On June 29, Mayor Shaunna O’Connell announced that ten businesses impacted by Covid-19 are receiving grants to help offset their losses and increased expenses for operating during the pandemic.
“Our unemployment rate has now reached over 21 percent. We need to put people back to work. To help businesses survive this shutdown, we established a sustainability fund and today we are starting to issue the grants to our local businesses. I am glad to announce that we are now handing out grants across Taunton. This money will help revive our local economy,” said O’Connell.
The Mayor’s office collaborated with Neighborhood Corp, a local non-profit, to privately raise funds to create the Taunton Small Business Sustainability Fund. The funds are to help struggling local businesses and organizations. Bristol County Savings Bank donated $50,000, the Taunton Development Corporation donated $25,000 and the Crescent Credit Union contributed $2,500. “We are grateful for the generosity of these donors. They are truly invested in seeing our community succeed,” said O’Connell.
Donations to the fund can be made through the City of Taunton website under the “Small Business Grants” box. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis subject to availability of funds.
Businesses receiving the assistance from O’Connell include:
Open Door Yoga Studio, Acadia Seafood & Bar, Taunton Eagles Soccer Club, Platinum City Gaming, Tux Towne, Energy No Limit, Silver City Dance Center, Upside Down Escape Games, Girls Inc., and Our Daily Bread.
“Mayor O’Connell has been focused on helping the business community throughout the shutdown. She has taken action and shown true leadership in getting us through these challenging times,” said business owner Jose Bejarano of Tux Towne.
“I am so glad so many people came together to support our local businesses that create the majority of new jobs. They are the lifeblood of our local community,” said O’Connell. “Together, we can rebuild our robust economy.”
The Mayor is also urging people to shop locally.
“Now more than ever before, we should shop at our local stores. They were hit hard by the pandemic,” urged O’Connell, who has been a longtime supporter of small business.
On Friday, June 19, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that Step Two of Phase II of the Commonwealth’s four-phase reopening plan, Reopening Massachusetts, was to 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. Read the press release.
Taunton Mayor Shaunna O’Connell embraced the reopening of restaurants on June 8. Taunton City Hall is working to help these restaurants as smoothly and safely as possible by helping them expand and create outdoor dining opportunities.
“We have been working since the beginning of the pandemic to find ways to support our small business community and will continue to explore new ideas to help our fellow Tauntonians during these uncertain and unprecedented times. We want our local restaurants to be successful in their reopening so we are working with them to create outdoor dining,” said O’Connell.
O’Connell’s Open For Business Task Force has worked hard to expedite the process of providing more outdoor options for restaurants throughout Taunton. The law department, Licensing Commission, City Planner, and Councilor Coute worked in a coordinated effort to quickly create the guidelines and application as allowed by the Baker Administration.
Restaurant owners are encouraged to contact City Hall to receive assistance. City staff members are available and are ready to assist all applicants with reviewing and approving outdoor expansion plans.
“I am excited that we have reached a point in confronting this pandemic where restaurants can reopen. I look forward to dining out once again in Taunton with my family,” said O’Connell. “As I promised when running for Mayor, City Hall is to be a helping hand not a hindrance. We will work hand in hand with restaurants to get the outdoor space they need.”
Questions in advance of completing the application should be directed to the following individuals, depending on the nature of the question:
Liquor licensing: Design of outdoor spaces:
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Use of public parking lots: License Commission email@example.com
Review of site plans on private lots, ADA questions for city sidewalks and streets: Kevin Scanlon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions regarding the use of tents: Robert Pirozzi, email@example.com
COVID 19 requirements: Please refer to the reopening Massachusetts guidance pertaining to outdoor dining at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/safety-standards-and-checklist-restaurants . If you still have questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the Retail Business Safety
Standards & Checklist here.
The Baker-Polito Administration announced on Saturday, June 6 that Phase II of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan will begin on Monday, June 8.
Businesses and sectors set to begin opening in 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 Phase II to begin on June 8th.
Read the entire press release.
On June 1, Gov. Charlie Baker released workplace safety standards for retail businesses in advance of the state's initiation of Phase 2 to allow businesses time to prepare to operate in compliance with these mandatory health and safety standards. These workplace safety standards and the expanded opportunity they provide for in-store browsing and transactions will not be effective until Phase 2 of the Re-Opening Plan commences.
Gov. Baker will initiate Phase 2 of the Re-Opening Plan by formal Executive Order and only following a careful review of public health data. These standards apply, until rescinded or amended by the state, to all retail businesses except for farmers’ markets, which shall continue to be governed by Department of Public Health Guidance. These standards supersede and replace existing Department of Public Health guidance governing grocery stores and pharmacies.
Retail businesses that have been defined as providing Essential Services pursuant to COVID-19 Order No. 13 will be required to comply with these sector-specific safety protocols within one week of the date that retail businesses are authorized to open pursuant to the Governor’s Phase 2 reopening Order.
The City of Taunton has established a Small Business Recovery Grant Program to assist in the stabilization of existing small businesses which have undergone significant business disruption due to COVID-19. This program is for eligible applicants that can demonstrate hardship induced by COVID-19 and meet U.S. Housing and Urban Development requirements of income eligibility and job retention. The City of Taunton, Office of Economic and Community Development will accept pre-applications starting May 29, 2020 and they must be submitted by 12:00 Noon on Friday, June 12, 2020. Eligible Grantees will be selected by a lottery to be held on June 15, 2020.
On May 18, Mayor Shaunna O’Connell announced that Taunton will be ready for the phased reopening of the Commonwealth.
“I know that this pandemic has been a terrible burden on families with the loss of life and loss of income. To help, we have been working around the clock at city hall to help area businesses with a safe reopening. Our goal is to keep people healthy while getting them back to work,” said O’Connell. “Now that Gov. Baker has released the details of the plan, we will be working to implement them as quickly and safely as possible.”
Governor Charlie Baker formally announced his reopening plan May 18. Manufacturing, construction, and places of worship are the first to be able to open, but there will be restrictions to prevent the further spread of Covid-19. There are new requirements for essential businesses already operating. On May 25, laboratories, offices, car washes, hair salons, pet grooming and some outdoor recreational facilities can re-open. Healthcare providers can provide high-priority preventative care. Salons and pet grooming will be by appointment only and most city buildings will remain by appointment only at this point. The continuation of remote work is strongly encouraged. Emergency childcare facilities that have been operating may be used to meet the needs of people with no alternative for care.
The stay at home advisory is now a “safer at home advisory.” Safety precautions such as wearing masks, social distancing, hand washing, limited outings, and no gatherings over 10 people are still in place. People are encouraged to stay home unless they need to make an essential trip to a newly opened facility.
“I am urging my fellow Tauntonians to use social distancing, wash their hands and wear their masks to stop the spread so the state will continue with the next phase of reopening. Also, I am encouraging everyone to help our businesses get back on their feet by shopping locally. They need our support to survive and to help rehire area residents. Let’s help our neighbors by shopping locally as much as possible,” said O’Connell.
Phase one will last for at least three weeks. Links to information released by the state regarding the phased reopening plan have been posted on the City of Taunton website. Residents can also call the COVID-19 hotline at 774.406.5898 with questions.
O’Connell is working with the Board of Health on implementing the new restrictions. Her office is available to help any business with questions. “We want to be a resource for businesses as they work to reopen, not a heavy-handed enforcer. Together we can keep Taunton safe, healthy, and thriving once again,” said O’Connell.
Baker-Polito Administration Extends Non-Essential Business Closures to May 18th, Announces Reopening Advisory Board
Today, the Baker-Polito Administration extended the essential services emergency
order to May 18th and launched a Reopening Advisory Board that will produce a plan to the
Governor by May 18th. The Administration also announced that the Department of Public
Health’s Stay At Home Advisory remains in effect and gatherings of 10 or more people remain
prohibited until May 18th.
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 18th. 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
extends the existing ban on gatherings of more than 10 people until May 18th.
Stay at Home Advisory: Governor Charlie Baker announced that the Department of Public
Health’s stay-at-home advisory will remain in effect. Residents are strongly urged to stay home
and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary person to person contact during this time
period. Residents who are considered at high risk when exposed to COVID-19 should limit social
interactions with other people as much as possible.
Executive Branch Employee Guidance: The Baker-Polito Administration today also extended
the guidance issued to Executive Branch employees on protocol during the COVID-19 outbreak
to ensure state government can continue to provide key services while protecting the health
and safety of the public and the Executive Branch workforce. Under the guidance, all employees
performing non-core functions who are able to work remotely should continue to do so until
Reopening Advisory Board: Today, Governor Baker announced the formation of the Reopening
Advisory Board, which will be Co-Chaired by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and
Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. The Board brings public health officials
together with leaders from the business community and municipal government from across the
Commonwealth. This group is charged with advising the administration on strategies to reopen
the economy in phases based on health and safety metrics. It will meet with key stakeholders
and solicit input from a variety of constituencies over the next three weeks to develop a report
by May 18th that will include DPH approved workplace safety standards, industry frameworks
and customer protocols and guidelines, including enforcement mechanisms and coordination
with municipal leaders. This report is due on the 18th, but the administration has made clear
that public health data and guidance from health care experts will dictate the timeline of the reopening process.
The 17-member Advisory Board is composed of three public health officials, including
Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel, three municipal officials, and
eleven leaders from the business community, including MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie
Pollack. Members of the Advisory Board bring a range of perspectives to the table, such as an
understanding of workplaces and workforces and insights into key areas like financial markets,
education, manufacturing and transportation.
Reopening Advisory Board Members:
The City of Taunton and Taunton Emergency Task Force are teaming up to coordinate fundraising efforts to support City of Taunton residents most affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The City of Taunton COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will address the most vital needs of people in our community, including but not limited to children, seniors, first responders and healthcare workers, by funding nonprofit organizations that support the basic needs and/or health and wellness efforts related to the Corona Virus and its aftermath.
The Fund will award grants on a rolling basis to non-profit organizations whose operations support populations that have been substantially impacted by the outbreak. The Fund is designed to be adaptable in its goals and focus, which will evolve as community members and nonprofits in our region share their needs. Applications will be reviewed by the Fund’s committee members and approved based on need and eligibility criteria. An application process for agencies to apply will be available once funds begin to be received.
You can also donate via check: Make your check payable to: COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund
Mail payment to: Taunton Emergency Task Force, 30 Olney Street,Taunton, MA 02780