City of Revere Hits Halfway Vaccination Milestone for Let’s Do This
To celebrate and inspire the rising vaccination numbers, Mayor Brian Arrigo is planning a month of festivities this summer for fully vaccinated residents. This program, aptly named “Revere’s Rockin’ Rebound,” will launch the first week of June.
On April 21, the City of Revere announced the “Let’s Do This, Revere” campaign to reach a goal of 70 percent of residents vaccinated by July 4, a key milestone toward reaching responsible immunity levels to reopen at full capacity. As of today, May 7, 36% of Revere residents are fully vaccinated, marking more than halfway to the July 70% goal. 52% of Revere residents have received their first dose. The City has now launched its www.revere.org/vaccine page, where residents can stay up-to-date with vaccination data, mobile vaccination clinics, and resources.
“All year, our residents have remained committed to staying home and practicing social distancing. Now that the vaccine is here, we can finally celebrate, start reopening our businesses and begin planning more special events and family gatherings,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo. “It’s time to bring the life and people back to our business, our beaches, and our city.”
The City is currently working with the Revere Parks and Recreation Department to plan several events, including food truck get-togethers, health and wellness classes, beer gardens, and more. The City is also collaborating with Revere small businesses to host vaccination events, with hopes of giving small businesses more exposure in the community. Residents can stay up to date with this program by subscribing for COVID-19 updates on www.revere.org/coronavirus.
RMV Cautions Customers to be Aware of Text Phishing Scam
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is cautioning customers to be aware of a text phishing scam that has been reported here in the Commonwealth and in other states. The scam reportedly involves customers receiving text messages, claiming to be from the “DMV,” that direct them to click on a provided link to update their personal identifying contact information. Customers can identify this type of text as a phishing scam because it includes “DMV” and in Massachusetts DMV is not the name of the Registry of Motor Vehicles; in Massachusetts, the name of the Registry is abbreviated as “RMV.” Any text using the phrase “Department of Motor Vehicles” or “DMV” should be deleted.
Please note that the RMV does not send unsolicited requests for personal and/or contact information to customers by text. Any communication by text from the RMV would be as a result of a customer-initiated request or transaction.
MassDOT Announces 2021 Transportation Innovation Conference
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing that the Transportation Innovation Conference is scheduled to be held virtually on Tuesday, May 25; Wednesday, May 26; and Thursday, May 27.
The purpose of the conference is to showcase the latest technologies and equipment and to convene transportation officials, advocates, members of the private sector, and municipal officials to discuss trends in the industry, government-involved programs and initiatives.
The conference will feature keynote addresses by Jamey Tesler, Acting Secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Dr. Shawn Wilson, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, and Gregory Slater, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation.
“MassDOT is pleased to host this annual conference in order to showcase and share transportation innovations throughout the Commonwealth and across the nation,” said Acting Secretary Tesler. “The virtual format allows us to safely hold the event while we are still in the pandemic and will give us the opportunity to make the workshops more accessible to everyone in the state and will allow us the ability to bring expertise to the several-day event from speakers and presenters from around the region and the country.”
This year’s conference offers 30 informative sessions and is open to all transportation professionals including MassDOT, municipal personnel, consultants, contractors, non-profits, planning agencies, transit agencies, researchers, human service agencies, advocates, planners, private sector practitioners, vendors, and manufacturers. Conference participants will have the opportunity to discuss the advantages and challenges associated with innovative methods and technologies, including those featured at workshops: practices in municipal and regional transportation; mobility, accessibility, and transportation equity; techniques in design, materials, and construction; promoting a culture of safe transportation; and shaping the transportation landscape for a post COVID-19 world.
The Transportation Innovation Conference began in 2012 primarily for the network of MassDOT transportation professionals and in 2015, the conference opened up to include all transportation professionals including state, federal, private, and non-profit workers.
For more information or to register for the Massachusetts Transportation Innovation Conference, visit: https://www.umasstransportationcenter.org/assnfe/ev.asp?ID=4575.
Additional Phase 4 Industries are Open
The Baker-Polito Administration announced that Massachusetts will move forward in the Commonwealth’s reopening plan to reopen certain outdoor Phase 4 industries effective May 10, as previously announced.
The Administration continues to take steps to reopen the Commonwealth’s economy with public health metrics continuing to trend in a positive direction.
On March 22, Massachusetts loosened restrictions and advanced to Phase IV of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan. Since then, daily new COVID-19 cases have dropped by 45%, hospitalizations have dropped by 23%, and deaths have dropped by 69%. All these metrics have dropped by around 80% or more since the beginning of the year. The Commonwealth also remains a national leader in COVID-19 vaccinations, and over 3.9 million people are fully or partially vaccinated, and Massachusetts is on track to meet its goal of vaccinating over 4 million people by the beginning of June.
Effective Monday, May 10:
•The Commonwealth will reopen certain outdoor Phase 4 industries.
•Amusement parks, theme parks and outdoor water parks will be permitted to operate at a 50% capacity after submitting safety plans to the Department of Public Health.
•Road races and other large, outdoor organized amateur or professional group athletic events will be permitted to take place with staggered starts and other appropriate safety measures after submitting safety plans to a local board of health or the DPH.
•Additionally, large capacity venues such as indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks currently open at 12% capacity as part of Phase 4, Step 1 will be permitted to increase capacity to 25%.
•Youth and adult amateur sports tournaments will be allowed for moderate and high-risk sports.
•Singing will also be permitted indoors with strict distancing requirements at performance venues, restaurants, event venues and other businesses.
•Grocery stores and retail stores with a pharmacy department should consider dedicated hours of operation for seniors, but will no longer be required to offer senior hours.
Additional Changes Anticipated to be Effective Saturday, May 29:
•Contingent on continued positive trends in the public health and vaccination data, on May 29, additional sectors will be permitted to re-open and gathering limits will increase to 200 people indoors and 250 people outdoors for event venues, public settings and private settings.
The additional sectors that will be permitted to open include:
•Parades, street festivals and agricultural festivals, after submitting safety plans to the local board of health including measures for maintaining social distance, staffing and operations plans and hygiene and cleaning protocols.
•Bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries and distilleries, which will be subject to restaurant rules with seated service only, a 90-minute limit and no dance floors.
•Subject to public health and vaccination data, the restaurant guidance will be updated to eliminate the requirement that food be served with alcohol and to increase the maximum table size to 10.
Last week, the Administration also relaxed the Face Coverings Order for some outdoor settings and announced further reopening plans for Aug. 1.
For more information, visit mass.gov/reopening.
DOR Announces Updates to Relief for Certain Business Taxes
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue last week announced updates to administrative tax relief that has been provided to certain businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These updates include resuming monthly return filing and payment remittance as scheduled starting June 30 for vendors and operators, only on a going forward basis, beginning with returns and payments attributable to May tax collections.
The Department is also announcing a further extension of the previously announced deferral of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes for small businesses. Eligible businesses may now defer until Oct. 30, 2021 returns and payments otherwise due from March 20, 2020 through June 1, 2021.
Businesses that collected less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the 12-month period ending Feb. 29, 2020 are eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes, and businesses that collected less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the twelve-month period ending Feb. 29, 2020, are eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes. For these small businesses, no penalties or interest will accrue during this extension period.
For businesses with meals tax and room occupancy tax obligations that do not otherwise qualify for this relief, late-file and late-pay penalties for returns due from March 20, 2020 through June 1, 2021 are waived through Oct. 30, 2021.