COVID-19 Executive Briefing: AMA with EOHED Secretary Michael Kennealy

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MassTLC has been actively working the COVID-19 situation with our community, conducting research and focus groups with tech CEOs and other leaders, sharing information about state and federal programs, and providing critical insight briefs to our members. As part of this effort, we are also engaging political leaders and other experts on the front lines of the business side of the situation.

We have been working closely with the Baker Administration to flow critical information in both directions between the Administration and the tech community and have participated in regular briefings with Administration officials. Seeking to also give our member executives an opportunity for direct communications, we hosted an Ask Me Anything (AMA) video session with the Commonwealth’s Secretary for Housing and Economic Development, Michael Kennealy, to learn about resources and support being offered by the Baker-Polito Administration during the COVID-19 situation.

Secretary Kennealy expressed that he and the Administration recognize the tremendous impact that social distancing is having on business and stressed that the health and welfare of the citizens of Massachusetts must be their priority. The Administration is taking many steps to mitigate the adverse impacts on the private sector. The Secretary shared insights into programs and welcomed feedback from participating executives.

Highlights of the call included:

  • Federal programs. The Administration is working closely with the SBA to help industry engage with programs such as the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). Further, the state is working with the region’s banks and insurance agencies to ensure they show flexibility and leniency to their customers as these funds flow through.
  • State programs. The Administration has deferred personal income tax until July 15th. They have waived the unemployment insurance waiting period for individuals enabling them to collect unemployment payments more quickly. And they are working with employers and the state on the Workshare program to help ease layoffs.
  • The Governor recently signed into law legislation enabling MA-based public companies to conduct shareholder meetings virtually to assist with social distancing while ensuring business continuity.
  • The Baker-Polito Administration has established the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (M-ERT) to mobilize, organize, and operationalize critical path work streams necessary for Massachusetts manufacturers to pivot their operations to produce needed materials in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations interested in joining the effort can sign up here.

Watch the full presentation below.