I want to thank you for everything you are doing to help Boston get through this public health crisis. This is not easy for any of us. But I’ve been inspired by the heroism of our front line workers and the resilience of everyday Bostonians who are stepping up in a thousand different ways to slow the virus and support each other.
Yesterday, one of our greatest sports legends let us know what your efforts mean to him.
Big Papi said it best: Boston is coming through in the clutch.
But we’re still in the early innings. So we all have to stay focused on doing the right thing: physical distancing, taking precautions to protect our seniors and vulnerable neighbors, and supporting our healthcare and frontline workers.
I’m going to keep sending you regular updates on what you can do to protect yourself and your family, and new steps the City is taking to keep everyone safe and supported through this crisis.
Here’s the latest:
As of Tuesday, April 7, the state had recorded 15,202 cases of coronavirus and 356 deaths. In the City of Boston, we’ve confirmed 2,287 cases, and 25 Boston residents have passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, all the time.
We are still near the beginning of a 2-3 week surge in cases that will be very difficult for us as a city. But I am confident we can rise to the occasion–if we all act responsibly and practice physical distancing as we should.
And I have significant progress to report on our efforts to prepare the city.
We are expanding capacity in our medical system at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center:
- The BCEC Medical Center will open this week, after an incredible, 4-day team effort between the City, the State, and the Convention Center Authority; construction companies, unions, and healthcare providers.
- It has 1,000 beds for COVID-19 patients, including 500 for homeless individuals and 500 for general hospital overflow. It has 6 acute care suites; a physical therapy suite; 52 nurses stations and 48 bathroom facilities.
- The Center is being operated in a collaboration between the City, State, Partners HealthCare, Boston Health Care for the Homeless, and others.
- We’re making an appeal for staff: Partners is seeking healthcare providers, including: registered nurses, advanced practice providers, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, and providers with experience in respiratory care. Providers who wish to work at the BCEC should go to partners.org/bostonhope.
We formed a Disease Containment Strike Team to protect our loved ones in nursing homes, assisted living, and other high-risk, group residences:
- The Team draws from the Boston Public Health Commission, Age Strong Commission, and Disabilities Commission, and it works closely with the State.
- If there are more than 2 cases identified at a facility, the Team will go in to slow the spread, mitigate the situation, and support staff in their response.
- The Team makes contact within 24 hours of learning of a positive case and works to implement strategies over the next 24 hours.
We added new transportation supports for healthcare workers:
- For the duration of the Emergency, if a healthcare worker gets a parking ticket, the City will waive the ticket upon appeal. All you have to do is send a copy of the ticket and your work ID to email@example.com. This policy applies retroactively.
- The only exceptions are safety violations—such as parking in front of a hydrant, or in a handicapped space without a placard.
- In addition, we’ve created maps on the City’s website to help hospital staff find municipal lots and garages with free, reduced, or reserved spaces.
We’ve delayed the due dates and waived the late fees for City taxes:
- I have ordered the City of Boston to extend the due date for property tax bills from May 1 until June 1 to give residents more flexibility.
- We are also waiving interest on late property tax and motor vehicle excise tax payments until June 30, if the bill was originally due after March 10, meaning any resident who is facing a late fine for not paying their excise bill on time will have a grace period with no late fees until June 30.
- The due date for filing residential and personal exemptions is extended from April 1 to June 1.
We issued new grants from the Boston Resiliency Fund:
- On Monday the Fund released $3 million to 29 organizations that provide essential services to front-line workers, health care providers, and families impacted by the public health emergency.
- To date the Fund has raised over $23.4 million from more than 3,000 donors. Grants issued total:
- $4.7 million to provide Boston’s children, families, and seniors with access to food and other basic needs.
- $3.7 million to expand the capacity of healthcare systems to serve the vulnerable and to provide childcare, food, and support for healthcare and front-line workers.
- $2 million for Chromebooks for our students.
- You can still donate or apply for funds at boston.gov/coronavirus
Unfortunately, we had to postpone the 50th anniversary of our annual Pride celebrations until June 2021:
- This was a joint decision between the City of Boston and Boston Pride. Health an safety is the priority.
- As soon as we are able, we will hold the biggest and best Pride celebrations this city has ever seen.
We are warning seniors and others about COVID-related scams:
- The Boston Police Department and FBI are warning community members to be on guard for scammers seeking personal information as a precondition for federal aid.
- To be clear, the U.S. Government is not sending emails or phone calls asking for personal information in exchange for federal aid.
- Look out for all the seniors in your life and let them know to be careful. You can call 3-1-1 if you’re concerned.
We are reminding everyone about the need for physical distancing:
- Distancing in the next two weeks is critical to flattening the curve and saving lives. Everyone who can do so should stay home and avoid contact with others. Stay at least 6 feet from other people at all times. And wash your hands and clean and sanitize surfaces frequently.
- New measures in effect Monday, April 6 through Monday, May 4:
- Everyone should wear a face covering when outside of their home.
- The Boston Public Health Commission issued an Advisory curfew recommending people stay inside between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- City Hall is only open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and you must call to make an appointment for services. Everyone entering the building will be subject to screening for COVID symptoms. City Hall will be closed this Friday, April 10, in observance of Good Friday.
- Sports facilities at all City parks, including basketball, tennis, and street hockey courts, are closed.
- You can find more information by visiting Boston.gov/coronavirus, by calling the City’s 24-hour hotline at 3-1-1, or by texting BOSCOVID to 9-9-4-1-1 to receive text alerts on a regular basis. These alerts are available in 6 languages.
I want to close with a word of gratitude.
I am grateful to all of our city’s healthcare workers, all of our city’s grocery, restaurant, and delivery workers, all of our custodians and maintenance workers, and all of our dedicated City employees for what you are doing every day to get us through this crisis.
I am grateful to all of the healthcare organizations, businesses, nonprofits, unions, and government partners who are stepping up to help in this moment of need.
And I am grateful for every single person who is staying safe, staying inside your home, boosting each other’s spirits, and staying Boston Strong.
As always, I will continue to keep you informed with regular updates.