This week’s summary also includes information about Case Counts, Flu Clinics, Emergency Rental Assistance, Update on Dining, and a Halloween Update
The semi-weekly update is also available in the following places if you’d like to share with your friends:
The MA DPH is reporting COVID-19 data on a community level and releasing the data weekly on Wednesdays. Based on this data, each city or town is designated a color – gray, green, yellow, or red. Gray and green are lower risk communities, yellow represents a moderate risk community, and red represents a higher risk community. Based on data reported by the state through yesterday, Wednesday, September 23, 2020, Bedford remains a green community, the same category as last week. The color-coded relative risk designation established by the state is a tool that can be used by the Town to set policy and implement safety protocols for the protection of the community. In the coming weeks, this data will continue to be updated by the state on a weekly basis. For the current color-coded risk map, please navigate to https://www.mass.gov/info-details/community-level-covid-19-data-reporting.
Influenza Vaccine Clinics
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever. The flu season traditionally starts in September and ends in April with a peak in cases from January through March.
In an effort to protect people who live and work in Bedford from getting the flu, the Bedford Board of Health has scheduled FREE flu clinics during the months of September through November at the Town Campus on Mudge Way. These flu clinics will be done via drive-thru (in-vehicle) and an outdoor (under a tent) walk-thru model. These clinics will require on-line registration in advance of attendance at a clinic. The registration process will collect your personal and insurance information via a HIPAA compliant portal. This model for flu clinic registration and vaccine administration will help minimize contact and exchange of paper. Specific instructions will be emailed to you prior that communicate flu clinic expectations.
To register for a flu immunization appointment date/time, please visit https://www.bedfordma.gov/bedford-board-of-health/pages/flu-clinic-information-community.
Walk-ups and unregistered drive-ups will not be served at the drive-thru clinics. If you do not have a vehicle or prefer to walk, please register for the outdoor walk-thru clinic. Also, please continue to check the above registration website for up to date information on clinic offerings as expanded appointment opportunities and additional clinic dates may be added in the future.
The flu clinics are free and open to those who live in work in Bedford and are 6 months of age and older. High dose flu shots are available for those 65 years and older. Please wear clothing that allows for easy access to your arm for vaccine administration. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. School-based clinics will be scheduled to provide opportunities for Bedford Public School children to be vaccinated in school-based clinics, during the school day. These clinics will be announced in the coming weeks. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Board of Health at 781-275-6507.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program
The Town of Bedford is pleased to announce that through the Bedford Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, the Town will be offering an Emergency Rental Assistance Program during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Rental Assistance program will provide temporary rental assistance in the form of a grant, and will be administered through a collaboration with the Regional Housing Services Office (RHSO). The intent of this program is to help eligible households impacted financially by COVID-19 maintain housing stability during this time.
Please note the following for eligibility:
- You must be a Bedford resident who rents your home.
- Your household must have an income that is at or below 100% of the Area Median Income (for example, $119k for a family of four).
- You must need assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic impact.
The application period began Monday, September 21, 2020, and will be administered on a rolling basis.
The grants will be paid directly to landlords and will range from $350 to $800 monthly (depending on the number of bedrooms) for a total of four months. The program application, including frequently asked questions, is available at https://www.rhsohousing.org/bedford/urgent-alerts/covid-19-resources-bedford-households.
Please email or call Alyssa Sandoval at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-275-1111 or email the Regional Housing Services Office at info@RHSOhousing.org for additional information on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
Update on Dining
As of Monday, September 28th, all food establishments in Massachusetts are allowed to expand seating to a maximum of 10 in a party, with tables remaining 6 feet apart. Also, restaurants are now allowed to have dining and drinking when ordering food at their bar area provided that there are no active work areas or working staff behind the bar are at least 6 feet away, or there is a physical barrier (e.g. Plexiglas) separating customers from the bar space. In addition, parties must be seated at bars (no standing customer service) and parties must be spaced at least 6 feet from other parties.
Additionally, at its last meeting, the Bedford Select Board extended temporary outdoor dining permits through the end of 2020, as authorized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (and weather permitting, of course!). This means that the restaurants offering outdoor dining may continue to do so until December 31st.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many traditional Halloween activities can be high risk for spreading viruses. While trick-or-treating is able to occur this year in Bedford, in order to avoid a high risk situation for trick-or-treaters, candy givers and families, it will have to occur in an amended fashion in our current COVID-19 environment. On Tuesday, the CDC released guidance on lower, moderate, and higher risk activities for spreading/contracting COVID-19 while celebrating Halloween.
If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters. The MA DEP is expected to issue further guidance on Halloween in the coming days.
To view the current CDC guidance, navigate tohttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween.
As always stay safe, practice social distancing, and wear a mask!