Federal Government Updates and Guidance

For up-to-the-minute information on COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The Biden Administration has maintained a website to keep the public informed about the outbreak: https://www.coronavirus.gov/

For a full list of information from federal agencies on how they’re responding to the coronavirus pandemic, visit: https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus

DECEMBER 15, 2020 – The FDA released data on biotechnology company Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, calling the two-dose regimen “highly effective” at preventing infection. The FDA was set to meet December 17 to discuss granting the vaccine an emergency use authorization (EAU).

DECEMBER 11, 2020 – The FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine. This is the first EUA issued for a vaccine developed to combat COVID-19. The EUA allows the vaccine to be distributed throughout the United States.

DECEMBER 8, 2020 – The FDA released a report summarizing Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine trials. The report said the data indicated the vaccine is safe and roughly 95% effective. An FDA advisory committee will meet on Dec. 10 to discuss emergency use authorization for the vaccine. Another meeting on Dec. 17 will consider the Moderna vaccine for emergency use authorization.

DECEMBER 2, 2020 – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance recommending that Americans forego traveling for Christmas.

NOVEMBER 30, 2020 – Biotechnology company Moderna announced it had applied for emergency use authorization from the FDA for its COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA was expected to meet on December 17 to review the application, a week after it was set to review a similar vaccine developed by pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

NOVEMBER 19, 2020 – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance discouraging people from traveling over Thanksgiving.

NOVEMBER 16,2020 – Biotechnology company Moderna announced that its coronavirus vaccine was 94.5% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 in a study of its vaccine trial. The federal government reached a $1.5 billion agreement with Moderna to buy 100 million doses of the vaccine. The federal government also supplied money for research and development.

NOVEMBER 9, 2020 – The FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for an antibody drug that can be used on patients with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.

SEPTEMBER 16, 2020 – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) released the Trump Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy, which includes guidance for working with states, tribes, territories, and local public health programs and a plan for distributing a vaccine as soon as one receives Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2020 – Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would remain in session until lawmakers come to an agreement on another coronavirus stimulus bill.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 – States had until September 10 to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for additional unemployment funds through the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2020 – The White House announced that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would issue a moratorium on residential evictions through December 31. The moratorium does relieve tenants of the responsibility of paying rent, and landlords can still evict tenants for reasons other than the nonpayment of rent.

AUGUST 21, 2020 – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention removed a recommendation that travelers quarantine for 14 days after returning from overseas or areas with high rates of COVID-19 spread.

AUGUST 8, 2020 – President Trump signed four executive orders for economic relief including a deferment of payroll taxes through the end of 2020 for Americans earning less than $100,000 per year, a deferment of student loan payments through the end of 2020, an extension of eviction moratoriums, and an extension of unemployment benefits with weekly payments at $400.

JULY 22, 2020 – Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech announced the execution of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense to meet the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed program goal to begin delivering 300 million doses of a vaccine for COVID-19 in 2021. Under the agreement, the U.S. government will receive 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, after Pfizer successfully manufactures and obtains approval or emergency use authorization from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Learn more.

MAY 15, 2020 The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) Act, which includes direct cash payments to families, hazard pay for essential workers, investment in testing, strengthened small business support and unemployment benefits, expanded food assistance, and rent and mortgage relief. The bill is now before the U.S. Senate for consideration. Learn more

MAY 7, 2020 The U.S. Economic Development Administration is now accepting applications from eligible grantees for CARES Act supplemental funds (EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance) intended to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. Get more information and apply here.

APRIL 27, 2020 – SBA Resumes Accepting PPP Applications
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that it will accept applications for the second round of funding of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from lenders. It is critically important that small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic work with their lender to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program as soon as possible. Businesses can access the SBA’s Find A Lender tool here.  

APRIL 27, 2020 – Stimulus Payments for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness
The IRS has released guidance with the specific goal of clarifying that homeless populations likely qualify for a stimulus payment, stressing that they may need to register utilizing the Non-Filers Tool here. Information such as a driver’s license number or bank account information are optional, not required.

APRIL 20, 2020 – Women Infants and Children (WIC) program application update Ordinarily, WIC services are provided at nearly 120 locations across Massachusetts. During the COVID19 emergency, all WIC appointments are being conducted by phone and WIC food benefits are being issued remotely. To connect with the WIC Program, visit www.mass.gov/wic. New applicants are encouraged to click “Apply Online for WIC” to get started. After the online application is completed, it will automatically be sent to the local WIC program closest to the family’s home, and WIC staff will reach out. Interested families can also contact a local WIC program directly by phone or email; the complete list of contact information can be found on the WIC website. Information is also available by calling 1-800-WIC-1007 or 617-721-6601.

APRIL 9, 2020 – The Federal Reserve took additional actions to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy. This funding will assist households and employers of all sizes and bolster the ability of state and local governments to deliver critical services during the coronavirus pandemic. More information can be found here

APRIL 3, 2020 The CDC issued a recommendation about wearing cloth face coverings in public settings. Read more here. A video from the Surgeon General on how to make a mask is here.

MARCH 28, 2020 – The White House and FEMA announced that the President has issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that will make federal disaster assistance available beyond what was included in the Emergency Declaration declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020. More information from MEMA can be found here.

MARCH 27, 2020 – The President signed the CARES Act into law. Information on the bill can be found here. More summary materials can be found here:
US Treasury website on the CARES Act
US House Ways and Means CARES Act resource page

Own a small business and want to know what relief was included in the CARES Act and other federal initiatives? Visit my COVID-19 Constituent Resource Guide. Also, check out this: SBA Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act

All Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices are currently closed and as a result Americans should expect service delays. You can still reach the SSA by phone and you can identify your local field office online. You can identify your local field office here. The SSA also recently published a website providing Americans with information related to their services during the coronavirus pandemic. Visit the SS website here.

MARCH 23, 2020 All commercial labs are expected to receive guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS is urging all commercial labs to prioritize in-patient testing. The FDA has previously released guidance for clinical trials which can be found here. Additionally, the CDC is expected to unveil new guidance for people working in law enforcement and first responders to make it possible for people who have been exposed to the virus to return to work.More information can be found here.

Traveling abroad? Travelers abroad are encouraged to visit the step.state.gov smart traveler program here

MARCH 20, 2020 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States and Mexico have agreed to restrict non-essential travel across their border. A full list of travel restrictions and guidance can be foundhere.

MARCH 20, 2020 – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the deadline for filing federal tax returns will be postponed to July 15, 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Internal Revenue Service tips and FAQs: The IRS recently went live with a website that provides tips for taxpayers and tax pros: here.

MARCH 19, 2020 – ThePresident signed the Families First Coronavirus Act into law. It provides for supplemental appropriations related to the COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as waivers and modifications of Federal nutrition programs, employment-related protections and benefits, health programs and insurance coverage requirements, and related tax credits during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Read more here. More summary materials can be found here:
Kaiser Family Foundation summary of the Families First Act
US Department of Labor Families First employee paid leave rights resource page
American Hospital Association health care provisions summary for the Families First Act

MARCH 18, 2020 The U.S. Small Business Administration issued a notice of an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) declaration for all counties in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. More information about what this declaration means can be found here. Applications can be filled out here.

MARCH 18, 2020 The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days. The full advisory is here.

MARCH 13, 2020 – The President of the United States issued a proclamation declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak.

Jump to other COVID-19 resource pages:
MA Department of Public Health (DPH)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)

Federal & State Government Updates:
Federal Government Updates and Guidance
The Legislature
The Baker-Polito Administration
Attorney General
NEW! COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Updates

4th Middlesex District Resources & Information:
COVID-19 Constituent Resource Guide