Commissioner of the Department of Public Health Monica Bharel and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders provide an update on the state’s preparedness planning regarding the coronavirus at the State House on March 2, 2020. [Joshua Qualls/Governor’s Press Office]

Governments, agencies and communities around the globe are responding to the coronavirus pandemic. We gathered the information here to help municipal leaders respond and continue their critical operations.

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Extension of School and Non-Emergency Child Care Program Closures and Steps to Ensure Housing Stability To Support COVID-19 Response
March 25

Administration issues further guidance on construction during closure of non-essential businesses
March 25

$2 Trillion Senate Deal Includes Stimulus Fund for State and Local Governments
March 25

Local officials talk to state leaders about COVID-related operational challenges
March 24

Massachusetts Launches COVID-19 Text Message Notification System; Text “COVIDMA” to 888-777
March 24

Gov. Orders All Non-Essential Businesses to Cease In-Person Operation, Directs DPH to Issue Stay-at-Home Advisory for 2 Weeks
March 23

Baker-Polito Administration Activates Massachusetts National Guard to Support COVID-19 Response
March 19

Gov. and top state officials discuss operational challenges with mayors
March 18

U.S. Census Bureau makes adjustments due to COVID-19
March 18

Congress passes the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
March 18

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Changes to Expedite Health Care Licensing, and Increase Support for Local Boards of Health and Small Businesses
March 17

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Emergency Actions to Address COVID-19
March 15

Gov. signs order suspending parts of open meeting law to enable local decision-making during COVID-19 emergency
March 13

Message to members: MMA staff is now working remotely
March 13

Meetings and Elections

List of delayed/rescheduled Town Meetings and Elections (updated March 27)
– Massachusetts Municipal Association

Guidance on Suspension of Certain Provisions of Open Meeting Law
– Courtesy KP Law

COVID-19 Elections Updates
– Secretary of the Commonwealth

Process for delaying town meeting during an emergency (updated March 2020)
– Courtesy KP Law

Recommendations for Election Polling Locations
– U.S. CDC

Sample Remote Meeting Script
– Courtesy of Town of Arlington

Sample Remote Participation checklist for COVID-19 emergency
– Courtesy of Town of Arlington

Municipal Finance

COVID-19 Resources and Guidance for Municipal Officials
– Division of Local Services

Emergency Expenditures and Borrowing Bulletin
– Division of Local Services

Emergency Declarations and Aid

Sample Municipal Declaration of Emergency
– Courtesy KP Law

Guidance for federal emergency assistance through FEMA
– National League of Cities

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Eligible Emergency Protective Measures Fact Sheet

Guidance on Local Shelter in Place Orders
– Mass. Attorney General’s Office

First Responders

Guidance regarding sharing information about quarantined individuals with first responders
– Massachusetts Association of Health Boards

Guidance on HIPAA privacy rights during coronavirus pandemic
– U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Business and Construction

Essential Services during COVID-19 pandemic
– Office of Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito

COVID-19 Essential Services FAQs
– Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

Essential Services Guidance Regarding Construction
– Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

Human Resources

Federal law extends paid leave and sick time benefits
– By Lisa Adams, Senior Legislative Analyst, MMA

Families First Coronavirus Response Act FAQs
– U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division

FAQs regarding employee rights and employer obligations regarding COVID-19
– Mass. Attorney General’s Office

COVID-19 and the Workplace
– U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division

Quick Steps to Prepare a Remote Work Policy for Your Local Government
– International City/County Management Association

Telework cybersecurity advice for cities and towns
– By Stephanie Helm, Director, MassCyberCenter

Supporting employees through COVID crisis: tips for local government managers
– By Steven Bernstein, EAP Account Manager, AllOneHealth EAP

Employee Guidelines for Telecommuting During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Emergency
– Courtesy Town of Norwell

Planning and Local Response

MEMA responds to questions raised during March 24 COVID-19 briefing for municipal CEOs
– Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

Administration responds to questions raised during March 24 COVID-19 briefing for municipal CEOs
– Office of Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito

Local Emergency Management Planning Guidance
– Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

COVID-19 Guidance and Recommendations for audiences including schools, employers and EMS and 911 Public Safety Answering Points
– Mass. DPH, including information from the U.S. CDC

Coronavirus resources for local government managers
– International City/County Management Association

Managing Through the Coronavirus: What Local Leaders Need to Know
– National League of Cities

COVID-19 Information and Resources
– Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Cities and towns across Massachusetts have been responding aggressively and swiftly to inform the public about the implications of the coronavirus situation in their community and to share the status of local preparedness.

The following are some of the measures being implemented locally:

• Establish an online portal for up-to-the-minute information for residents and businesses, including links to key outside resources.
These website resources are updated frequently, and indicate the date and time of the most recent update. Many communities have established an easy-to-remember web address for these information centers (such as, and feature a prominent link on their homepage.
Here are a couple examples of local sites:
City of Somerville Novel Coronavirus Preparedness and Information
Town of Lexington Current Information on COVID-19
Town of Andover Information on Coronavirus
Town of Natick Information on Coronavirus
Town of Danvers Information on Coronavirus

• Encourage residents to like and follow municipal social media channels for breaking news updates.
• Encourage residents to sign up for municipal alerts, such as reverse 911, Code Red, or other local systems.
• Use a form to gather and update resident email addresses.
• Send daily (or regularly scheduled) emails to update residents and businesses on the local response.
• Create a volunteer signup form for individuals seeking to lend a hand to others. (Volunteers who register are contacted once assignments are identified.)
• Have the public works department post signs at heavily travelled intersections with easily identifiable online resources.
• Encourage the use of a local 311 service for non-emergency services and questions, and promote the Commonwealth’s 211 number for non-emergency questions about coronavirus issues
• Create “grab-and-go” meal pickup centers or meal delivery services for students and families who qualify for free lunches and breakfasts.
• Declare a state of emergency at the local level.

This is a rapidly evolving situation, and this information will change as new updates become available from the DPH and the U.S. CDC.

Have a question about coronavirus as it relates to municipal operations, or a suggestion for this page? Send it to us.

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