Coronavirus (COVID-19) Latest updates
(last updated 03/27/2020 at 3:00 Pm)
“Throughout this outbreak, we have consistently reminded our residents to get their information from trusted sources. Today we’re making that easier,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With the addition of this new communication tool, we’re making it easier for everyone to stay informed about state actions and important announcements related to COVID-19.”
Stay informed - Text COVIDMA to 888777
The City of Chicopee continues to receive guidance from the Offices of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Center for Disease Control (CDC) and local healthcare professionals on how to respond to, as well as treat and prevent the spread of COVID-19. We encourage you to check out the following information from the State of Massachusetts and the CDC.
Click on a button below to learn more:
Massachusetts #2-1-1 will provide real-time COVID-19 information, resources, and referrals in multiple languages.
We will update this information as it is provided to us. We will continue to monitor the virus information from our trusted sources and update protocols as necessary for our community’s overall health and well-being.
The new protocols are in effect and will remain in effect until April 6, 2020
(unless otherwise specified), at which time they will be revisited.
- TRAVEL GUIDANCE: Beginning March 27, all travelers arriving in Massachusetts are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days. This guidance will be displayed as posters at service plazas along 1-90 eastbound, distributed as flyers at major transportation hubs and posted on highway message boards. Visitors are instructed not to travel to Massachusetts if they are displaying symptoms. Health care workers, public health workers, public safety workers, transportation workers, and designated essential workers are exempt from this requirement.
- Emergency Limited Medical Licenses: The Board of Registration in Medicine will provide medical school graduates who have matched as an intern, resident or fellow with a Board-approved Massachusetts health care facility or training program with Emergency 90-Day Limited Licenses to practice medicine to ensure that our health care workforce is prepared during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
To qualify, medical residents must fill out an application to be approved by the program or facility, and once approved, residents will receive the emergency license and be able to start when their program begins. This Emergency Limited License will allow medical staff to provide support while the regular screening progresses, and it is not a substitute for the regular Limited License process.
- Health Care Professional Volunteers: To support ongoing COVID-19 emergency response efforts, the Baker-Polito Administration has partnered with the Massachusetts Medical Society to match volunteers with our communities and health care providers based on skillsets and need. There is an immediate need for respiratory therapists and public health nurses, and the administration is asking health care professionals interested in volunteering to sign up at MAResponds.org.
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) ORDER: The administration has issued a public health order to provide APRNs in good standing with greater flexibility in their prescribing practices. This order includes the following updates:
- Certified nurse-midwives will be allowed to continue to prescribe as already authorized.
- Authorizes APRNs who have at least two years of supervised practice experience to prescribe without physician supervision.
- Authorizes APRNs with fewer than two years of supervised practice experience to prescribe with physician supervision, but without the normally required written guidelines.
- MEDICAL SCHOOL GRADUATION: Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and DPH Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel have coordinated with Massachusetts medical schools to facilitate early graduation of their qualified fourth-year students to allow graduates to support the health care workforce during the COVID-19 response. This coordinated effort includes Boston University School of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School.
- MassHealth Waiver: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved, in part, the Baker-Polito Administration’s 1135 waiver to fast-track MassHealth enrollment, streamline administrative requirements for providers and better deliver critically needed health care services during the COVID-19 public health emergency. CMS has approved the following items of the waiver:
- Enrollment of out-of-state providers and easing other provider requirements when enrolling in MassHealth.
- Allowing providers to be reimbursed for care in the alternative, unlicensed settings.
- Suspension of prior authorization requirements and extending pre-existing prior authorizations through the emergency.
- SPECIAL SHOPPING TIMES FOR 60+ - All grocery stores and pharmacies must offer reserved shopping hours for those 60+
- REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS ARE TEMPORARILY PROHIBITED - The use of reusable bags will be banned, for the time being, plastic bag bans will be lifted, and stores will not be able to charge for paper bags.
- ALL GROCERY STORES AND PHARMACIES - required to offer sanitation options such as hand sanitizer and wipes for carts - Grocery store employees instructed to stay home if sick, employers required to accommodate high-risk employees with temporary reassignment
- CHECKOUT LINES - must have ’social distancing markers’ to keep shoppers 6 feet away from each other
- SELF-SERVE FOOD STATIONS MUST CLOSE
- COVID-19 Essential Services - Governor 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. ORDER | GUIDANCE |
Categories of COVID-19 Essential Services: FULL LIST
Health Care & Public Health
Law Enforcement, Public Safety & First Responders
Food & Agriculture
Water & Wastewater
Communications and Information Technology
Defense Industry Base
Chemical Manufacturing & Hazardous Materials
Other Designated Community Based Essential Function & Government Operations
- GATHERINGS & RESTAURANTS: Governor Baker issued an emergency order limiting gatherings to 10 individuals and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants ORDER | GUIDANCE
- 03/24/2020 Update: Permitting establishments licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption to sell wine and beer by take-out and delivery, provided that the wine or beer is sold in the original sealed container, is sold in the same transaction as a purchase of food and is not over certain volume limitations.
- SCHOOL OPERATIONS SUSPENDED: Governor Baker ordered a 3-week suspension of school operations for educational purposes at all public and private elementary and secondary (K-12) schools in the Commonwealth (not including residential and day schools for special needs students). ORDER
- All Chicopee Public Schools (CPS), including education and sports programs, will be canceled until Monday, May 4, 2020. NOTICE
- A list of educational websites on the main Chicopee Public School page.
For grades PK-8, some extended learning opportunities on the website. These lessons are for the enrichment and/ or reinforcement only. They are not mandated nor will they be graded.
For grades 9-12, we are encouraging them to check our website for secondary opportunities. We are also encouraging them to check their google classroom account for teachers who may be posting some additional opportunities. These lessons are for the enrichment and/ or reinforcement only.
"If this initial closure is extended, then we do have a formal education plan to roll out. We can assure you it is not a fully virtual PK-12 plan.
The School Department, in any way, does not want to add stress to any family right now. We encourage families to relax and follow the recommended guidelines from medical professionals. CPS custodial staff continues to do deep disinfecting using equipment that is designed for this." - Lynn Clark, Superintendent of Chicopee Public Schools
- Families are encouraged to take advantage of the meal distribution centers, which are being held in 13 schools. Meal pick up is between the hours of 8:00 and 1:00 each day.
To-Go Meals will be provided to ALL children under age 22 during the extended school district closure. To learn more visit: Chicopee Fresh - If anyone 21 and under, goes to a distribution site they will not need to an ID proving residency. No questions asked. If you are going to pick up meals for children who are not going to be with you, please bring something to verify that they attend the schools such as their school ID, birth certificate, etc.
- Charter is offering FREE Spectrum Broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students (who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps.) Call 1-844-488-8395 to enroll - Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
- LOCAL BOARDS OF HEALTH & EMS: Department of Public Health issued an order regarding the sharing of critical information with first responders: ORDER
Department of Public Health issued an order regarding the flexible reassignment of Physicians Assistants: ORDER
Department of Public Health issued an order relative to Emergency Medical Services Care: ORDER
Department of Public Health issued an order implementing emergency credentialing and licensed staff transfer procedures for medical facilities in the Commonwealth: ORDER
HOSPITAL VISITOR RESTRICTIONS: Department of Public Health issued hospital visitor restrictions. ORDER | GUIDANCE
ELECTIVE PROCEDURES: Department of Public Health issued an order mandating that hospitals must cancel non-essential elective procedures. ORDER | GUIDANCE
TELEHEALTH: The Department of Public Health has issued guidance that requires all commercial insurers, self-insured plans, and the Group Insurance Commission are required to cover medically necessary telehealth services related to COVID-19 testing and treatment. Insurers must do this without requiring cost-sharing of any kind – such as co-pays and coinsurance – for testing and treatment. ORDER
NURSING HOME VISITORS RESTRICTED: Department of Public Health issued an emergency order restricting visitor access to nursing homes and rest homes to protect higher-risk populations from COVID-19. ORDER | GUIDANCE
NURSING LICENSURE CHANGES: Board of Registration in Nursing updated its policies to expedite the processing of reciprocal license applications for nurses that are licensed in another jurisdiction to allow those applications to be processed in one business day. POLICY
- ASSISTED LIVING VISITOR RESTRICTIONS. Department of Public Health issued visitor restrictions for assisted living facilities. ORDER | GUIDANCE
- RiverMills Senior Center has been closed until further notice - Meals on Wheels is available for anyone who needs them by calling 413-538-9020. Western Mass Elder Care will provide this information to everyone they have listed.
- RMV RENEWAL TIMELINE: The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will extend the renewal timeline of certain credentials to reduce the need for customers to physically visit an RMV service center for in-person transactions. ORDER
- OPEN MEETING LAW MODIFICATIONS: Governor Baker issued an emergency order making modifications to the state’s Open Meeting Law to allow state, quasi and local governments to continue to carry out essential functions during the COVID-19 outbreak. ORDER
- City of Chicopee Events/Meetings cancelations, updates, and/or postponements - Follow for the most accurate updates: https://bit.ly/39R1MfD
- PUBLIC access to City Hall and all Municipal buildings is CLOSED. During the hours of 9:00 AM- 4:00 PM, only essential City Staff will be allowed to access the buildings to continue day-to-day operations - Individuals encountering urgent and time-sensitive situations should contact the Mayor’s Office at 413-594-1500 and we will do what we can to accommodate the situation.
- DPW - trash and recycling collections will continue as regularly scheduled. NOTICE
- NO PINK BAG Pick-up until further notice.
- Drop-off Center – Only non-payment items will be accepted (recyclables, yard waste, brush, etc.)
- Water Dept – No non-emergency services to residential homes (replacing meters, meter readings)
- Engineering – Permits will need to be processed online
- WasteWater – No non-emergency services to residential homes (backups will be dealt with from outside)
- Please DO NOT FLUSH disinfectant wipes or paper towels because they clog drains, back up sewers, and can cause overflows at sewage plants.
- Chicopee Public Library is CLOSED - all fines will be waived in correlation to the closure. There is staff on hand M-F 9A-5P to answer calls and help with U.S. Census needs. Booker is not in service during this time. Check the www.chicopeepubliclibrary.org for a wealth of online resources.
- Census Bureau is delaying some of its early outreach efforts because of the pandemic. Reminder: You can complete the census online or call the Chicopee Public Library and they will help get your U.S. Census completed over the phone!
- Winter Moratorium for collections and/or shut-off notices for water and electricity has been extended until May 15, 2020, or until the MA State of Emergency is lifted.
Message from Chicopee Police Department
On behalf of Chief Jebb, Deputy Chief Dakin and the men and women of the police department, thank you for your continued support and patience during this COVID-19 event. We are committed to continuing to provide you with the great public service you deserve.
We have appointed Sgt. Eric Laflamme as the liaison to outside agencies dealing with the COVID-19 virus. We would just like to reiterate that, until further notice, there will be no public access to the interior of the police department. This means, no new License to Carry applications will be taken, no fingerprinting will be done, and no tours will be conducted.
This is to ensure the health and safety of not only our officers but the general public. Officers will continue to respond to emergency calls for service, however, our WESTCOMM dispatch will be screening calls for a response. If there is no need for an immediate response, people will be directed to either an online reporting system or a report will be done by phone. If an officer needs to respond to a medical incident, they will stage outside, if there is no immediate need for emergency care, until medical personnel arrives.
For NON EMERGENCY CALLS, and for calls that do not require a police officer to respond, we are asking people to go to this link to enter information for an online report. This information will then, once you hit submit, be sent to our officers, where they can complete an official report. PLEASE, be as descriptive, and thorough as you can when filling in details.
If an officer has to enter for a medical emergency, they will outfit themselves with PPE, protective gear, which includes a mask, goggles, and clothing, before entering. Officers will also be monitoring all establishments, to ensure they are following the orders set forth by Governor Baker.
Ofc Michael Wilk, PIO
Chicopee Police Department
Message from Chicopee Fire Department
The Chicopee Fire Department is fully staffed and prepared to respond to requests for emergency services.
As a precaution against COVID- 19, the Fire Department Business Offices are closed to the public, but are conducting business over the phone and on-line through the on-line permitting systems. Members are being extra vigilant in cleaning and disinfecting all city fire stations and practicing good hand hygiene. Our dispatch center is screening calls for suspected COVID-19 infection to ensure the safety of responders and to minimize risk to others.
To date, we have not responded to any suspected cases of COVID-19, however, Standard Operating Guidelines have been put into place in the event we encounter possible Covid-19 cases
Lt. Katie Kalbaugh, PIO
Chicopee Fire Department
The City of Chicopee has NO confirmed cases at this time. For up-to-date levels of reported cases in Massachusetts (updated daily at 4:00 p.m.), click the image below:
Do your part to help us keep our community healthy. Practice these smart health tips:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
For more guidance and information related to the COVID-19:
Coronavirus Fact Sheet
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Confirmed Cases in the U.S.
BayState Health/ COVID-19
Corona Outbreak Simulator
Bill S.2598 Waiver of the One Week Waiting Period for Unemployment Benefits
Department of Unemployment Assistance: Applying for Unemployment Benefits
Legislation Filing Package: https://www.mass.gov/doc/march-16-2020-unemployment-insurance-legislation-filing-package/download
Resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19
Small Business Assistance for COVID-19
> EIDL - Worksheet & Instructions download
How to Apply:
Please complete the application found on MGCC’s website, EmpoweringSmallBusiness.org.
Completed applications can be sent via email to email@example.com with the subject line “2020 Small Business Recovery Loan Fund”.
Loan Fund Details:
Who Qualifies: Open to Massachusetts-based businesses impacted by COVID-19 with under 50 full- and part-time employees, including nonprofits (negative impact must be verifiable).
Terms and Conditions: This fund is being offered with no payments due for the first 6 months, then 30-months of principal and interest payments and no prepayment penalties.
Businesses can apply for loans up to $75,000.