The Town of Arlington is committed to supporting the business community during this difficult period of closures and restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19 infections in our region. Ongoing updates are being posted on the Town's website regarding our comprehensive response to COVID-19. Please contact Ali Carter, Economic Development Coordinator, at email@example.com, if you have any questions or need assistance navigating these resources.
For guidance and information for residents and consumers visiting Arlington establishments, please visit Reopening Arlington Safely.
Arlington Economic Development Recovery Task Force
The Arlington Economic Development Recovery Task Force includes representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Select Board, the Park and Recreation Department, the Office of the Town Manager, the Arlington Redevelopment Board and the Department of Planning and Community Development. These Town officials and their boards and committees establish, create, and implement policies and regulations that will help drive and revive our town's economic recovery. The role of business owners, nonprofit leaders, property owners, banking executives, and others on the Task Force is to provide the Town with guidance in order to create policies and procedures in Arlington that meet real needs and address concerns of health and safety as businesses are allowed to reopen by the state. The contributions of members of this Task Force will also inform the town's longer-term economic recovery to ensure the long-term health and stability of our business districts.
Additional Information on Task Force
Agendas and Minutes
May 11 & 12, 2020 Agenda and Minutes
May 18, 2020 Agenda and Minutes
May 26, 2020 Agenda and Minutes
June 2, 2020 Agenda
June 9, 2020 Agenda
June 16, 2020 Agenda
June 23, 2020 Agenda
June 30, 2020 Agenda
July 8, 2020 Agenda
July 14, 2020 Agenda
July 28, 2020 Agenda
Governor Signed To-Go Cocktail Bill
On July 20th, Governor Baker signed a bill that will allow restaurants to sell sealed containers of mixed drinks with delivery or takeout food orders. This law follows a law signed in April which allows restaurants to sell beer and wine with takeout or delivery. Mixed drinks must be sold in sealed containers and customers will be limited to 64 ounces of mixed drinks per transaction. Read the law here.
Phase III Step 1 Reopening
The Baker-Polito Administration announced that on Monday, July 6, 2020. Phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan will begin and updates on gatherings will be in effect. The Department of Public Health (DPH) also issued updated guidance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- Movie theaters and outdoor performance venues;
- Museums, cultural and historical sites;
- Fitness centers and health clubs;
- Certain indoor recreational activities with low potential for contact;
- Professional sports teams, under the authority of league-wide rules, may hold games without spectators
Businesses and sectors set to begin opening in Phase III are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards. As always, we recommend that businesses consult sector-specific protocols and the When Can My Business Reopen? pages at www.mass.gov/reopening.
Please see the press release for additional information regarding Step One of Phase III, the revised gatherings order, and public health guidance.
Phase II Reopening
The Baker-Polito Administration announced that Step Two of Phase II of the Commonwealth’s four-phase reopening plan, Reopening Massachusetts, will begin on Monday, June 22 to allow additional industries to resume operations under sector-specific guidelines.
Businesses and sectors set to begin operating in Step Two of Phase II are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards.
On May 18, the Administration released a four-phased plan to reopen the economy based on public health data, spending at least three weeks in each phase. Key public health data, such as new cases and hospitalizations, has been closely monitored and seen a significant decline allowing for Step Two of Phase II to begin on June 22.
The following will be eligible to reopen in Step Two of Phase II on Monday, June 22:
- Indoor table service at restaurants;
- Close contact personal services, with restrictions;
- Retail dressing rooms, by appointment only;
- Offices, at 50 percent capacity
Full list and safety protocols available at www.mass.gov/reopening.
In order to give Step 2 businesses time to prepare, the Administration had previously released sector-specific guidance in advance of Phase II for industries including restaurants, close-contact personal services and sectors not otherwise addressed:
- Guidance for Restaurants
- Guidance for Close-Contact Personal Services
- Guidance for Other Industries
- Guidance for Sectors Not Otherwise Addressed
Before these sectors can resume operations under the guidelines, businesses must meet all safety standards, create a COVID-19 control plan, and complete a self-certification.
Steps to Take When Reopening Your Business
The following are key steps businesses should take as they look ahead to reopening:
- Read the guidance for reopening:
- Develop a COVID-19 Control Plan:
- You may use the COVID-19 Control Plan template or create your own written plan.
- All businesses in the Commonwealth must develop a written control plan outlining how its workplace will comply with the mandatory safety standards for operation in the COVID-19 reopening period.
- Control plans do not need to be submitted for approval but must be kept on premises and made available in the case of an inspection or outbreak.
- Before reopening, the business must meet the Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards and attest to compliance:
- Reopen brick-and-mortar operations safely and in line with guidance:
These standards will be jointly enforced by local Boards of Health and the state’s Department of Labor Standards (DLS).
Businesses play a key role in setting a standard for safe public interactions and in restoring consumer confidence.
By adhering to these mandatory standards and best practices, businesses, employees, and customers will ensure Massachusetts is able to progress from Phase 1 to Phase 4, the “New Normal.” It’s all of our responsibility to ensure we move forward, and not backwards, in reopening the Massachusetts economy.
Resources for Reopening your Business
MassDevelopment's Commonwealth Places grant funding is being made available to help community partners prepare public space and commercial districts to best serve their population during communities’ economic recovery efforts. Eligible projects may include outdoor seating spaces, sidewalk retail venues, partitions to support social distancing, and more. Non-profits and community groups are eligible to apply for grant awards of up to $25,000. Up to $10,000 per project may be awarded as an unmatched grant; awards greater than $10,000 must be matched with crowdfunding donations. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until July 31, 2020. Read more in the Request for Proposals here.
The Purchasing Hygienic or Protective Supplies page includes information for employers and employees about supplies needed to return to workplaces, as well as a Vendor Tool to assist businesses in locating and purchasing hygienic and protective supplies
Department of Public Health’s Safer-At-Home Advisory gives key guidance for all residents of the Commonwealth, including employers and employees, during Phase 1. Please note, businesses authorized to operate under Phase 1 are not subject to the 10-person limitation on gatherings.
The MA Small Biz Reopening Guide is an online resource created through a partnership between Mass Growth Capital Corp. (MGCC) and Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corps. The site helps businesses navigate available guidance and tools that will help them reopen safely and successfully.
Small Business Strong is a public-private partnership that offers access to information, business advisors, and functional specialists to help small business navigate the impacts of COVID-19.
Note for retail businesses: retail businesses may engage in curbside pickup sales as of May 25th. Please check the Essential Services FAQ document for current guidance on remote fulfillment.
Arlington-Specific Reopening Guidance
The Arlington Board of Health released the following sector-specific guidance for Arlington businesses:
Please contact the Health Department with any questions at (781) 316-3170 with any questions about the Arlington-specific reopening guidance.
The Town of Arlington fast tracked its retail grocery permitting process to allow restaurants, suffering under the combined weights of social distancing and minimum orders from suppliers, the right to sell food inventory, including meat, eggs, milk and more, to consumers. Restaurants interested in the special permit can fill out the Temporary Change of Food Operation-Plan Review Application.
Open Businesses in Arlington
The Town is maintaining a list of open businesses in Arlington. The listings will be updated at least once daily. Please contact businesses directly before placing and order or going to their establishment to confirm that they are open, as the information on this list is subject to change.
The SBA is once again accepting applications for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and EIDL Advance. Businesses can submit applications here.
The SBA and Treasury released revised guidance documenting recent changes to the PPP program outlined in the PPP Flexibility Act. Businesses have up to 10 months following the “covered period” of their loan to submit their loan forgiveness form.
- Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
- Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
- Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.
Main Street Lending Program
The Main Street Lending Program is another CARES Act loan program available for small- to medium-sized businesses. This program will be implemented by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and will allow businesses to access loan capital with deferred payments.
This program is just ramping up and has opened up registration for lenders via an online portal this week. When the program opens applications, eligible businesses will access this loan program through participating lenders. Businesses must have 15,000 or fewer employers and under $5B in 2019 revenue; businesses that receive a loan must also make an effort to maintain payroll. Read more about eligibility, program structure, and access on the Program Overview for Borrowers page.
Technical Assistance for Businesses
- The Small Business Administration’s Boston District Office connects small business owners to information and technical assistance through SBA Resource Partners. These partners can provide remote counseling, workshops, and other support to businesses navigating the impacts of COVID-19 and include:
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs): A network of centers that provide counseling and training to help small business owners start, grow and expand their business. Find an SBDC.
- SCORE: Volunteer business counselors, advisors, and mentors who offer individual free to low cost counseling throughout the U.S. and its territories. Find a SCORE mentor.
- Women’s Business Centers: WBCs provide free to low cost counseling and training and focus on women who want to start, grow and expand their small business. Find a WBC.
- Veterans Business Outreach Centers: Designed to provide entrepreneurial development services and referrals for eligible veterans owning or considering starting a small business. Find a VBOC.
- Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) also has dedicated tools to support companies managing the impacts of COVID-19 on their businesses.
- The COVID-19 Small Business Stabilization Network consists of MGCC Small Business Technical Assistance grantees, nonprofit organizations offering small business supports, including lending, financial education, and business coaching. Read about the COVID-19 Small Business Stabilization Network here. You can also consult a list of technical assistance providers participating in the Network.
- Translation Services for Paycheck Protection Program applications are available through MGCC’s partners across the state. This service will be available in 19 languages. Access Translation Services here. Again, businesses should consider preparing an application in the event that additional funding becomes available.
The Baker-Polito Administration announced administrative tax relief measures for small local businesses which have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. This tax relief includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20.
During the week of June 15, the Administration announced additional administrative tax relief measures for local businesses that have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. This tax relief builds upon previous similar tax extensions and includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes for small businesses that would be due from March through August, so that they will instead be due in September. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.
- Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes, and businesses that paid less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes.
- For businesses with meals tax and room occupancy tax obligations that do not otherwise qualify for this relief, late-file and late-pay penalties will be waived during this period.
The Department of Revenue will issue emergency regulations and a Technical Information Release to implement these administrative relief measures.
State Implements Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
Massachusetts residents who are eligible for the federal CARES Act and qualify for having exhausted their regular unemployment compensation may now receive the new Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). The launch of this program marks the third and final benefit available for the Commonwealth through the CARES Act. Read the full release.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is now accepting applications; this program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a COVID-19 related reason, but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. This includes the self-employed, independent contractors, workers with limited work history, and others. Individuals can review eligibility scenarios and apply for PUA.
Please visit the Department of Unemployment Assistance’s website to learn more about Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. You can also consult the FAQ for additional information.
The MA Department of Unemployment Assistance has resources for employees.
- To file for unemployment benefits online, click here.
- For assistance by phone, call (617) 626-6338, daily 6 a.m.–10 p.m. Voice relay 711 via their website.
- The Boston Globe published this helpful article on applying for unemployment in MA due to the health crisis.
- The MA Department of Unemployment Assistance gives daily presentations online and by phone detailing the process of filing for unemployment step by step.
- Información de desempleo de Massachusetts sobre el virus COVID-19 en Español esta aqui.
The WorkShare program, a tool to help employers avoid layoffs during a downturn.
The Rapid Response program, which works closely with companies to avert layoffs and keep a skilled workforce engaged in the existing regional economy or industry.
Governor Baker extended the pause on evictions and foreclosures for 60 days, until October 17, 2020, through the authority granted to the governor by Chapter 65 of the Acts of 2020, An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Emergency, which was signed into law on April 20, 2020.
Small business and residential tenants are strongly encouraged to continue to pay rent, and homeowners to make their mortgage payments, to the extent they are able. To assist low-income households in making rent and mortgage payments, as well as support landlords needing these rent payments to pay expenses, the Baker-Polito Administration launched a new $20 million, statewide fund, the Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) program, on July 1st.
This moratorium provides temporary protections for both residential tenants and small businesses that are unable to pay rent, in an effort to stabilize homes and commercial spaces during the COVID-19 crisis. The law also prohibits proceedings on residential foreclosures during the COVID-19 crisis.
- While this bill does not relieve a residential or commercial tenant of their responsibility to pay their rent or mortgage, it does offer protection for those who are unable to make these payments as result of the economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
- Under this legislation, a landlord cannot file a complaint in court to evict an eligible small business for a non-essential purpose (i.e. a purpose that does not pose a health or safety risk). Eligible small businesses are businesses which operate only in Massachusetts, have 150 or fewer employees, and are not publicly traded.This moratorium will last through October 17, 2020.
- The law does not eliminate or reduce an obligation to pay rent. Businesses that are able to pay rent should continue to do so, and should work collaboratively with their landlords when they are unable to pay rent due.
- Under this legislation, landlords may not apply late fees or negatively report to credit bureaus if the tenant sends a timely notice that the non-payment of rent was the result of a financial hardship caused by COVID-19. Evictions may still proceed when a tenant’s lease violation creates a health or safety risk for others.
Eligible small businesses can use the Form of Notice – COVID-19 Hardship – Small Business Tenant and the Documentation of Financial Hardship – Small Business Tenant forms to provide the required notice to their landlord of their inability to pay rent. Access these forms and Emergency Regulations here.
Guidance and Resources for Businesses
CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Guidance
Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Guidance
National Main Street Center Resources
Mainvest Main Street Initiative
US Department of Commerce Coronavirus Special Topic Conference Call Series
Facebook for Business COVID-19 Resource Hub
Eversource COVID-19 Resources
COVID Relief Coalition--Relief and Legal Assistance Resources for Massachusetts Small Businesses and Nonprofits
LISC Small Business Recovery Grant Program for Massachusetts
Technical Assistance Resources for Small Businesses
Massachusetts Small Business Development Center
Small Business Strong
The Mass Save Program is offering a no-cost virtual energy assessments and will cover 100 percent of the cost of common energy saving measures for small businesses. Small retailers, professional offices, manufacturers, restaurants, independent grocers or any small business using 1.5 million kWh or less each year can contact their Mass Save program sponsor to learn more and request a virtual assessment. This enhanced approach is available through August 31, 2020 or while funding lasts. Learn more.
Guidance and Resources for Restaurants
Guidance and Resources for Nonprofits, Artists, and the Arts and Culture Sector
Mass Cultural Council
Americans for the Arts Resource and Response Center
The Boston Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund
Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide