April COVID-19 Rundown: Budding Vaccinations Loosen Regulations
With the weather warming up, businesses are more eager now than ever to draw in their seasonal crowds to make up for losses during the pandemic. With vaccinations rolling out at an incredible rate, it may not be much longer until the local economy can breathe a sigh of relief. However, despite the vaccinations, a relaxing of the state’s regulations, and the recent round of small business grants, a new variant of COVID has been making waves in the Bay State. Let’s take a deeper dive into the current impact of vaccinations, the loosening regulations, and the impact of this new COVID variant.
Vaccine Timeline Announced for All Massachusetts Residents
Governor Baker announced the eligibility dates for all remaining Massachusetts residents and certain worker groups on March 17th. The eligibility groups adhere to the original vaccination plan, but with the rollout proceeding at a faster pace than originally estimated, the dates have been revised. As of March 22nd, residents 60 years old and up along with workers in certain industries were approved for the vaccines, and as of April 5th, residents 55 and up along with people with at least one comorbidity were approved. On April 19th, all residents over 16 years old will be eligible for the vaccine.
$14 Million in Grants Awarded to Additional Businesses
Independent retailers and restaurants are vital to communities across the Commonwealth, and in recognition of this, the administration awarded another $14 million in grants to 295 additional businesses. Through the Sector-Specific Relief Grant Program, Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) continues to award aid to businesses who submit applications that meet the program’s requirements. MGCC also announced the availability of funding to aid nonprofits that provide technical and recovery assistance to small businesses affected by COVID-19.
New COVID Variant Sprouts in Massachusetts, Generating Concern
The Department of Public Health discovered the first Massachusetts case of the P.1 COVID-19 variant in mid-March, which originated in Brazil. This has resulted in Cape Cod experiencing a third surge and several communities re-entering high-risk territory. This coincides with the increasing number of positive test rates the state has been experiencing from mid-March into April. As a business owner, it’s not unimaginable that some communities may roll back the phased reopening until more vaccines are distributed. Otherwise, you should still be enforcing strict COVID protocols for your business.
Massachusetts Elementary School Resume In-Person Learning
On Monday, April 5th, around 90% of districts’ elementary schools transitioned to full in-person learning. This is keeping in line with their timeline of school openings, which also include:
- Middle School (6th to 8th Grade): Wednesday, April 28th
- High School: To be announced later this month
Districts with larger populations – such as Boston, Worcester, and Springfield – have been granted a waiver to postpone in-person learning until May 3rd. While COVID is purported to not severely affect elementary-aged students and most education staff as been vaccinated, this very well could lead to an increase of positive cases. It’s better to err on the side of caution and maintain your business’s safety precautions.
Despite the state’s successful vaccination rollout and the loosening of COVID regulations, the pandemic is still affecting many businesses. It’s important to not become complacent with the slow transition into society’s new normal and continue to take the virus very seriously. However, it’s also crucial not to let up on your marketing, as people need to know your business is still available to them. At Vision Advertising, we’ve supported our clients throughout the pandemic by managing their social media with timely, relevant posts and guiding them. If you need help with your marketing, contact us today.