Sheila Harrington: Massachusetts State Representative
First Middlesex District
Sheila Harrington: Massachusetts State Representative
First Middlesex District
First Middlesex District
First Middlesex District
New from the Governor-Restrictions being lifted!
Summary of Announcement – Thursday February 25, 2021
1. Effective March 1st, the Commonwealth will move back into Phase 3, Step 2. This will reopen:
a. Indoor performance venues such as concert halls, theaters, and other indoor performance spaces
i. Open at 50% capacity with 500 person max
b. Indoor recreational activities with greater potential for contact: laser tag, roller skating, trampolines, obstacle courses
i. Open at 50% capacity
2. Effective March 1st the following industries will increase to 50% capacity. Employees will be exempt from capacity restrictions in all these industries:
a. Arcades & Other Indoor and Outdoor Recreation Businesses
b. Close Contact Personal Services
c. Driving and Flight Schools
d. Fitness Centers and Health Clubs
e. Golf Facilities (indoor)
g. Operators of Lodging (common spaces)
h. Museums, Cultural & Historic Facilities, Guided Tours
i. Office Spaces
j. Places of Worship
k. Sectors not Otherwise Addressed
l. Theaters and Performance Venues
m. (Relevant EEA Industries – Youth sports spectators etc.)
n. The following industries remain unaffected by capacity limits:
i. Drive in movie theaters
3. Effective March 1st Restaurants will no longer be subject to a % seated capacity limit and their capacity is limited only by the requirement of 6 feet between tables
a. Musical performances allowed in restaurants (with appropriate distancing)
b. 90 minute time limit on tables stays in place
c. Limit of no more than 6 per table stays in place
d. Food courts remain closed
4. Effective March 1st: Additional Rule changes:
a. Fitting rooms may open in all retail businesses
5. Effective March 22nd, subject to public health data, the gatherings limit will increase for event venues and public settings, but will stay the same in private settings:
a. Event Venues and Public Settings:
i. 100 indoor
ii. 150 outdoor
b. Private Settings (such as private residences):
i. 10 indoors
ii. 25 outdoors
6. Effective March 22nd, subject to public health data, the Commonwealth will move into Phase 4, Step 1:
a. Indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks will reopen with a 12% capacity limit
i. A large venue is defined as a having a capacity of 5,000 or more
ii. Venues with capacity under 5,000 are subject to the Indoor and Outdoor Performance Venue guidance
iii. Large venues will be required to submit a safety plan to the Department of Public Health
b. Overnight Camps will be allowed to open for Summer 2021
c. Exhibition and Convention Halls may reopen, subject to gathering limits and event rules
d. Dance floors may open at weddings and events only
e. All other Phase 4 industries will not be able to open until a future reopening step. Those include:
i. Road races, street festivals, and parades, and fairs
ii. Amusement parks, theme parks, outdoor water parks
iii. Indoor water parks and indoor/outdoor ball pits
iv. Saunas, hot-tubs, steam rooms at fitness centers, health clubs, and other facilities
v. Beer gardens/ breweries/ wineries/ distilleries
vi. Bars, dance clubs, and nightclubs—venues offering entertainment, beverages, or dancing and not providing seated food service
The Department of Unemployment Assistance continues to provide additional programing added by the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 for claimants. Below is information that you may find useful:
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
Please visit our updated webpage at: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/update-dua-issues-information-on-the-continued-assistance-for-unemployed-workers-act
January 28, 2021
Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020 Program
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
Under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensations program, eligible claimants will receive 11 weeks of an additional $300 weekly benefits. A claimant must be eligible through a separate unemployment program to receive FPUC. FPUC will be available for the weeks of unemployment between the week ending January 2, 2021, and the week ending March 13, 2021. FPUC is not retroactive.
Timing & Implementation:
PUA claimants began receiving their FPUC payments on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. -On January 6, 2021, DUA implemented FPUC for UI claimants. The additional $300 was added to weekly benefit payments for the week ending January 2, 2021.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program provides an additional 11 weeks of benefits to claimants, to a maximum of 57 weeks. The additional 11 weeks are not retroactive. For most claimants, the PUA program will conclude the week ending March 13, 2021. However, PUA claimants who have not exhausted their 57 weeks of benefits by March 13, 2021, will be able to claim PUA through the week ending April 10, 2021. Payments for the extended PUA program after the week ending December 26, 2020, should have been paid beginning on Monday, January 11, 2020. Claimants will be required to continue to file weekly claim certifications as scheduled. Documentation: New claimants filing after January 31, 2021, will be required to provide documentation of employment, self-employment, or a qualifying job offer within 21 days of filing. Claimants with established claims receiving payments in 2021 will have 90 days from the date they are notified to provide such documentation.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
The PEUC program provides an additional 11 weeks of benefits, up to a maximum of 24 weeks. The additional 11 weeks are not retroactive. The PEUC program will conclude the week ending March 13, 2021. However, claimants who are receiving PEUC during the week ending March 13, 2021, and have not yet exhausted their 24 weeks will be able to claim PEUC through the week ending April 10, 2021.
High Unemployment Period Extended Benefits (HUP EB)
High Unemployment Period Extended Benefits will remain active due to continued federal funding until conditions for the 20-week entitlement "trigger off" or until the week ending March 13, 2021. Overview of UI Programs: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/update-dua-issues-information-onthe-continued-assistance-for-unemployed-workers-act#summary-of-programs
Sector Specific Relief Grant Program for MA Businesses
The administration recently announced a new small business grant program intended to provide relief to industries experiencing the most significant loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic such as restaurants, gyms, and entertainment establishments. Under the program, businesses may receive grants of up to $75,000 but not more than three months' operating expenses, to be used for payroll and employee benefit costs, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and interest on other debt obligations. The application for the grant program closed on January 15, 2021.
Application & Grant Program Details: https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/covid-19-response/sector-specific-relief-grant-program-massachusetts-businesses
Small Business Grant Program Details
Businesses that have already applied to the first small business relief grant program through MGCC do not need to reapply for the sector-specific grant program. Applications from the first round are being reviewed. Businesses that have already submitted complete and accurate applications to this first program and either (a) meet the demographic priorities from the first program or (b) meet the sector-specific priorities from the new program will receive funding. Businesses that have already applied to MGCC through the first program should have been notified of their award status by January 18th.
I know this rollout for persons 65 and over, plus people with 2 co-morbidities, has been disastrous and extremely frustrating. I contacted my liaison at Public Health and he said that he said that the release of a start time for booking appointments (8:00AM) led to everyone trying to get the vaccine at the same time and the system crashed. He said the system was set up to offer new appointments throughout the day. He urged me to advise my constituents to continue to try throughout the day and new appointments will continue to be added. I am Soooo sorry for this abysmal failure to effectively rollout this vaccination campaign. Please know that I continue to work with my colleagues to get a larger scale site set up at Devens.
On another note, there was an update in the State House News this morning regarding the stalled delivery of upcoming vaccines from Tennessee and Kentucky. See below:
Guv: National Guard May Need to Pick Up Doses
[Coverage Developing] With winter weather handcuffing other parts of the country and a snowstorm on its way to Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday morning he's considering sending the National Guard to Kentucky and Tennessee to pick up vaccine doses and bring them back to Massachusetts. Baker said he learned Wednesday night that there may be a "significant delay" in the next shipment of vaccine from the federal government as a result of the weather. "We may have some real issues with supply delivery this week. We were told it may be a few days late, but we were told last night we may see a significant delay in our next shipments," Baker said in remarks to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Baker said he might have more to announce later in the morning, but he said the state was waiting on approval from the federal government to send the National Guard to Kentucky and Tennessee, where the vaccine is being manufactured, to pick up the state's allocation and ensure it gets delivered. The governor did not address the crashing of the state's vaccine appointment website Thursday morning after he opened vaccination appointed to people 65 and older, or residents with two or more underlying health conditions putting them at a greater risk from COVID-19. - Matt Murphy/SHNS
Tomorrow people 65 and over, as well as people with 2 co-morbidities (including asthma) can make appointments for vaccination. This information just released today from the Governor:
Dear Friend –
I am writing to update you on our ongoing efforts to vaccinate the four million adults in Massachusetts. Over the past week, we have made some important progress in accelerating the delivery of doses to our residents over the age of 75 along with our healthcare workers, nursing home residents, first responders, and other critical populations.
And today, we announced those 65 and over, and those with 2+ certain medical conditions, including Asthma, can visit www.mass.gov/covidvaccine to start booking an appointment for a vaccine beginning tomorrow, February 18th.
While we have more work to do, here are the latest statistics on our efforts according to the Center for Disease Control:
MA is now #9 in the U.S. for 1st vaccination administered per capita.
MA is #1 for total shots administered per capita this week among the 24 states with 5M people or more.
MA is #4 for first doses and total doses administered per capita among the 24 states with 5M people or more.
MA is #3 for total shots administered per capita this week among all 51 states + the District of Columbia.
MA administered 285k total doses this past week.
We have administered more than 1 million doses.
While we can only move as fast as the federal government delivers the vaccines, rest assured we are doing everything we can to administer the doses as quickly and efficiently as possible. With today’s announcement, almost 1 million new individuals are now eligible to get the vaccine, but at the current supply rate, it could take more than a month for all eligible individuals to secure an appointment.
Currently, we have 165 public vaccination sites, including 4 mass vaccination sites, and all together, we have the capacity to administer 300,000 doses every week with more capacity to come.
We have continued to make improvements to the state’s website (https://vaxfinder.mass.gov) and have launched a toll-free call center (just dial 2-1-1) to make it easier for eligible residents to book an appointment to get vaccinated.
Thank you for your ongoing support and please know that we are doing everything we can to put this terrible pandemic behind us so that life can get back to some sense of normalcy.
As COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, I want to provide you with additional updates on the COVID-19 vaccination program that is being led by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Updated information is highlighted below. I hope this will help you in responding to questions and concerns from your constituents.Vaccine Distribution TimelineThe COVID-19 vaccine distribution timeline was developed with consultation from the Massachusetts Vaccine Advisory Group. The Group is composed of leaders from diverse settings, such as health care, the faith community, community organizations, and local government. With their input, the timeline prioritizes: protecting our most vulnerable, maintaining health care system capacity, and addressing inequities in health care access and COVID-19 burden.
For more details and updates on vaccination priorities, please visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/when-can-i-get-the-covid-19-vaccineWho can get the COVID-19 Vaccine? Everyone in Phase 1 and individuals age 75 or older can get the COVID-19 vaccine.
All groups in Phase 1 are eligible to be vaccinated, including:
As of February 1, 2021, individuals age 75 or older are eligible to be vaccinated.
Consistent with CDC guidance, individuals age 65 years or older have been moved into the second priority group, in addition to individuals with two comorbidities. These individuals will be eligible to get the vaccine later this month. The exact date will depend on the vaccine supply from the federal government and the uptake and demand for vaccine appointments.
Individuals in public and private low income and affordable senior housing are no longer listed as their own category, as all individuals over the age of 65 will be eligible to receive a vaccine by part 2 of Phase 2 regardless of where they live.
The order of Phase 2 is now:
Where can eligible individuals get vaccinated?
Eligible individuals can visit mass.gov/CovidVaccineMap to view vaccine locations, including mass vaccination sites, sign-up and eligibility information. Sites will continue to be added with appointments released on a rolling basis.There are currently 125 vaccination sites in Massachusetts. It is expected that this will ramp up to 165 sites by mid-February. There are currently 4 mass vaccination sites in Massachusetts: Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Fenway Park in Boston, Eastfield Mall in Springfield, and the DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers. The Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, which is currently serving residents of Boston, will transition to a mass vaccination site by the end of this month. The Wellness Center at Worcester State University is expected to open as a mass vaccination site on February 16, 2021. Vaccinations are also available at pharmacies, such as Walgreens and CVS Health. This week, eight new Walgreen sites opened up in some of the state's most impacted communities: 2 in Mattapan, 2 in Roxbury, 1 in Dorchester, 1 in Chelsea, 1 in Revere, and 1 in Everett. Next week, CVS Health will open an additional 30 sites across the Commonwealth's most impacted areas. Retail pharmacies, such as Stop and Shop, Wegmans, Big Y, and Price Chopper also provide vaccinations. Other vaccination sites include community health centers, hospitals, and community vaccination clinics operated by local health departments.
How can eligible individuals get the vaccine?
Due to extremely high demand for appointments and severely limited vaccine supply from the federal government, it may take several weeks to secure an available appointment. Residents are encouraged to keep checking the website as appointments are added on a rolling basis.
Each Thursday, new appointments will be available for mass vaccination sites.
Steps to book an appointment:
1. Visit www.mass.gov/CovidVaccine
2. Select a location on the map or using the zip code search function, schedule an appointment online.
3. Bring your ID and your insurance card to your appointment. (You are not required to have either of these.)
4. Fill out the self-attestation form, which will need to be presented at their appointment.
The Massachusetts Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line
Individuals age 75 or older who are unable to use or have difficulty accessing the internet may call 2-1-1 and follow the prompts to reach the Massachusetts Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line in order to schedule an appointment. The Line operates Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, and is available in English, Spanish, and about 100 other languages.
A representative will help them make an appointment through the state’s online system. These representatives will have the same access to appointments as on the public site. They do not have access to additional appointments. If no appointments are available, callers will have the option to be placed on a call back list for the mass vaccination sites. The caller will receive a call back when an appointment becomes available for them at a mass vaccination site, and the list will be called on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Line is currently only for individuals age 75 or older who cannot use or have difficulty accessing the internet and therefore are unable to schedule an appointment through the online platforms. The Line is only able to support individuals with scheduling an appointment and representatives are not able to answer general questions about COVID-19 or provide individual health care advice.
Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Report
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Report is updated each Thursday by 5 PM based on information available in the Massachusetts Immunization Information System. The report includes vaccine distribution numbers by county, as well as age and race/ethnicity breakdowns of those receiving vaccines. Information as of Thursday, February 4, 2021:
In the last 7 days CumulativeChange from previous 7 day periodTotal doses administered and reported149,030681,472---Pfizer doses shipped to MA29,250276,900-27%Moderna doses shipped to MA 83,300619,400-32%Total doses shipped112,550896,300-31%The Massachusetts Department of Public Health interactive digital dashboard has launched.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Data provided by the CDC is updated daily by 8 PM. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau also sourced. Information as of Thursday February 4, 2021:Percent of MA pop. with at least 1 dose 7.5%Percent of MA pop. with both doses1.9%
Frequently Asked Questions
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has a Frequently Asked Questions site that is continually updated as they receive new questions. Access the FAQs here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccine-frequently-asked-questionsConstituent questions can be submitted to COVID-19-Vaccine-Plan-MA@mass.govAs we receive more information in the weeks ahead, I will continue providing these updates to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.
Vaccination Site Update:
Along with some of my colleagues in the area, we are trying to bring a larger scale vaccination site to the Nashoba Valley and Northern Worcester County area. I had the opportunity to speak on the phone with the Governor and the Lt. Governor yesterday and they said they will work on getting better vaccine distribution access in this area. Today, along with some of my colleagues, we are reiterating our collective need to a local vaccination site.in a letter to the Governor and the Lt. Governor. I will keep you posted as new information becomes available.
Also, here is an update from the State House News Service today.
Baker Outlines Additional Vaccine Access Points, Appointments
[Coverage Developing] Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday that 120,000 new appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations will be made available for next week, including 55,000 at the state's four mass vaccination sites, as the state continued to scramble to improve the rollout of its vaccination program. Baker toured the Fenway Park site on Wednesday where CIC Health is helping to vaccinate 500 people a day this week, and will increase its capacity to 1,000 people a day next week and eventually 1,250 people a day. Baker said the state has made improvements to its vaccine website, adding an eligibility checker and the ability to search for sites by zip code, and will continue to work to make improvements. He also ticked through the various pharmacies, community health centers and retail store location where thousands of additional appointments are being added. "I'm not happy with where we are. I know a lot of other people aren't either. We have work to do and we know that," Baker said, addressing questions about continued frustration with the ability to get an appointment and the struggles in reaching communities of color. "One of the best things a good manager does is recognizes and understands that they have a problem and then busts their butt to figure out how to fix it," Baker said. The White House announced Tuesday for the second week in a row that it would increase the vaccine allocation for states, this time to 10,500 for the next three weeks. Baker, however, said the state is still counting on receiving about 100,000 new doses for next week, which is up from the 80,000 the state received weekly before Biden took office. The Biden administration will also begin on Feb. 11 to distribute a limited supply of vaccine to select retail pharmacy chains as part of the first phase of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Baker said this, along with doses being reallocated from long-term care facilities serviced by CVS and Walgreens, will allow about 30 additional pharmacy sites to open next week with 21,000 appointments. - Matt Murphy/SHNS
I want to make everyone aware that I am working on trying to get a local/regional vaccination to serve the Nashoba Valley residents and the North Worcester residents who are unable to get appointments for their Covid-19 vaccines. I am hopeful that we will be able to get a regional option that does not require constituents, especially our seniors, to travel a great distance to obtain vaccinations. I am also aware that the Leominster Hospital site is not accepting appointments right now and this is posing tremendous frustration. I will update you as soon as I have additional information!
.For those of you looking to get tested in the next phase please read this information as to how to get your vaccine. I have been advised that they will be starting to take appointments for those people 75 and over as early as tomorrow morning.
The website to find a location to sign up is linked here. https://www.mass.gov/.../covid-19-vaccine-locations-for... If you click on a location on the map, there are links to book appointments. Regarding signing up for one of the state run sites, folks should go to http://maimmunizations.org/ to sign up. Regarding the attestation form, please see the current form linked here https://www.mass.gov/.../covid-19-massachusetts.../download and found on this website. This form, which will be updated for Phase II, essentially says they are being vaccinated under their own free will and also has them acknowledge under penalties of perjury that the information they provide is to the best of their knowledge.
I will update you as more information becomes available
I hope this is helpful!
Each and every resident I meet and speak with deserves to have both input and a state representative who they can connect with.
I believe that now, more than ever, Massachusetts needs leaders with vision and integrity, who are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work on the many challenges that face us today.
Families and residents in the six towns I serve make the difference and inspire me to strive for positive change and make impactful decisions that benefit our towns.
My friend and colleague Charlie Baker talks about my energy, enthusiasm and ability to get things done on Beacon Hill. I have the legal, leadership and professional experience to execute on my commitment to serve my district.
In this episode of Sheila Speaks we discuss Police Reform and my position on the matter.
A quick "Thank You" to my campaign team for supporting my three recent stand-outs! Your support is so much appreciated. And, to the kind and enthusiastic drivers, thank you so much for the great reception. I look forward to continuing to serve the residents of The First Middlesex District.
Since my election in 2010, I have happily and proudly served the people of the Massachusetts First Middlesex House District. Through collaboration and bipartisan effort in the State House, I have and will continue to implement change on behalf of the people in my district. I have a very active presence in both my town, Groton, and the other five surrounding towns I proudly represent.
The most important element of the six towns I serve are the people. My support comes form each and every one of my supporters from Ashby to Ayer. The initiatives I bring to the State House come from the voices I hear in each of the towns I am active in. From military veterans to environmental activists, individuals fuel my work. The name representative Sheila Harrington represents you.
I was raised in Danvers, Massachusetts. After graduating with a BA in social work from Providence College, I received my law degree from the New England School of Law and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1986.
In 1991, my family and I moved to Groton, Massachusetts. I am active in both my law practice and community. My husband Steve and I are the proud parents of Timothy, Lee, and Delia.
Your support and contributions will enable our campaign to meet your goals and improve conditions for the community. Your generous donation will fund our mission for improving the community.
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