April 9, 2020 – COVID-19 Update, Information on Parking Permits, New State Grocery Store Guidelines, and More
Below is a message from the Somerville, MA Community Alert System. Sign up to receive these updates by email, text, or phone.
Dear Community Members,
Here is a COVID-19 update for Thursday, April 9.
Please also be sure to check somervillema.gov/coronavirus for additional information and resources that are updated frequently.
- Case Counts: As of 9:30 a.m. today, April 9, a total of 188 Somerville residents have tested positive for COVID-19, 63 of them have since recovered, and there has been one death.
- Renewing Parking Permits: The City is not requiring residents to apply and pay for new parking permits at this time. Your current permit - even if it is expired - remains valid, and you will not receive a ticket for an expired permit. However, if you are able to afford a parking permit and can apply and pay for it online, please do so. This will help to keep the Parking Department from being overwhelmed when City buildings reopen and will help fund essential services provided by the City to residents and businesses.
- New State Guidelines for Grocery Stores: City staff are working with grocery stores to implement new entry limits set by the MA Dept. of Public Health. The total number of patrons allowed in stores at one time may not exceed 40% of their usual capacity.
- Property Tax Extension: We want to clarify information that previously went out about paying taxes and other bills: To help alleviate financial pressure during the COVID-19 crisis, property tax bills that are normally due May 1 are now due June 1, and no late fees or interest will be charged to tax bills paid by June 29 . In addition, interest and penalties on water and excise bills that were due on March 10, or later will be waived if the bill is paid by June 29. However, because taxes and water and sewer fees fund essential services, residents and homeowners who are able to pay on time are encouraged to do so. For more information about property taxes and this extension, visit the City’s Assessing website.
- New Nursing Home Family Resource Line: The State has launched a hotline for family members of nursing home and rest home residents seeking information or resources. The Nursing Home Family Resource Line can be reached at 617-660-5399 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. Staff will field questions on a range of topics and coordinate across state agencies to help provide answers.
Today’s Assistance Tip: Free Business Coaching
The City’s Economic Development Division launched a free one-on-one coaching service for businesses affected by COVID-19. Businesses can get help with things like loan applications, financial planning, restaurant operations, website design, e-commerce, and more. Businesses can fill out this online application to get started. And don’t forget to check somervillema.gov/covidbizhelp for updates on supports and resources for businesses.
Today’s Public Health Tip: Wear a Mask When Outside Your Home
The CDC now recommends that everyone wear a face mask or covering when they leave their homes to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but it’s important to keep in mind that wearing a face covering is not a substitute for social distancing. Guidance on face coverings has changed as scientists have learned more about the disease and how some people who get it do not show symptoms. The general public does not need to wear medical-grade masks and the CDC has some suggestions for possible face coverings on its website as well as instructions for cleaning face coverings and removing them safely. The Surgeon General also made a video showing how you can quickly make a face covering from household objects.
To be most effective a face covering should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Include multiple layers of fabric
- Allow for breathing without restriction
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to its shape