The Massachusetts Bankers Association announced on Monday that banks throughout the Commonwealth will remain open while keeping their customers and employees safe.
According to Gov. Charlie Baker’s order issued earlier today, financial institutions such as banks are considered essential services and will not be subject to the closure.
“While we strongly encourage all Massachusetts residents to heed the Governor’s stay at home advisory and use online or mobile banking, consumers will continue to have access to banking services during the mandatory non-essential business closure,” said Daniel J. Forte, MBA President & CEO. “The safest place for your money right now is in your local bank where it is insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Many Massachusetts banks also have excess insurance to protect your funds.”
Consumers needing access to banking services should check with their institution, as many banks have closed branch lobbies, reduced hours or shifted to drive-through only at some locations in an effort to protect their customers and employees. However, bank staff are available to serve customers and answer questions. In addition, access to funds through online and mobile banking, ATMs and at Point of Sale transactions remains available during this time.
Courts Continue Emergency-Only Operations
The Massachusetts Trial Courts will remain closed to the public except for emergency matters, after more than a week of closure already.
Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday issued an order minimizing non-essential activities outside of home for effect on Tuesday, March 24 at noon.
The Order confirms that it does not apply to the Judiciary.
However, as detailed in a Supreme Judicial Court Order and Trial Court Standing Orders issued on March 17, 2020, courts continue to operate on an emergency-only basis. Courts are closed to the public but are staffed to enable the handling of emergency matters. Whenever possible, these emergency matters, such as restraining orders and juvenile protection cases, are being conducted by telephone or videoconference.
Court leaders are coordinating emergency staffing levels and Court Officers are ensuring public and staff safety through a variety of measures. Court Officers are screening the public at courthouse entrances to provide guidance on emergency court matters and assess the level of risk posed by individuals arriving at courthouses across the state. Courts have created designated six-foot distance boundaries from any counters. Facilities are cleaned thoroughly each day with industrial cleaning supplies.
All updates regarding the court system’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic are available on the court’s website: https://www.mass.gov/guides/court-system-response-to-covid-19.
Massachusetts National Guard Activated for COVID-19 Response
On Thursday, March 19, Gov. Charlie Baker activated up to 2,000 Massachusetts National Guard members to assist with the State of Emergency declared on March 10, 2020 as the region continues to respond to the spread of the coronavirus.
The Massachusetts National Guard said in a release it is ready to assist local communities and to react to requests for assistance through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). Some of these requests could include, but are not limited to: medical, transportation, and logistics.
“Throughout our 383 years of existence, the Massachusetts National Guard has been faced with many challenges, some of which helped form our nation,” read a statement from the Guard. “The Massachusetts National Guard is prepared and committed to answer the requests of cities and towns in the Commonwealth.”
More information on the scope and nature of the Massachusetts National Guard’s response support missions will be released as the situation develops.