning to Work: Guide for Employers 


Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Returning to Work: Guide for Workers.


These FAQs provide responses to some of the questions that employers and employees may have when looking ahead to reopening.



U.S. Department of Commerce EDA Funding: Economic Adjustment Assistance Program


The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration announced  the availability of $1.5B in funding through an Economic Adjustment Assistance program.


This funding will support communities in economic recovery through planning and technical assistance grants, grants for recovery and resilience strategies, capitalizing or recapitalizing revolving loan funds, and innovation grants.


Non-profits working in partnership with local government, cities and towns, regional planning agencies, and others can apply for this support.


Read more about this funding on the  EDA’s website ; eligible applicants may apply  here.

New Grant for Small Business

Staff Contribution


May 4, 2020


If you own a small business in Massachusetts, you can benefit from this opportunity.


New Bedford businesses this means you!


The Empowerment Grant for Small Businesses serves as a funding opportunity to support the needs of Massachusetts small businesses amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the spring of 2020. Grants will be focused on small business owners serving Massachusetts Gateway Cities.


Applicants can request up to $2,500 for needs related to continuing operation during and/or after the COVID-19 outbreak. Applications will be open until May 29th so don’t hesitate to apply!


Eligible applicants must be:

  • In operation for at least one year
  • Registered in a Gateway City
  • Considered a “small business”


Should you have any questions, please email us at  Empowerment@tre.state.ma.us .


Your Friends at the Office of Economic Empowerment



Baker-Polito Administration Extends Non-Essential Business Closures to May 18th, Announces Reopening Advisory Board


Sarah Finlan

Press Secretary

Governor’s Office




BOSTON — Today, the Baker-Polito Administration extended the essential services emergency order to May 18th and launched a Reopening Advisory Board that will produce a plan to the Governor by May 18th. The Administration also announced that the Department of Public Health’s Stay At Home Advisory remains in effect and gatherings of 10 or more people remain prohibited until May 18th.



Essential Services Order: Governor Charlie Baker’s emergency order requiring that all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public will be extended until May 18th. Businesses and organizations not on the list of essential services are encouraged to continue operations through remote means that do not require workers, customers, or the public to enter or appear at the brick-and-mortar premises closed by the order. This order also extends the existing ban on gatherings of more than 10 people until May 18th.



Stay at Home Advisory: Governor Charlie Baker announced that the Department of Public Health’s stay-at-home advisory will remain in effect. Residents are strongly urged to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary person to person contact during this time period. Residents who are considered at high risk when exposed to COVID-19 should limit social interactions with other people as much as possible.



Executive Branch Employee Guidance: The Baker-Polito Administration today also extended the guidance issued to Executive Branch employees on protocol during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure state government can continue to provide key services while protecting the health and safety of the public and the Executive Branch workforce. Under the guidance, all employees performing non-core functions who are able to work remotely should continue to do so until May 18th.



Reopening Advisory Board: Today, Governor Baker announced the formation of the Reopening Advisory Board, which will be Co-Chaired by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. The Board brings public health officials together with leaders from the business community and municipal government from across the Commonwealth. This group is charged with advising the administration on strategies to reopen the economy in phases based on health and safety metrics. It will meet with key stakeholders and solicit input from a variety of constituencies over the next three weeks to develop a report by May 18th that will include DPH approved workplace safety standards, industry frameworks and customer protocols and guidelines, including enforcement mechanisms and coordination with municipal leaders. This report is due on the 18th, but the administration has made clear that public health data and guidance from health care experts will dictate the timeline of the re-opening process.



The 17-member Advisory Board is composed of three public health officials, including Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel, three municipal officials, and eleven leaders from the business community, including MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. Members of the Advisory Board bring a range of perspectives to the table, such as an understanding of workplaces and workforces and insights into key areas like financial markets, education, manufacturing and transportation.



Reopening Advisory Board Members:



Aron Ain, CEO, Kronos Inc & Ultimate Software

Carlo Zaffanella, Vice President and General Manager, Maritime & Strategic Systems, General Dynamics Mission Systems

Corey Thomas, CEO, Rapid 7

Daniel Rivera, Mayor, City of Lawrence

Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, Massachusetts General Hospital

Girish Navani, CEO and Co-Founder, eClinicalWorks

Joe Bahena, Senior Vice President, Joseph Abboud Manufacturing

Kathryn Burton, Chief of Staff, City of Boston

Laurie Leshin, Ph.D., President, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Linda Markham, President, Cape Air

Mark Keroack, President & CEO, Baystate Health

Monica Bharel, Ph.D., Commissioner, Department of Public Health

Nicole LaChapelle, Mayor, City of Easthampton

Pamela Everhart, Head of Regional Public Affairs and Community Relations, Fidelity Investments

Stephanie Pollack, Transportation Secretary and CEO

Steve DiFillippo, CEO, Davios Restaurants

Wendy Hudson, Owner, Nantucket Book Partners


Original press here.


For Immediate Release: April 17, 2020

For more information contact: Penny Pimentel, ppimentel@zeiterion.org

High resolution images of The Zeiterion available: http://zeiterion.org/press/








(New Bedford, MA) In response to the disruption caused by COVID-19 outbreak, The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, and its resident companies The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and The New Bedford Festival Theater, have extended the postponement of all programming through August 2.




As a result of the closure, the Zeiterion furloughed 70% of staff. Beginning with the first performance cancellation in mid-March, 30 show-related employees were immediately without work. Three weeks later, a combination of 15 full-time and part-time positions were furloughed.




Michael Tavares, President of the Zeiterion Board of Trustees stated, “We made the difficult decision to furlough most of our staff temporarily, in order to protect the financial stability of our organization. The Board is committed to preserving The Z as the heart of our community well into the future and is taking the necessary short-term measures to ensure the best outcome.”




The closure also affects over 700 performing artists. This includes all artists, musicians and dancers employed by the The Zeiterion, the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and the New Bedford Festival Theatre.




On March 12, The Zeiterion was among the first cultural organizations in New Bedford to cancel a major event in response to the virus. Following the initial cancellation, performances were postponed through April 30. That postponement date has now been extended through early August and affects over 50 performances, 10 school student shows, and the annual two-day New Bedford Folk Festival.




In total, the three non-profits estimate over 31,000 people would have attended performances at the Zeiterion during the closure between mid-March and early August, and that translates into a $2.3 million dollar economic loss for the region. Annually, The Zeiterion, New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and New Bedford Festival Theatre attract 100,000 visitors to downtown New Bedford which represents a $7.6 million dollar impact on the regional economy.




Zeiterion’s Executive Director Rosemary Gill added, “We are acutely aware of our influence on the local economy and we are all doing everything we can to ensure the strongest possible reopening.”




The COVID-19 closure has a deep financial impact on the all three organizations. Like many non-profits presenting entertainment, a majority of their annual budgets are derived from earned revenue through ticket sales. The Zeiterion alone will endure a $1.4 million dollar loss of income.




“Many supporters are asking how they help during this time. Charitable donations or memberships would immediately benefit any of the three non-profits that share the Zeiterion’s stage” says Rosemary Gill, the Zeiterion’s Executive Director.  She added, “I’m so grateful to The Z’s board for their courage to make difficult decisions to protect our future, to our patrons for their patience and understanding, and to our donors and funders for their generosity.”




The Zeiterion, NBSO and NBFT are currently planning for days when safety allows people to gather again. New Bedford Festival Theatre has postponed its 2020 production of Annie and is working to secure the rights in order to bring Annie back in the summer of 2021. Many of the Zeiterion and some of the New Bedford Symphony shows have been rescheduled, and new performances will soon be announced. During the closure, The Z is offering pay-what-you-choose virtual classes like salsa dance and ukulele lessons, and both the NBSO and The Z are presenting virtual concerts on their social media channels.




For continued updates, please visit the web sites for all three organizations: www.zeiterion.orgwww.nbsymphony.org, and www.nbfestivaltheatre.org.


Important Update! SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program




Staff Contribution



The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program has begun funding advances up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) on applications that were submitted at the end of March/early April. Please note, this is NOT the Payroll Protection Program.




There is a 2-3 week delay in processing, and businesses may not receive notification by phone or email that an advance has been approved.




Please check your business bank account to see if the advance has been deposited without notification!




Businesses can also call the SBA Office of Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center number (800) 659-2955 or email: disastercustomerservice@sba.gov  for a status of applications.




We will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.


Breaking News! Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program




Sarah Finley
Press Secretary
Governor’s Office



The Baker-Polito Administration announced yesterday that Massachusetts residents who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits can now apply online for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.



The new federal PUA program 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.



This includes self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig economy workers such as artists, and those with limited work history.



Applicants can learn more and apply at  www.mass.gov/pua.


Read full press release here.



Baker Announces Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program


Posted 04.20.20

Anthony W. Richards, II
Deputy Chief of Staff, Access & Opportunity
Office of Governor Charlie Baker
Massachusetts Statehouse
Office: 857-400-5215
Cell: 617-910-8875


The Baker-Polito Administration announced today that Massachusetts residents who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits can now apply online for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.


The new federal PUA program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits who are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. This includes self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and those with limited work history. Applicants can learn more and apply at www.mass.gov/pua.


“As a Commonwealth, we are committed to doing everything in our power, and moving as urgently as possible to get workers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis the benefits they deserve,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With the implementation of this new federal benefit program, we can better support workers not normally covered by the unemployment system like those who are self-employed or work in the gig economy.”


“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of workers across the Commonwealth, and our Administration is doing everything we can to help,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program in Massachusetts is another important step in our efforts to help those who are economically disrupted by this virus.”


To be eligible for this new program, individuals must provide self-certification that they are otherwise able and available to work but are prevented from doing so by circumstances relating to COVID-19, including their own illness or that of a family member.


Those able to telework with pay and individuals receiving paid sick or other leave will not qualify for PUA. Individuals receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits for less than their customary work week, however, may still be eligible for PUA. Also, those working fewer hours, resulting in a loss of income due to COVID-19, who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits may be eligible for PUA.


“It is vital that our workforce gets the resources and help they need during this critical time,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta. “I’m proud of everything our team is doing to rapidly implement new programs, and ensure that as many eligible workers as possible get some relief.”


The federal CARES Act signed into law on March 27 created PUA, as well as another temporary federal program called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) that provides an additional $600 weekly benefit for those receiving unemployment benefits or PUA. FPUC provides that additional benefit through July 25, 2020. The Commonwealth announced implementation of FPUC earlier this month.


All approved PUA applications will initially receive the minimum weekly benefit amount, plus the additional $600 FPUC weekly benefit. Once a worker’s wages are verified, weekly benefit amounts may increase. The amount of PUA benefits received is based on the individual’s reported previous income. PUA benefits may not be more than the state’s maximum weekly benefit rate for regular unemployment, which is $823 in Massachusetts.


Weekly benefits, including any increase to your weekly benefit amount, will be retroactive to January 27, 2020, or the date when you became unemployed, whichever is more recent, as long as you became unable to work because of a COVID-19 related reason.


PUA Application Process:


To apply, individuals must provide their Social Security number or US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) number if not a citizen of the United States, and their wage records for 2019, which includes 1099 forms, pay stubs, or bank statements. Applicants will also need the Social Security numbers and dates of birth for dependent children and, if requesting direct deposit for payment, your bank account and routing numbers. A full list of required documents is available at www.mass.gov/pua.


Please note that, initially, the system can only pay benefits retroactively to the week ending March 14, 2020. Eligible workers will be able to certify for benefits, and will be able to request benefits retroactively to January 27, 2020, if their dates of unemployment make them eligible.


Individuals who are determined ineligible for PUA will receive a written disqualification along with information on how to pursue an appeal. Additional information about the appeals process will be separately posted at a later date. Please visit www.mass.gov/dua for the latest information.

Link to Governor’s Press page here.

LISC Launches Recovery Grants Program for Massachusetts Small Businesses with Funding from Citizens Bank

Posted on 04.14.2020


Karen E. Kelleher, Executive Director
LISC Boston | Local Initiatives Support Corporation
75 Kneeland Street, Suite 1102
Boston, MA 02111
T 617.410.4333
E kkelleher@lisc.org


Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Boston today announced the launch of the LISC Small Business Recovery Grant Program for Massachusetts, which will provide grants to hard-hit small businesses to weather the immediate financial impact of closures and social distancing measures required to slow the spread of the coronavirus.


LISC will offer grants of up to $10,000 to address immediate financial peril, limit layoffs, avoid gaps in employee benefits or insurance, mitigate economic instability and increase the likelihood of business survival. Launched with seed funding provided by Citizens Bank, the Small Business Recovery Grant Program is part of the LISC Rapid Relief & Resiliency Fund for Massachusetts. In addition to grants, the Fund also aims to provide much-needed technical assistance and longer-term funding to help vulnerable businesses and community-serving nonprofits weather the effects of the pandemic.


Small businesses employ nearly half the private workforce in Massachusetts and can be a path to economic stability for minority- and immigrant families. Many have come to a grinding halt, with little or no revenue and many bills still piling up. The CARES Act will help many, but some smaller and more vulnerable businesses will not be able to access federal programs, or will be unable to qualify for or support repayment of loans. Grants and technical assistance are critical to the survival of these businesses.


“The LISC Recovery Grant Program offers business leaders an opportunity to support the immediate needs of small businesses and helps set the stage for a sustainable and equitable recovery. We encourage business leaders throughout the state to join us in this effort to provide much needed resources to strengthen the foundation of our economy,” said Jerry Sargent, President of Citizens Bank, Massachusetts.


“Business stepping up to help business reflects the Commonwealth’s commitment to the resiliency of all of our communities and presents an opportunity to prioritize equity in our response to this crisis. We are grateful to Citizens for its leadership and partnership,” said LISC Boston Executive Director Karen Kelleher. “The need is compelling and the time is now. These businesses may not survive if we wait to see where need remains after federal aid flows.”


Applications will be accepted online from Monday, April 20 to Friday, April 24 through LISC Boston’s website, and will be supported in English, Spanish and other languages. To focus the grants where they will have the greatest impact, LISC is inviting business support organizations, small business accelerators, and community networks across the state to encourage the at-risk small businesses in their communities to apply.


Funding priority will be given to vulnerable businesses, including minority- and women-owned businesses and small businesses that are the lifeblood of low-income communities throughout the Commonwealth.

Businesses interested in applying can sign up to receive email updates regarding the program.


Click here for more on the program.


Read the full press release here.


Governor Baker announces Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund

Anthony W. Richards, II
Deputy Chief of Staff, Access & Opportunity
Office of Governor Charlie Baker
Access and Opportunity is an executive office created to increase diversity and inclusion within state government.
Massachusetts Statehouse
Office: 857-400-5215
Cell: 617-910-8875



The Governor and First Lady Lauren Baker announced today the launch of the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund, which will help support essential frontline workers and vulnerable populations across the state, including Massachusetts residents and immigrants facing homelessness, food insecurity, and loss of critical services as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis. The Fund was conceptualized by the One8 Foundation, who helped establish the fund and provided a lead donation of $1.8 million. The MA COVID-19 Relief Fund is administered by Eastern Bank. The Foundation for Business Equity (FBE) and The Boston Foundation are acting as fiscal sponsors for the Fund. Elissa Flynn-Poppey of Mintz Levin provided invaluable advice and counsel.


Donations can be made online by visiting MACovid19ReliefFund.org.


“I am so grateful to Lauren for her leadership on this important effort, and to the One8 Foundation team, Eastern Bank, FBE, and The Boston Foundation for their hard work and dedication in getting the fund off the ground,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The compassion and generosity of the people of Massachusetts continues to inspire and amaze me, and I have no doubt that our state will continue to step up and give back to Massachusetts communities so that we can come through this crisis stronger and more united than ever before.”


One8, the family foundation of residents Joanna and Jonathon Jacobson, have been joined by other Massachusetts philanthropists providing lead gifts including the Klarman Family Foundation, Joshua and Anita Bekenstein Charitable Fund, Charlesbank Capital Partners/Barbara and Michael Eisenson, the Fireman Family Foundation and an anonymous donor. Additional founding donors include: the Edgerley Family Foundation, Liz and Phill Gross, Mannion Family Foundation, Dupre-Nunnelly Charitable Gift Fund, the Baupost Group, Rob and Karen Hale, TJX, Mickey and Bob Atchinson, the Abrams Family Foundation, Michael and Jill Stansky Family Foundation, the Frieze Family Foundation, William Helman, MFN Partners, Lynch Family Foundation, Stephanie and Brian Spector, Ernie Boch Jr., Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, Maurice and Luly Samuels, and Chris and Lisa Collins.


Together, these generous donors will kickstart the fund with over $13 million.


Donations raised through the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund will be distributed in partnership with the state’s community foundations that cover counties statewide and other critical non-profits, ensuring that Massachusetts communities can benefit from access to this much-needed pool of resources.


“These are unprecedented and uncertain times, and the people of Massachusetts are struggling. The Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund will help us connect those who are most acutely impacted by COVID-19 with the resources and services they need to get through this difficult time and stay safe, healthy, and supported,” said Lauren Baker, First Lady of the Commonwealth of the Massachusetts. “I encourage all individuals, businesses, foundations – everyone who cares about our state – to consider contributing to this Fund. Every bit helps, and every donation will be used to help our communities.”


Jonathan Raymond will serve as the Fund’s Executive Director, supporting fundraising and the effective distribution of funds across the state. Raymond is the Executive Director of the National Association of School Superintendents, and was formerly the President of the Stuart Foundation, a K-12 education foundation in California.


“COVID-19 is impacting our state in countless ways, from housing and food insecurity to job losses and an incredible strain on essential workers and the health care system. The need is felt in every corner of our state and across every community” said Joanna Jacobson, Trustee of the One8 Foundation. “Our message to the people, non-profits, and communities of our state is this: We know you are hurting, and we are here for you. Our team is proud to support this effort, and we will continue to do everything we can to reach out and help our neighbors who need it most to get back on their feet.”


Eastern Bank is a founding donor to this initiative and is providing their services to the Fund at no cost.


“This pandemic is affecting every person, organization, and community and the Fund understands that supporting each other is the best way to get through this together,” said Bob Rivers, Chair and CEO of Eastern Bank. “We believe in doing what we can to help all communities across Massachusetts and to provide a safe and reliable way for donations to be made to this Fund.”


The Boston Foundation is hosting this statewide donor advised Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund to accept donations from foundations and donor advised funds.


“These unprecedented times call for unprecedented efforts on the state and local levels. While we have increased our active support for non-profits in Greater Boston, we are also proud to stand with donors recognizing the needs across our great commonwealth,” said Paul Grogan of The Boston Foundation.


To learn more about the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund and to make a donation, please visit MACovid19ReliefFund.org.


About One8 Foundation


The One8 Foundation propels and supports outstanding leaders with compelling ideas that deliver scaled, sustainable social impact. One8’s areas of strategic giving are enabling educational excellence in a rapidly changing world by focusing on applied learning and STEM, strengthening preparedness and access to 21st century careers, providing vital local support to those in need and supporting vibrant Jewish communities in the US and Israel. To learn more, visit www.one8.org.