Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has provided a comprehensive COVID19 resource page that includes helpful info on employee rights, earned sick time, healthcare and insurance, childcare, scams, small businesses and more:
THE STATE OF EMERGENCY IN MASSACHUSETTS ENDED ON JUNE 15, 2021.
TO CONTINUE TRACKING PRESS RELEASES RELATED TO COVID-19, PLEASE VISIT MASS.GOV.
JANUARY 15, 2021 – Colonial Automotive to Pay $1 Million for Exploiting State Unemployment System During the Pandemic
Colonial Automotive Group, Inc. (Colonial) has agreed to pay $1 million in penalties to settle claims that it took advantage of state unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, Attorney General Maura Healey announced. Following the state’s mandated closure of car dealership showrooms during the public health crisis, the company encouraged furloughed employees to apply for benefits through the state Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), and then requested that those employees continue to work without pay. Learn more.
JANUARY 7, 2021 – AG Healey Issues Advisory to Inform Tenants of Their Rights During the COVID-19 Pandemic
With hundreds of eviction cases piling up in the courts, Attorney General Maura Healey issued an advisory to ensure tenants who are facing financial hardship and are at risk of losing their homes are aware of their rights and know how to access state assistance programs. Learn more.
DECEMBER 30, 2020 – AG Healey Cautions Residents About COVID-19 Vaccine Scams
As Massachusetts proceeds with its first phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Attorney General Maura Healey is advising residents about potential scams and misinformation intended to exploit the pandemic, while reminding residents to have confidence in the vaccination process. According to the AG’s Office, potential scams have already begun to emerge, falsely promising early access to the vaccine, promoting disinformation, and presenting risks related to unsolicited offers asking for payment and personal information. Learn more.
DECEMBER 22, 2020 – Local Travel Company to Provide Refunds to Hundreds of Families for School Trips Cancelled Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
A local travel company based in Pocasset will provide more than $100,000 in refunds to over 450 families for students whose educational tours were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Attorney General Maura Healey announced. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the AG’s Office has secured nearly $12 million in total travel refunds from various companies, resulting in payments to more than 6,000 consumers in Massachusetts. Learn more.
DECEMBER 21, 2020 – AG Healey Issues Advisory on COVID-19 Related Surcharges at Dental Practices
Attorney General Maura Healey issued an advisory to notify consumers and dental practices about their rights and responsibilities concerning additional fees for COVID-19 infection control, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and related materials. Learn more.
DECEMBER 10, 2020 – Issues Advisory to Support Food Pantries and Fight Food Insecurity
As the COVID-19 public health crisis continues to cause enormous financial hardship for residents across the state and food insecurity is on the rise, Attorney General Maura Healey issued an advisory to assist food pantries as they prevent hunger and ensure those seeking assistance do not face barriers to accessing food. The advisory from the AG’s Office, drafted in collaboration with The Greater Boston Food Bank, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, and Central West Justice Center, aims to help food pantries adopt best practices to reduce barriers to access to food assistance for vulnerable residents. Learn more.
SEPTEMBER 29, 2020 – There Is Help Available for Customers to Pay Home Heating Bills As Cold Weather Approaches Amid Covid-19 Pandemic
With winter approaching, Attorney General Maura Healey has issued guidance for Massachusetts customers experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic and needing assistance paying home heating bills. Learn more.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2020 – AG Healey Announces Criminal Charges Against Superintendent and Former Medical Director of Holyoke Soldiers’ Home for Their Roles in Deadly COVID-19 Outbreak
Superintendent Bennett Walsh and former Medical Director David Clinton of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke (SHH) have been indicted on criminal neglect charges for their roles in the deadly COVID-19 outbreak that contributed to the death of at least 76 residents at the facility, Attorney General Maura Healey announced. Learn more.
AUGUST 13, 2020 – Issues Updated Advisory to Small Businesses about Protections under State’s Eviction Moratorium
Attorney General Maura Healey has issued an updated advisory to small businesses across Massachusetts regarding the protections provided under the state’s eviction moratorium. The updated advisory, originally published in March, provides a wide range of information and resources for small business owners. The advisory was recently updated with information regarding the Massachusetts Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium, which, in many circumstances, forbids landlords from evicting small business tenants for the duration of the moratorium. However, the moratorium does not relieve a small business tenant from the obligation to pay rent or restrict a landlord’s ability to evict a small business tenant for failing to pay past due rent after the moratorium ends. Learn more.
JULY 17, 2020 – Calls for Extension of Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium
With the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures set to expire in just over a month, Attorney General Maura Healey is calling on Governor Charlie Baker to use his statutory authority to extend the law that temporarily prohibits Massachusetts landlords from evicting tenants from their homes, and lenders from foreclosing on most homes, in light of the continuing COVID-19 public health crisis. Learn more. (The moratorium was extended until October 17, 2020.)
JUNE 25, 2020 – Advisory to Small Businesses Seeking to Obtain Paycheck Protection Program Loans
Attorney General Maura Healey today published an advisory providing support for small businesses looking to apply for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The advisory is designed to answer common questions about the program and provide information for small business owners looking to apply. The AG’s Office is making the advisory available on its website and is also reaching out to various small business trade associations to urge them to have their members consider applying for PPP assistance. Learn more.
JUNE 9, 2020 – Advises Residents about Fraudulent Unemployment Assistance Claims
Attorney General Maura Healey advised residents to be aware of reports of consumer data being stolen by criminal enterprises to file fraudulent unemployment claims through state unemployment agencies nationwide, including the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
AG Healey recommends that consumers affected by these unemployment fraud scams take the following steps:
- Report the fraud
- Secure your accounts
- Check your credit report
- Freeze your credit
- Add a fraud alert
- Keep records
Read more about what you can do to protect yourself here.
MAY 27, 2020 – Awards $500,000 to Provide Relief to Small Businesses During COVID-19 Pandemic
A grant program through Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office will award $500,000 to provide financial relief to small businesses impacted by closures and losses as a result of COVID-19. The AG’s Small Business Relief Partnership Grant Program will provide funding to municipalities and regional planning agencies that are assisting small businesses in the communities they serve. Grant funds will be distributed by these organizations to help small businesses address fixed debt, payroll, accounts payable, lost sales, lost opportunities, and other working capital expenses incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.
MAY 20, 2020 – The Attorney General’s office has launched a new online complaint form specifically for employees to report unsafe working conditions related to COVID-19 as the Commonwealth begins the reopening process. Call 617-727-3465 or file your complaint here.
MAY 8, 2020 – Attorney General Maura Healey issued an advisory to ensure residential landlords and tenants are aware of their obligations and rights under the law during the COVID-19 public health crisis in light of a new law that temporarily prohibits evictions in Massachusetts.
Under the recently enacted legislative moratorium, landlords cannot evict tenants from their homes. This means that, under most circumstances:
- Evictions can’t be filed in court;
- A landlord can’t terminate a tenancy, or send a notice to vacate the residence;
- The deadline to respond to or appear in court for any eviction cases filed before the law went into effect has been extended until after the emergency moratorium is lifted; and,
- Constables are prevented from moving a tenant out of the property.
Read more here.
MAY 7, 2020 – Attorney General Maura Healey launched an information campaign highlighting critical resources available for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault during the COVID-19 pandemic. The AG’s Office created a dedicated webpage compiling these resources and partnered with the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) to create and distribute multilingual resource flyers across the state. Learn more.
MAY 1, 2020 – The Attorney General’s office has developed COVID-19 specific flyers and resources. The Equal Access to Care flyer includes information on a person’s rights to health care regardless of immigration status, and the importance of not being afraid to seek medical care during this crisis if you are sick, injured, or need routine care. The AG’s Office urges anyone who is sick with COVID-19-like symptoms or knows that they have been exposed to the virus, not to hesitate to seek medical attention and care, regardless of their immigration status or insurance coverage. You can download that flyer here.
The COVID-19 Protections flyer includes information about how people in Massachusetts are safeguarded from a number of concerns stemming from this crisis, including eviction and foreclosure, debt collection, utility shutoffs, price gouging, and discrimination. The flyer also lists financial assistance that people may qualify for including cash grants from nonprofit organizations and charities, unemployment benefits, earned sick time, emergency childcare, and relief through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Other benefits, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program may be available through the state’s Department of Transitional Assistance and Department of Public Health. You can download that flyer here.
APRIL 24, 2020 – Attorney General extending deadlines, signature guidance for non-profit and charities filing
Because of widespread disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Attorney General’s Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division is extending by six months the deadlines for annual charities filings for fiscal year 2019. In addition, where a signature is required, the Division will accept original signatures, photocopies of signatures, and e-signatures (e.g., DocuSign).
APRIL 16, 2020 – Attorney General’s Office Announces Small Business Relief Partnership Grant Program
The AG’s Small Business Relief Partnership Grant Program will provide funding to municipalities and regional planning agencies who are assisting small businesses in the communities they serve. Grant funds will be distributed by these organizations to help small businesses address fixed debt, payroll, accounts payable, lost sales, lost opportunities, and other working capital expenses incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This grant was funded by settlement funds secured by the AG’s Office. Grant awards will be issued in varying amounts up to $500,000, and individual requests may not exceed $50,000. As a condition of receiving the grant, all funds must be distributed directly to small businesses, and no portion of these funds may be used to defray administrative or operational costs. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis until funds are depleted. For more information, please visit: www.mass.gov/ago/grants.
The Small Business Relief Fund Grant Program is now closed and not accepting new applications.
APRIL 16, 2020 – The AG’s Office joined a coalition of law firms, nonprofits, and government agencies—led by Ropes & Gray, Lawyers for Civil Rights, and Lawyers Clearinghouse—to launch the COVID Relief Coalition to provide vulnerable businesses and mission-driven organizations with pro bono legal support. Coalition partners have created a new website that will support the Coalition’s mission by enabling small businesses and nonprofits to learn about and apply for emergency loans and other sources of relief. The website will connect eligible small businesses and nonprofits to free legal support by Coalition partners, and can be accessed here: https://www.covidreliefcoalition.com/en
In addition to the AG’s Office, Coalition partners include the City of Boston, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Boston Bar Association, The Boston Foundation, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, Dechert, Fish & Richardson, Foley Hoag, Foley & Lardner, Goodwin, Goulston & Storrs, Mintz, Morgan Lewis and WilmerHale.
APRIL 14, 2020 – The Attorney General’s Office rolled out FrontlineMA.org, a resource to connect frontline workers with various supports such as free/discounted meals, guidance on accessing PPE and priority testing, emergency child care, and alternate housing options
APRIL 14, 2020 – The Attorney General’s Office issued guidance that emergency funds for consumers through the CARES Act are exempt from seizure or garnishment by creditors under Massachusetts law. More information can be found here
MARCH 27, 2020 – The Attorney General issued emergency regulations on Unfair and Deceptive Debt Collection Practices During the State of Emergency Caused by COVID-19 and Price Gouging.
MARCH 20, 2020 – The Attorney General filed an emergency regulation to prohibit price gouging of essential products and services during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Effective immediately, the regulation prohibits price gouging of goods and services necessary for public health and safety during a declared statewide or national emergency. Read more here.
The AGO is asking residents to report price gouging of products, including PPE, to their office. Individuals can file a complaint online. If individuals are unable to file online, they can call our Consumer Hotline at 617-727-8400.
MARCH 19, 2020 – The Attorney General asked and answered some frequently asked questions on employee rights and employer obligations with regard to COVID-19. The full guidance from the Attorney General can be foundhere.
MARCH 10, 2020 – Attorney General Maura Healey issued a warning to Massachusetts residents to be on alert for individuals and businesses that may try to take advantage of uncertainty about the coronavirus. Read more here.
- Information about sick time laws: 617-727-3465
- Help with insurance claims or medical bills: 888-830-6277
- Report price gouging or defective products: 617-727-8400
- If you’re having difficulty negotiating a travel refund or are concerned about a potential scam, consider filing a complaint here.
The Attorney General’s Community Engagement Division is offering webinars to assist service providers and community members on housing rights and scams. More information can be found here
- Attorney General’s Office Resource Page During COVID-19
- COVID-19 Relief Coalition
- Attorney General’s Office Health Care and Insurance Guide
- File a Consumer Complaint Online
- Debt Collection Practices FAQ
4th Middlesex District Resources & Information:
COVID-19 Constituent Resource Guide