COVID-19 Update: Governor Baker Announces Phase 3 Rollback
On December 8, Governor Baker announced that all Massachusetts communities would be moving back to step 1 of phase 3 of reopening on Sunday, December 13 to help fight the current surge of COVID-19 cases. More than 50 communities are currently in step 1 of that phase, while the rest, considered lower risk, are in step 2. This change does not have any direct implications for residential real estate. A table outlining business sector guidance and the differences between steps 1 and 2 of phase 3 is available here.
During the press conference announcing the above changes, the Governor also touched on two important issues related to our advocacy. First, he urged passage of additional federal COVID-19 relief, specifically citing the need to extend Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides unemployment benefits to independent contractors. We have been working with NAR to promote the importance of extending this program. We were also pleased to see the Governor respond to a question about eviction moratoria with optimism, stressing that the state has a lot of funding available to support property owners and renters. Since the spring, we have been urging the state to provide financial assistance supporting housing stability. The Governor’s Eviction Diversion Initiative and Legislature’s funding of Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and related programs represent a strong commitment to provide that assistance and we applaud them for taking these steps.