The City of Springfield is currently monitoring the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and will provide updates as new developments and relevant information becomes available. Click the headings below for links to more information.
MassHire is holding a no cost online staff recruitment expo on April 28th, 29th & 30th. This event will be promoted through MassHire;s medoa partners 94.7WMAS, WEEI 105.5 and Nash Icon 98.1. Employers can advertise their openings on the MassHire dedicated web page with hyperlinks to job postings, company logo, company description and optional video embed.
JoAnn Miller, Director Business Services
MassHire Springfield Career Center
This list of FAQs provided by the Governor's Office addresses many of the submissions received by EOHED relating to “COVID-19 Essential Services” guidance associated with Governor Baker’s March 23, 2020 Emergency Order (which was updated and extended on March 31, 2020).
On March 25, 2020, the Commissioner of Public Health, issued an order relevant to grocery stores to provide continuation of essential services while additionally reducing exposure of shoppers and employees to COVID-19 (hereinafter, the Order). This guidance is issued pursuant to that Order to further clarify and enable essential services to be provided.
1) Store Specific Maximum Permissible Occupancy Levels a. Each Grocery store shall limit occupancy to 40 percent of its maximum permitted occupancy level as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department or other municipal record holder in order to provide for in-store social distancing while preserving sufficient access for the public to supplies of food and necessities. • Stores with a maximum occupancy of 25 persons or less are exempt from this requirement. Local boards of health should consult with these stores to ensure appropriate protections are in place. b. Grocery store staff shall monitor the number of customers entering and exiting the store in order to demonstrate compliance with the maximum permissible occupancy level. c. The occupant count shall include customers and employees. d. No Local Board of Health shall prescribe or enforce a different limitation on Grocery store occupancy levels. e. Grocery stores may calculate and employ an average number for staff per shift in counting employees present in the retail selling space to account for incidental movement of employees in and out of retail selling space.
2) If lines form outside the grocery store, staff should monitor the line to ensure customers are maintaining appropriate distance from each other.
3) If lines form outside the grocery store or other physical security concerns arise, local law enforcement should be notified and consulted.
4) Local boards of health are advised to minimize the application of specialized rules that dictate which products grocery stores may or may not be offered for sale to the public and how those products may be displayed. Where local boards of health have particular concerns about individual products, the boards should consult with store operators to discuss the value of special safety protocols to reduce risk. 5) As grocery stores are a critical provider during this time local boards of health should work with these businesses to ensure that food and essential products are available to the public without disruption. Every effort should be made to ensure continued operation of grocery stores. If health concerns develop with respect to the operation of an individual grocery store, local boards of health should make all efforts to address the concerns with the grocery store instead of seeking punitive measures. 6) If a grocery store offers online delivery or curbside pickup capabilities, customers should be encouraged to use those methods before coming into the store. 7) Grocery stores should communicate with customers through in store signage and public service announcements. Where practical, retailers should designate one-way aisles in stores to maximize spacing between customers and should identify the one-way aisles with signage and floor markings. 8) The entirety of the Commissioner’s Order of March 25, 2020, remains in place. However, grocery stores are reminded that they must continue to provide alternative hours, at least one hour every day in the early morning, for adults 60 years and older in order to limit their potential exposure. These hours must be conspicuously posted and should be enforced by grocery stores.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno has announced that following Governor Baker signing a Municipal Relief legislation (H4598: An Act to Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities and State Authorities Resulting from COVID-19), the City of Springfield will adjust the deadline for filing personal exemption and deferral applications to June 1, 2020. The original statutory deadline was April 1, 2020.
Previously, the City of Springfield had adjusted the collection dates for 4th quarter real estate and personal property taxes to June 1, 2020. The original due date was May 1, 2020.
The City of Springfield Assessor’s Office also encourages homeowners, renters and residents 65 years or older to consider applying for the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit as well.
For more information and applications on these statutory abatement exemptions, please visit the city’s Board of Assessors website at www.springfield-ma.gov/finance/assessors or call the Assessor’s Office at (413) 787-6164. Residents can also contact our city’s 311 Call Center at (413) 736-3111.
Please see the attached FY20 Personal Exemption Chart.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno has announced that following Governor Baker signing a Municipal Relief legislation (H4598: An Act to Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities and State Authorities Resulting from COVID-19), the City of Springfield will adjust the collection date for 4th quarter real estate taxes to June 1, 2020, instead of the original due date of May 1, 2020.
The due date for the collection of real estate taxes is a state statue and any changes required approval by the state Legislature and the Governor.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan announced today that 30 grants totaling over $225,000 for restaurants have been awarded as part of the city’s ‘Prime the Pump’ Grant Program in response to the economic crisis resulting from emergency closures due to Covid-19.
The Prime the Pump Program was announced on March 18, 2020. The priority focus being on full service restaurants that needed to begin or expand their takeout and delivery operations to comply with the public health emergency orders and all the restaurants that continued to remain open and keep some of their workers employed. Applications for the available grant funding became available on March 21, 2020 with a filing deadline of March 24, 2020.
The City saw overwhelming interest in the grant program, with over $1 million in grant requests from 80 applications across the city. Those restaurants that were not awarded or did not receive their full funding request are eligible to apply in the upcoming Small Business Grant Fund for up to a total amount between both funds of $15,000. The Small Business Grant Fund Application is anticipated to be released in the next few days.
View the list of tentative awards subject to contract execution here.
In response to the ongoing and growing concerns of the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and out of an abundance of caution, Mayor Sarno and Health Commissioner Caulton-Harris are issuing a new joint public health advisory and recommendation for our residents.
The City of Springfield is asking residents to wear face coverings when out in public, especially in locations where people are in transit such as but not limited to; grocery and convenient stores, bus and train stations, pharmacies and medical facilities, pet supply stores, and hardware shops or if they otherwise leave their home to participate in an exempt activity.
A face covering can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to other people. A face covering can include anything that covers your nose and mouth, including dust masks, scarves and bandanas. Health care worker masks (surgical mask, N-95 or similar) must be preserved for people in the health care system.
It is important to note, that wearing a face covering should not give an individual a false sense of security. Residents are strongly encouraged to continue to follow all CDC and DPH protocols.
This advisory and recommendation is made out of an abundance of caution and continues with the city’s best efforts of being proactive for the greater good of the community’s public health and wellness.
Springfield City Council and School Committee Schedule Virtual Meetings
The Springfield City Council and School Committee have schedule virtual meetings.
The City Council will hold their regular meeting virtually on Monday, April 6, 2020.
The School Committee will hold their Budget and Finance Subcommittee meeting on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 and the meeting of the full School Committee will take place on Thursday, April 9, 2020.
Congressman Richard E. Neal announced that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, was signed into law on Friday, March 27, 2020. The CARES Act, in part, provides for an additional $5 for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program on which Springfield is set to receive $2,301,793 of CDBG funds.
Grantees may use CDBG funds for a range of eligible activities that prevent and respond to the spread of infectious diseases such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), such as:
Buildings and Improvements, Including Public Facilities:
- Construct a facility for testing, diagnosis, or treatment.
- Rehabilitate a community facility to establish an infectious disease treatment clinic.
- Acquire and rehabilitate, or construct, a group living facility that may be used to centralize patients undergoing treatment.
- Rehabilitate a commercial building or closed school building to establish an infectious disease treatment clinic, e.g., by replacing the HVAC system.
- Acquire, and quickly rehabilitate (if necessary) a motel or hotel building to expand capacity of hospitals to accommodate isolation of patients during recovery.
- Make interim improvements to private properties to enable an individual patient to remain quarantined on a temporary basis.
Assistance to Businesses, including Special Economic Development Assistance
- Provide grants or loans to support new businesses or business expansion to create jobs and manufacture medical supplies necessary to respond to infectious disease.
- Avoid job loss caused by business closures related to social distancing by providing short-term working capital assistance to small businesses to enable retention of jobs held by low- and moderate-income persons.
- Provide technical assistance, grants, loans, and other financial assistance to establish, stabilize, and expand microenterprises that provide medical, food delivery, cleaning, and other services to support home health and quarantine.
- Carry out job training to expand the pool of health care workers and technicians that are available to treat disease within a community.
- Provide testing, diagnosis or other services at a fixed or mobile location.
- Increase the capacity and availability of targeted health services for infectious disease response within existing health facilities.
- Provide equipment, supplies, and materials necessary to carry-out a public service.
- Deliver meals on wheels to quarantined individuals or individuals that need to maintain social distancing due to medical vulnerabilities.
The funds may also be used for planning, capacity-building, and technical assistance in the furtherance of these goals.
Effective April 1, 2020, all passenger and dealer plate registrations that expired in March and passenger plates that are expiring in April have been extended for 60 days. Registrations that expired in March have been extended until May 31 and registrations that expire in April have been extended until June 30. Registration renewals can continue to be performed online at Mass.Gov/RMV.
Customers seeking to renew in-person will not be able to make an appointment and should delay their visit to a Service Center.
In addition, the RMV recently implemented key changes to service delivery and organizational protocols:
- Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the RMV has implemented a strict no walk-in policy at a limited number of Service Centers that remain open to the general public. Service for necessary in-person transactions is available by appointment only. Customers should visit Mass.Gov/RMV to make a reservation at an open Service Center or find information on over 40 transactions that can be conducted online, by phone, or by mail.
- All Driver's Licenses, ID cards, and Lerner's Permits, including Commercial Licenses and Permits that have expired or are expiring between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, have had a 60-day extension applied to the current expiration date and do not need to be renewed at this time. This does not apply to customers whose end of stay in the United States is the same as the expiration date on their Driver’s License, ID card, or Learner’s Permit.
- CDL Medical Certificates that expire on or after March 1 until April 30 will be extended until June 30 to prevent license downgrades and elective medical visits, as well as alleviate demand on medical providers.
- The annual motor vehicle and emissions inspection stickers that expire on March 31 and April 30 have been extended 60 days and all motorcycle inspection stickers originally set to expire on May 31 must be inspected by June 30. The RMV is also extending the time during which newly registered vehicles must be inspected based on the purchase date.
- In addition, the RMV has suspended all road tests through April 12. Class D and M Learner's Permits knowledge exams have been suspended indefinitely.
- Commercial Learner’s Permit tests are available to be taken at the Milford and Wilmington RMV Service Centers during normal business hours and commercial road tests continue to occur.
For details on all of these extensions and additional information on RMV services and the RMV’s response to COVID-19, please visit COVID-19 information.
In accordance with Governor Baker’s extension of his March 23, 2020 order, all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” must continue to keep their physical workplaces and facilities closed to workers, customers and the public until May 4, 2020.
Governor Baker also extended his stay-at-home advisory until May 4, 2020.
Springfield Public Schools Begin Initiative to Distribute Laptops to Students
Springfield Public Schools is set to begin an initiative to put as many as 10,000 laptops in the hands of K-12 students who do not have access to a computer while they are at home. The laptop distribution initiative began today with a three-day registration period for families requesting a laptop.
The initiative builds on the district’s Technology Plan. Implemented six years ago, the initiative provided a laptop for every Springfield Public School student in grades 3 through 12. The program provided a computer for every two students in grades kindergarten through second. In recent years, the district piloted a program that allowed students at the pilot schools to bring the laptops home at night, rather than leave them at school.
“Clearly, we were moving at a measured pace in the direction of providing a take-home laptop for every student, the coronavirus pandemic has forced us to quicken that pace exponentially,” said Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick. “As we engage in remote learning, it is important for us to make sure every student has access to the same resources.”
The initiative will allow families with students who need a laptop to either pick it up via drive-through at the student’s school or those without transportation can arrange for home delivery. Both alternatives will be scheduled. The Springfield Public Schools Information Technology Department, along with paraprofessionals, teachers, and Central Office staff who have volunteered to assist in the effort, will disinfect each laptop and help with distribution. The distribution process will follow appropriate social distancing guidelines to protect the health of staff, students and families.
Laptops are currently expected to be ready for scheduled pick-up or delivery beginning on April 6, 2020. Schools will reach out directly to families who register for a laptop to inform them of the distribution schedule.
The RMV will be strictly enforcing a No Walk-In Policy. Only Customers with Appointment Reservations Will Be Served for Required In-Person Transactions
Effective Friday, March 27, 2020 the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is enforcing a strict no walk-in policy at its eight service centers that are open to the general public. The only transactions that will be processed at service centers are those that require an in-person transaction, including Commercial Driving Licenses or Permits (CDLs/CLPs), some new registrations, out-of-state conversions and new Mass IDs. Customers who need to complete these transactions will be required to make an online appointment reservation, and customers arriving without an appointment will be asked to leave and make an appointment online to return at a future date.
Appointment reservations can be made online at in the myRMV Online Service Center under “Make or Cancel a Reservation.” Customers who make an appointment will receive a confirmation email that they should be prepared to show on arrival at their designated time at a specific service center. Customers can also call the Contact Center at 857-368-8000 to make a reservation.
Mayor Sarno Petitions HUD for Additional CDBG Funds for Small Business Assistance
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan today sent a letter to David Tille, Regional Administrator for HUD, seeking flexibility to redeploy potentially $500,000 additional CDBG funding for the “Prime the Pump” restaurant grant program and to assist small businesses with a direct grant initiative.
Previously the City had announced and released the “Prime the Pump” grant application, aimed at providing immediate financial relief for restaurants in Springfield that have transitioned to take out service models. The goal of the program is to help preserve jobs and assist restaurant businesses through this difficult time.
Following up on this grant program, the city is seeking to utilize this additional CDBG funding from HUD for additional relief for our restaurants and other small businesses.
Mayor Sarno states, “It’s critical that we do what we can to help support our small businesses during these difficult times. I have directed my Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan to follow up with HUD Regional Administrator David Tille on this matter and to prepare program guidelines for as early as next week so that we can get this much-needed assistance out to our small businesses. I want to thank Congressman Richard Neal for his continued leadership and for reaching out to HUD Secretary Ben Carson in support of our letter.”
Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo today announced an agreement to extend the 2019 state individual income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15 to July 15 due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. This income tax relief is automatic and taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms to qualify.
Individuals with questions or concerns regarding taxes can contact the Massachusetts Department of Revenue at (617) 887-6367 or send a secure e-message through MassTaxConnect.
Mayor Sarno Signs on to Letter Asking the President and Federal Government to Coordinate Efforts for the Purchasing and Distribution of Medical Equipment
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, on March 27, 2020, signed onto a letter from the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group asking President Trump and the Federal Government to support our hospitals and healthcare facilities, and our cities, towns and states by using their federal power and authority to ramp up production of ventilators, PPE’s such as the N95 masks, testing kits and quicker turnaround for results, and other much-needed medical equipment.
Mayor Sarno stated, “This public health emergency situation has affected all of us across the nation. The needs of our cities, states, hospitals and other healthcare facilities to proactively respond to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 has put stress upon our first responders and front line personnel. It has pushed our resources to their limits. Now more than ever, we need a coordinated effort on a national scale to meet the ever growing demands of the purchasing and distribution of medical equipment.”
All city services continue to operate and serve the public’s needs. Imperative City services go beyond public safety and health care. Birth and death certificates still need to be issued, municipal lien certificates still need to be produced in order for house closings, payroll and benefits still need to be administered for City employees, IT services need to be available to assist employees working remotely.
Those things considered, all city employees continue to provide essential city services under modified schedules, which include working remotely, alternating days working on site, or any combination, which has been determined as appropriate by the department head where services can continue with minimum interruptions.
The City of Springfield has provided an Advisory, Recommendation and Resource guide to help provide guidance and assistance during this Public Health Emergency.
City of Springfield Office of Planning & Economic Development Resources
The City of Springfield’s Office of Planning & Economic Development will continue to update their dedicated COVID-19 Business Resources page with information, resources, and guidance for businesses here.
Governor Baker Issues New Order on COVID-19 Essential Services
Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of Tuesday, March 24th at noon until Tuesday, April 7th at noon. These businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely. The Governor also updated his Assemly Order, limiting gatherings to 10 people or less.
The Governor has provided a list of Essential Services categories:
- Health Care & Public Health
- Law Enforcement, Public Safety & First Responders
- Food & Agriculture
- Critical Manufacturing
- Water & Wastewater
- Public Works
- Communications and Information Technology
- Financial Services
- Defense Industry Base
- Chemical Manufacturing & Hazardous Materials
- Other Designated Community Based Essential Function & Government Operations
- News Media
Click below for the Governor's full Essential Services announcment, complete list, and assemblage order update and guidance:
Hampden County Workforce Board
The Hampden County Workforce Board has updated information for anyone who needs to apply for unemployment insurance and assistance from Hampden County MassHire One-Stop Career Centers.
Following up on Governor Baker’s order to close all daycares and childcare centers across the Commonwealth, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, upon the recommendation of Health Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, is strongly encouraging other venues to voluntarily adhere to and follow these Public Health Emergency recommendations by taking precautionary measures needed.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the city is reminding everyone to adhere to the social distancing recommendations and asking that certain venues take the precautionary measures needed during these public health emergency times by voluntarily discontinuing services. The city is asking that barber shops, salons, hairdressers, tattoo and piercing studios, massage parlors and spas, and nail salons all take the precautionary measures during these public health emergency times and voluntarily discontinue services as to adhere to the social distancing guidelines of remaining at least six (6) feet apart.
The City of Springfield has launched a grant program aimed to assist our local restaurants during these challenging times by making available, funds to help restaurant businesses that seek to reorganize their service delivery operations to meet the public health restrictions and retain their existing employees to degree possible. Qualifying restaurants can apply for up to $15,000 to help with these expenses.
Western Mass EDC has provided a dedicated site listing available resources from both the state and community partners.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offeringlow-interestfederal disaster loans for working capital for small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Hampden County has been identified as an eligible region.
For more information about available SBA resources and services, please visit: SBA.gov/coronavirus.
The Baker-Polito Administration announced economic support for small businesses with a $10 million loan fund to provide financial relief to those that have been affected by COVID-19.
Due to the state of emergency that has been declared by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Springfield, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno has announced that the City of Springfield will delay the due dates for the collection of certain fees.
Due to the evolving concerns related to the spread of COVID-19 – Coronavirus and out of an abundance of caution, the City of Springfield has announced that it will be closing City Hall and all other municipal buildings to the public beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020 until April 5, 2020.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined with Superintendent of Schools Dan Warwick, and Health Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris today in announcing a state of emergency in the City of Springfield and the temporary closing of schools.
Updates and news from the Springfield Public Schools.
Baystate Health has a dedicated website for news and developments on the COVID-19 situation
Massachusetts Department of Public Health & CDC COVID-19 Guidance