Town Council Meeting Virtually Tuesday, Discussing Budget, Parking Plan

Watertown Town Hall

The Town Council will meeting for the first time since social distancing orders have prevented them from meeting in person. The meeting will be held virtually with the public able to participate by computer or phone. The agenda includes an update on the Town’s Fiscal 2021 budget, a proposal to move forward with the Parking Management Plan, and a discussion of the proposed contract for the Firefighters union. See the entire agenda by clicking here. Town Council President Mark Sideris told the Council in March that he will try not to have meetings during the COVID-19 outbreak, in part because it is difficult for the public to participate.

Find Out About Unemployment Benefits for Those Impacted by the Coronavirus Outbreak

Gov. Charlie Baker, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. Gov. Charlie Baker discussed details of the unemployment benefits available through the Federal CARES Act, including for those who don’t traditionally qualify for such benefits. Those who qualify can get an additional $600 on top of the normal unemployment benefits, and payments will be retroactive to March 29, and will extend through the end of July. Unemployment benefits will also be available to self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and others who otherwise would not normally qualify. Find out more information and how to apply below.

Town Holding Select Meetings Virtually, Budget May Have to be Presented Remotely

Since the social distancing requirements were put into place in Massachusetts due to COVID-19, there has only been one meeting held in Watertown. One more meeting is scheduled this week and others may be held this month with members participating remotely. On Thursday, April 9, the Historical Commission will hold a meeting, which will be conducted remotely and residents can attend by videoconference or call in with comments during public hearings. The first meeting held during the COVID-19 outbreak was a March 23 School Committee meeting, where committee members and the public joined using the Zoom app. There were some complaints of people not being able to hear, and concerns that they could not participate.

Gov. Signs Bill Allow Towns to Delay Property Tax Deadlines, Take Out/Delivery Alcohol from Restaurants; Cases Jump 1,400 in Mass.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation Friday that gives cities and towns the ability to relax property tax deadlines and also allows restaurants to sell beer and wine for take out or delivery. The restaurants must already have a license to sell alcohol to take advantage of this new provision, according to the story on WCVB Channel 5. The person receiving the alcohol must be 21 or older and an alcohol must be part of an order that includes food. The bill also allows municipalities to delay the due date for property tax by one month. The City of Springfield has already delayed its property tax deadline from May 1 to June 1, according to Masslive.com.

Info on Town Services, Closures & Supporting Local Businesses in the Town Manager’s COVID-19 Update

Watertown Town Hall

The following announcement was provided by Watertown Town Manager Michael Driscoll’s office:

Essential Services Order

Governor Charlie Baker’s emergency order requiring that all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public will be extended until May 4th. Businesses and organizations not on the list of essential services are encouraged to continue operations through remote means that do not require workers, customers, or the public to enter or appear at the brick-and-mortar premises closed by the order. This order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people until May 4th. On March 31st, The Commonwealth updated the “COVID-19 Essential Services” list, which is based on federal guidance that was updated earlier this week. While these businesses are designated as essential, they are urged to follow social distancing protocols for workers in accordance with guidance from the Department of Public Health (DPH).

Gov. Baker Gives Estimates for COVID-19 Cases in State, Beach Parking Closing

Massachusetts will see between 47,000 to 172,000 cases of Coronavirus during the outbreak, according to the latest models. Gov. Charlie Baker discussed the figures during an update on COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon. Those numbers would be 0.7 to 2.5 percent of the state’s population, and the peak is expected to occur between April 10 and 20, according to a WBZ Channel 4 story. As of Thursday, Massachusetts had 8,966 cases and 154 people have died, according to the Mass. Department of Public Health.

Congresswoman Clark Hosting Telephone Town Hall on the CARES Act

Congresswoman Katherine Clark will be hosting a teleconferenced town hall about the CARES Act. The following announcement was provided by Congresswoman Clark’s office:

This week, on Thursday, April 2 at 6:30 p.m. EDT, I will be hosting a telephone town hall about the CARES Act, the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) relief bill signed into law to help families, workers, hospitals, and businesses during this national emergency.I will be available to answer questions about the different types of aid available to Massachusetts residents, including direct cash payments for eligible constituents, expanded unemployment assistance, and new relief for affected local businesses non-profits. You can join the town hall by dialing in at 1 (844) 734-8764. If you are not able to join the call but have a question or need assistance, please reach out to my district office. As we continue working together in Washington to help all our communities during this difficult time, it is so important that those in need know how to access the new resources that are being made available to them.