With triple Boston’s rate of COVID-19 infection and six times the rate of Massachusetts as a whole, Chelsea’s 40,000 residents have experienced far more than their fair share of the pandemic. Chelsea is a close-knit community, so everyone knows someone who has gotten sick, and many know someone who has died. I'm a Jamaica Plain resident Stefanie Shull, and I run the CONNECT economic mobility partnership based at The Neighborhood Developers. CONNECT serves 3,500 people/year, most of whom live in Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Malden, and East Boston. Before the pandemic hit, I was focused on building more robust training and job placement services in the area, to take advantage of the strong economy. As the U.S. outbreak took hold in early March, it was clear that would need to be set aside. Having worked on post-Katrina recovery in Louisiana for three years, I felt like I had some idea of what was coming.
Eliminating self-serve coffee stations, having no more than four people in an elevator at one time, and other best public health practices are part of the city's recommended strategies to return to places of work. "Our first and foremost priority in making available these guidelines is to empower businesses and employers to act now and put in place safety precautions and protocols before beginning to reopen," said Mayor Marty Walsh. On Thursday the city announced guidance and operational recommendations for businesses, employers and commercial landlords to consider as part of their return-to-work strategies for office workplaces. These are not regulations, but additional considerations to supplement state and federal mandates around building and property management. Areas such as social distancing, hygiene protocols, staffing and operations, and cleaning and disinfecting, are specific to Phase 1 of the Commonwealth's phased reopening plan.
After 24 years of being a local bed and breakfast off Centre Street, the Taylor House announced the business is closing, and that the owners are selling the two houses of the inn. In an email to customers the proprietors Dave Elliott and Daryl Bichel addressed the B&B's closure:
"After years of competition from AirB&B and recent substantial losses due to the pandemic, we have found it necessary to sell our two houses. This was a very difficult decision, as we have many good memories associated with our 24 years in business - friendships, joyous events, concerts, dinners and more. We're grateful for your patronage." Then they asked for possible buyer referrals on the two large houses: 50 Burroughs St., 9 bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms; and 3 Agassiz Park, 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms.
The Brookside Community Health Center is offering free, no questions asked COVID-19 tests in its parking area. Gustavo Quiroga shared what his experience was like to get a test. The health center located at 3297 Washington St., is offering free testing Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. And yes, it is the nostril swab test that you may have heard about. And contrary to some places around the country where you have to wait days, Quiroga only had to wait 48 hours for his results.
Boston Scores, one of Boston Public School’s largest afterschool programs, has committed to distribute up to 5,000 non-surgical face masks to the students and families they serve. With the donation of masks, Jamaica Plain based Boston Scores is helping to meet one of the community’s most pressing health needs. Many of the students that Boston Scores serve live in family and community circumstances that are highly vulnerable: they lack financial security for unexpected expenses, they do not possess affordable and accessible healthcare, and they have few options to proactively minimize the economic and health risks of this pandemic. With PPE equipment in short supply, Boston Scores was able to reallocate a portion of its operating funding to purchase more than 5,000 masks to help its students and families to safely go outdoors, run errands and pursue other essential activities. The offer has been greatly appreciated by the community and more than half of the masks have already been allocated to schools and community partners in Roxbury and surrounding neighborhoods.