Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces Federal Disaster Request and Other COVID-19 Response Efforts

For immediate release:
3/26/2020
  • Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
  • Governor's Press Office
  • Department of Public Health
  • Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Federal Disaster Request and Other COVID-19 Response Efforts

Sarah Finlaw, Press Secretary, Governor's Office

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Federal Disaster Request and Other COVID-19 Response Efforts

BOSTONThe Baker-Polito Administration today announced a new request to the federal government for a Major Disaster Declaration, in addition to other actions to sustain the Commonwealth’s response to COVID-19.

Major Disaster Declaration Request: Governor Baker today submitted a request to the federal government for a Major Disaster Declaration for Massachusetts. If approved, this declaration would provide the Commonwealth additional federal assistance beyond what was included in the Emergency Declaration declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020. The disaster declaration request includes a request for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program, which would make financial assistance available to cities and towns, state agencies, and certain non-profits statewide. The disaster declaration request also requests FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program including Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Crisis Counseling Assistance to help support residents in need during this unprecedented incident. 

Read the Letter.

New Public Health Orders: The Department of Public health has issued three emergency orders to support the health care system’s response to COVID-19:

  • Pharmacy Practice: To ensure pharmacists are able to fully support the health care system’s response to COVID-19, this emergency order makes several changes regarding pharmacy practice, including expedited approval for pharmacists licensed in other states to practice in Massachusetts, and allowing the remote processing of prescriptions by pharmacy technicians. Read the Order
  • Determination of NeedThis emergency order exempts health care facilities from the requirement that they submit a Notice of Determination of Need for certain activities that will support their response to COVID-19. Read the Order |Read the Guidance
  • Nurse Staffing: To ensure hospitals have the flexibility they need to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, this emergency order exempts hospitals from certain nurse-staffing requirements, while requiring that they must ensure that staffing levels remain adequate to meet patients’ needs, and staff is trained and competent to meet the needs of their patients. Read the Order

Permit Order: Governor Baker today is issuing an emergency order that provides that a permit will not expire or lapse during the state of emergency for most permits issued by agencies within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. The order also pauses deadlines for these agencies to decide or hold hearings on permit applications. The clock on those deadlines will resume 45 days after the end of the emergency. It also ensures that no permit is automatically issued because an agency is unable to make a decision on a permit application during the emergency.

Ensuring Access to Personal Care Attendant Services: The Administration worked with the advocacy community and union partners to implement solutions to ensure access to Personal Care Attendant (PCA) services for individuals with disabilities and older adults during this public health emergency. MassHealth created a hotline through MassOptions for MassHealth members to call if they are in need of services, and updated its policies to streamline the hiring process and allow more flexibility for PCAs to work more hours.

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Federal Disaster Request and Other COVID-19 Response Efforts

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito 

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, and members of their administration are committed to making Massachusetts the best place to live, work, and raise a family.

Governor's Press Office 

Visit the Governor’s Press Office to learn about recent news from the administration, follow our happenings on social media, and for media contact information.

Department of Public Health 

DPH promotes the health and well-being of all residents by ensuring access to high-quality public health and healthcare services, and by focusing on prevention, wellness, and health equity in all people.

Executive Office of Health and Human Services 

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services is the largest secretariat in state government and is comprised of 12 agencies, in addition to 2 soldiers’ homes and the MassHealth program. Our efforts are focused on the health, resilience, and independence of the one in four residents of the Commonwealth we serve. Our public health programs touch every community in the Commonwealth.

Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development 

The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development promotes vibrant communities, growing businesses, and a strong middle class.

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

EEA seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. Through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources, and enhancement of clean energy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs works tirelessly to make Massachusetts a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency 

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency ensures the state is prepared to withstand, respond to and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters.
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