October COVID-19 Rundown: The Latest in Local Developments
It’s been one heck of a year, but at least it’s not one we’ve had to endure alone. As the old saying goes, misery loves company, and the COVID-19 crisis has made sure to be as inclusive as possible. Pained laughter aside, Vision Advertising has been providing business and marketing strategies to all our clients to help them stay resilient and find new ways to connect with consumers. After all, we all must play to our strengths in a communal effort to protect one another. To assist, we’re here to help businesses by taking a look at the latest COVID news and advice on how to adapt to it.
Massachusetts Loosens the Leash on Lower Risk Communities
Businesses have been treading water since Massachusetts’ halted its phased reopening on July 6th, but fortunately for communities with lower positive testing rates, the reopening process has been marginally resuscitated with the latest COVID news. As of Monday, October 5th, communities deemed low risk can proceed with Step 2 of Phase 3, which includes such updates as:
- Both indoor and outdoor performance venues are permitted to open with 50% capacity, topping off at 250 people.
- Indoor and outdoor recreational businesses, such as trampoline parks, obstacle courses, arcades, and laser tag can reopen with a capacity of up to 50%.
- Museums, libraries, gyms, and driving schools can increase their capacity to 50%.
- Retail stores can reopen fitting rooms.
In addition to losing the constraints on these industries, the gathering order has also been relaxed, allowing 100 people to gather at event venues. However, 25 remains the maximum for indoor gatherings and 50 for outdoor. You can find out more about the state’s revisions by reading COVID-19 Order No. 51.
Local Businesses Able to Breathe a Sigh of Tax Relief
Not even during a global pandemic will you catch the IRS sleeping, but the Department of Revenue is throwing us a bone with the latest extension of the administrative tax relief for local businesses. In an effort to bring much-needed relief to the hospitality and restaurant sectors, small businesses can defer regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes due between March 2020 and April 2021 until May 2021. Businesses collecting less than $150,000 in regular sales, meals, or room occupancy taxes in that period will qualify for relief, and during this extension, no penalties or interest will be accrued.
Massachusetts Rolls Back Travel Leniency on Five States
Despite having lifted the traveling restrictions on some states a little over a month ago, Massachusetts has removed five states from the list of lower-risk states: Colorado, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Washington. Travelers from these states are now required to abide by the restrictions set in July, which includes filling out a Massachusetts Travel Form. While Massachusetts typically isn’t known for tourism outside of summer, this change could disrupt any business trips taking place outside the five approved states: Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.
Rising Cases in Boston Lead to Revised School Reopenings
Despite the efforts of businesses to curb the spread, positive test rates in Boston are on the rise. As a result, Mayor Walsh has delayed and revised the pre-established plans for in-person learning for Boston schools:
- Preschool and Kindergarten: Delayed from October 15th to October 22nd.
- Grades 4 to 8: Transition to hybrid instead of full in-person learning on November 5th.
- Grades 9 to 12: Transition to hybrid instead of full in-person learning on November 16th.
According to NBC Boston, there have yet to be discussions about scrapping in-person learning, but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility given the state’s continuing increase in cases. For now, prepare to provide your team members with school-aged children the resources and support they need to keep sane.
Is the start of the cool weather this October sending chills up your spine more so than any Halloween movie marathon? You’re far from alone. Vision Advertising and other New England businesses and organizations are here to support you. At Vision Advertising, we’ve been facing COVID-19 head-on – in a business sense, that is. We’ve been helping our clients stay up to date on the latest COVID news, develop pivot plans, effectively utilize their social media in a volatile climate, and establish and execute foolproof marketing strategies. If you would like to discuss how we can help you, contact us today.