Senate President’s Message on COVID-19


Senate President Karen Spilka’s message on COVID-19

I am writing to you to provide information and resources about coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in Massachusetts. This is a rapidly-evolving situation, and I know that there is a level of uncertainty in our communities. I can assure you, however, that I am working closely with state and local leaders to take steps to address the public health, economic and civic impacts of this pandemic.
I have added a page to my website, Coronavirus Updates, that I will keep updated with the latest information. Please feel free to bookmark it and check it often for the latest updates and guidance.
This week, the Legislature passed a $15 million supplemental budget to assist the Administration in its efforts to contain, mitigate and combat the spread of coronavirus. You can read more here.
In addition, Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency. This will support the state’s response to coronavirus by providing additional resources to respond to the outbreak. On March 13, Governor Baker issued an emergency order prohibiting most gatherings of over 250 people in the Commonwealth.
I have appointed a Senate Working Group led by the Senate Chair of Public Health, Jo Comerford, to develop responses to the challenges we face in the Commonwealth as we move through this public health crisis. Our primary goal is to protect the health and well being of our residents, and identify areas where the Senate can take action to help residents, communities and businesses.
The state Senate also took steps to reduce the risk of Senate employees and the public by urging Senate offices to develop flexible staffing plans to reduce the number of people in the State House. The Senate also joined with the House in canceling or postponing all scheduled events. As of Friday, March 13, the State House remains open to the public, although we are urging Senators, staff and the public to convert in-person meetings to conference calls or virtual meetings for the time being.
I urge local officials to contact my office with questions and concerns as we navigate our way through this unprecedented time. I realize there are many open questions about schools and municipal management, and my office can take steps to help if we know what the needs are. In the meantime, here are some updates I can share:
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has provided resources specific to the coronavirus crisis, and you can find a full list of those resources here.
As we are doing here in the State House, I’d like to strongly encourage employers across the Commonwealth to allow their employees to work remotely for the foreseeable future. I recognize that working remotely is not always feasible in certain industries, but if it is at all possible or practical, please consider it. We must do everything we can to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, and this is one way we can accomplish that.
I ask you to please contact my office if you need assistance in any way during this time. You can always reach out by calling 617-722-1500 or emailing