COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Thirteenth Installment
While the reopening phase remains unchanged, the Baker-Polito administration continues to provide updates and changes, including tackling school reopenings and providing relief to combat food insecurity in the Commonwealth. As such, we find it important that everyone is aware of the weekly changes and how they can potentially affect local businesses. Read further to discover the latest news about Massachusetts’ continuing response to COVID-19.
Notable Updates Regarding Reopening Schools
As the school year approaches, school districts have introduced their reopening plans, as discussed in our previous installment. In order to support schools during the pandemic, the Baker–Polito Administration has provided strategies and plans of action for schools:
- Mobile Testing: School officials can request a state-sponsored mobile testing unit to test a group of students and staff if COVID-19 has been identified and transmission potentially occurred within the school.
- Close Contact Quarantine: If a student has come into close contact with a person positive for COVID-19, that student must be tested and quarantine for 14 days before returning to school, regardless of test results.
- Mask Requirements: Students in second grade and above, visitors, and school staff must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times. If a student doesn’t have access to a mask, the school must provide them with one.
A full list of guidelines and protocols for the school year can found at the Massachusetts Department of Education’s dedicated COVID-19 page.
$3.3 Million to Address Food Insecurity for Massachusetts Residents
This funding was awarded as part of the new $36 million Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program. The purpose of this grant is to help residents and businesses who have been most notably impacted by the pandemic. The funds will be spent connecting local food producers with distributors to provide fresh food options to underserved communities. Farmers, fishermen, and other producers will be able to rely on a stronger food system free of the disruptions caused by the pandemic.
Response to COVID-19 Discovered in The Workplace
Does your business have a plan if a confirmed COVID-19 case occurs on-site? Below is the required response in Massachusetts, a good place to start:
- Contacting Your Local Board of Health: If a positive case is reported in your establishment, reach out to your town’s Board of Health to receive immediate guidance.
- Testing Your Staff: Everyone on your team should be tested for COVID-19 before returning to work.
- Cleaning and Disinfecting: Once a positive case is uncovered, you must close your business down for at least 24 hours and must clean and disinfect the establishment according to CDC guidelines.
For guidance specific to restaurants, given the higher risk of transmission, refer to the MA Safety Standards for restaurants.
Massachusetts’ continuing response to COVID-19 can be difficult to keep track of, but it’s crucial you remain informed for the health of your business, team, and patrons. Given the state has continued to experience a rising number of cases compared to those of late spring and early summers, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for a rollback of the phased reopening. Recognizing this fact, Vision Advertising is dedicated to ensuring our clients receive the best advice with the state’s regulations in mind. If you’d like assistance pivoting your strategies or preparing for success during COVID-19, contact us today.