All councilors were virtually present for the Boston City Council meeting on April 1, 2020, which was held on Zoom and live streamed. The following dockets were presented and discussed:
Councilor Ed Flynn offered a resolution urging insurance carriers to provide continuous coverage to residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This resolution urges insurance carriers to consider deferred or modified payments if policyholders can’t pay premiums during the crisis.
“During this time I believe it is critical our residents have continuous access to their health insurance, as well as auto, home, renters, and life insurance that are necessary,” Flynn said.
The resolution was adopted.
Councilor Flynn offered an order for a hearing to discuss resources available through Boston’s Veteran Services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I called for this hearing to discuss the impact COVID-19 virus has on veterans and military families,” Flynn said. “During this epidemic, during this crisis, we want to make sure our veterans, our military families, know exactly what services are available to them.” Services could include city, state, or federal services, he said.
The docket was referred to the committee on veteran and military services.
Councilor Flynn offered a resolution supporting our nurses and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The goal is to offer support to those on the frontline of the pandemic, including all healthcare workers.
“This resolution that all frontline healthcare workers be provided appropriate personal protective equipment, and that hospitals consider triage outside of the facility designated for COVID-19 patients to reduce exposure,” Flynn said. “We also call for a halt on all hospital closures and staff reductions. Moreover, we need to support our health care workers with child care, paid leave. Finally, we must continue to advocate for widespread physical distancing to slow the spread of this virus, so our medical system is not overloaded.”
This resolution was adopted.
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Councilor Lydia Edwards offered an order for a hearing regarding economic relief and incentives for the restaurant industry and restaurant workers.
Councilor Edwards, who represents areas with a high density of restaurants such as the North End, offered a hearing to discuss economic relief for the restaurant industry.
A hearing would consider economic incentives and relief for restaurant workers and industry including but not limited to fast-tracking and prioritizing restaurants that pay or will commit to paying the minimum wage of $15 an hour. Representatives of the Walsh administration and other interested parties are invited to testify.
The docket was referred to the committee on small business and workforce development.
Councilors Michelle Wu and Ricardo Arroyo offered an order for a hearing regarding planning for an equitable recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.
“We have talked all meeting and throughout the last three weeks about all the impacts of COVID-19,” Wu said. “We all know and are hearing from our constituents that this is way beyond just a public health pandemic. It’s an economic crisis, and it’s a situation that has been deepening pre-existing systemic inequities across our city.”
Despite the uncertainty surrounding when the pandemic will end, Wu said, the council should begin planning for an equitable recovery now. Arroyo added that they want to make sure that all of Boston’s communities recover from the pandemic, not just some of them.
The docket was referred to the committee of planning, development, and transportation.