I write to you this evening with relevant COVID-19 updates and resources.
As of today, 3,080 Cambridge residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 105 residents have passed away, according to the state's database. Learn more here. There have been 342,764 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, and there are 4,060 newly reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state today. 49,772 tests have been performed today, and 12,158 have passed away. Learn more here.
Federal Action Updates
COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Protections Against Evictions
As President Trump has now signed the deal into law, the COVID-19 Relief Bill will provide additional benefits for renters and will stave off an eviction wave expected to come in January. Renters will now have eviction protections extended, and the opportunity to apply for up to 15 months of rental assistance, including for months of unpaid back rent. Read more here.
State Action Updates
Minimum Wage Increase, Family Paid Leave on the Way in January
On January 1st, the Massachusetts minimum wage will increase from $12.75 to $13.50 as part of legislation that will lead to a $15 minimum wage in 2023. Tipped workers will also see an increase from $4.95 to $5.55. The state's Paid Family Medical Leave Act also fully goes in effect, allowing workers to take up to 26 weeks off to care for a loved one, including after the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child. Read more here.
Baker Press Conference Updates
Governor Baker did not hold a press conference today.
Tips for Celebrating a Happy and Safe Winter, click here.
Harvard University COVID-19 information, click here.
MIT COVID-19 information, click here.
Cambridge flu clinics are now open. The Cambridge Public Health Department is ramping up its efforts to vaccinate more residents than in previous years, with the goal of administering 10,000 flu shots this season. The flu vaccine is being donated by Cambridge Health Alliance. People who live and work in Cambridge can get a flu shot at no charge at one of the flu clinics run by the Cambridge Public Health. Flu shot appointments are required this year. To schedule an appointment online, go to https://cphd-flu-2020.as.me. The City's Flu Clinic Call Center at 617-349-9788 is open for those who wish to make appointments by phone. You can learn more about the clinics here.
Contactless Holds Pickup Service hours at the O'Neill Branch, 70 Rindge Ave., Cambridge have been extended. The new schedule is as follows:
Wednesdays, 1:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Thursdays, 11:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.
Fridays, 11:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.
Where to Get Tested
Testing appointments through the City's free mobile-testing program are now available at the following locations:
- Monday - 50 Church St. 12:00pm - 8:00pm
- Tuesday - 50 Church St. 12:00pm - 8:00pm
- Wednesday - 2254 Massachusetts Ave, St. John the Evangelist Church, 10:00am - 6:00pm
- Thursday - CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 11:00am - 7:00pm (Drive-through testing in garage. Enter on First St.)
- Friday - 50 Church St. 12:00pm - 8:00pm
- Saturday - Pisani Center located at 131 Washington Street. 11:00am - 7:00pm
- Sunday - CambridgeSide in East Cambridge, 11:00am - 7:00pm (Drive-through testing in garage. Enter on First St.)
Due to the Broad Institute (testing lab) holiday schedule, testing will not be available at City sites on the following dates:
- December 30, 31 and January 1. (Testing will resume on Saturday, January 2)
You can schedule an appointment online or by calling 617-665-3795.
Translation Resources Available
Multilingual city resources and information on COVID-19 are available on the City's multilingual help page.
Where to Give
Hospitality Workers COVID-19 Emergency Fund
This holiday season, I urge you to consider giving to hospitality workers - we have a number of Cambridge residents who have had their hours greatly reduced or lost their jobs due to the pandemic. The Hospitality Workers COVID-19 Emergency Fund goes directly to helping hospitality workers in need pay for food, health insurance, rent and utilities, replace lost wages, and retrain for new jobs. To make an online contribution, click here.
This year, I filed an amendment to the FY21 budget that would ensure the "Right of Recall" for employees of any hotel employer or food/retail employer at Logan Airport. Right of recall language ensures that a laid off worker has the option to return to their job by classification and seniority as jobs. This ensures that workers who are laid off are not required to re-apply for positions that they held before the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationally, 4 out of 10 hotel workers are still out of a job. As these jobs return, those who were laid off- who are largely nonwhite and immigrant workers- deserve the opportunity to return to their jobs. While this language was not included in the FY21 budget, I plan to file a bill with this language in the coming legislative session.
One in Eight of Our Cambridge Neighbors is Experiencing Hunger
Cambridge friends, one in eight of our neighbors are experiencing hunger and food insecurity, and while our food pantries are fighting to keep food on the table, they can't do it alone. This holiday season, give the gift of food security to your neighbors by supporting food access organizations and the newly launched Cambridge Challenge Against Hunger with a generous donation. With a gift of just $100, you can feed four families on Food For Free's Home Delivery program, and help bring a new meaning to the 'season of giving.' If you would like to donate, click here. For a full list of Cambridge organizations to donate to, click here.
Cambridge Community Center
In partnership with the Central Square BID, the Cambridge Community Center (CCC) has launched a safe, socially-distanced Food & Supply Pantry. The pantry is open Tuesdays - Fridays 1:00pm - 3:00pm at 5 Callender street, Cambridge MA (Gymnasium Entrance). The CCC have received generous food donations from our friends at Food For Free and Lovin' Spoonfuls, and have been able to offer community members healthy options, including fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other quality grocery items. In addition to food donations, here are some other supplies that are in need for the pantry.
- Feminine hygiene products (preferably pads)
- General hygiene products (shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.)
- Toilet paper
- Household cleaning supplies
Even if you're not able to donate to our COVID-19 Relief Fund, you can still support the pantry by spreading the word!
On Fridays, Cambridge CoHousing will be collecting food for the Chelsea Food Collaborative. Drop off is between 9 AM to 2:30 PM at 175 Richdale Ave, the entranceto CoHousing, either in a paper bag or small box. If you don't see someone at the moment you come, please leave it just inside the gate where we will have boxes marked "For Chelsea."
If you are able to give to others during this time, I encourage you to look to the following places that are working to help those most affected by COVID-19:
Cambridge Community Foundation
Cradles to Crayons Emergency Essentials Fund
I also encourage you to donate to the following organizations that are engaging in racial justice work:
Louis D. Brown Peace Institute
Families for Justice as Healing
Union of Minority Neighborhoods
As always, do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns at Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov. I hope everyone has a safe weekend with social distancing and mask wearing.