This week, we received two new updates related to COVID-19 recovery.
On Wednesday, Governor Baker signed a bill to restore several pandemic-era policies, allowing those that had expired to remain in place as the COVID-19 state of emergency came to an end on Tuesday at 12:01 AM.
The 14-page law includes details allowing restaurants to sell to-go beer, wine, and cocktails through May 1, 2022, and requires they be sold at the same prices as those consumed on-site. It also provides another boost for restaurants by extending the time towns and cities could allow for expanded outdoor dining at restaurants — which had been slated to end in mid-August — until April 1, 2022.
The bill also allows town councils, state boards, and other bodies to continue to hold remote public meetings, which many have continued to do as millions of people have become vaccinated, until April 1, 2022. Town meetings can be held remotely until December 15, 2021.
Additionally, the Administration announced a fresh round of state funding across four grant programs administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation
(MGCC) to help small businesses recover, grow, and thrive–totaling $30M.
Among these investments, the Administration announced the award of $4 million to 45 non-profit technical assistance providers to continue working with small businesses and entrepreneurs from traditionally underserved communities to grow and expand their businesses. In addition, the Administration announced $14.7 million in awards to 15 organizations under MGCC’s Community Development Financial Institution and Community Development Corporation’s (CDFI and CDC) Match Grant Program, which funds both lending and mini-grant programs for small businesses.
Complementing these investments, the Administration announced the launch of two new programs with $11.3 million available to support small businesses as they recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biz-M-Power program, and Empower Digital’s Development of Digital Capabilities grant program.