Op-Ed: Fighting for the Frontline

By Maura Healey

More than 300,000 health care workers and first responders in Massachusetts have stepped up to the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19. They suit up in scrubs or uniforms, leave the comfort of their homes, and put their lives at risk to keep us, our families, friends, and neighbors safe. We have an obligation to do everything we can to make sure they have access to the support they need during a time when they are sacrificing so much. That’s why my office has launched FrontlineMA.org—a one-stop shop for frontline workers to get the information on resources they need during this crisis.

From Pittsfield to Provincetown, and from Newburyport to New Bedford, our frontline workers are putting in countless hours to combat this pandemic. Thankfully, many businesses, state agencies, and individuals have stepped up to help provide housing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and meals to make lives easier for them. This website provides a centralized place to get information on those resources.

For health care workers who may be exposed and can’t be with their families, we’ve compiled resources for alternative housing so they can have a place to stay and minimize the risks for their families in case they become infected.

For parents who are working essential jobs and are struggling to find a safe place for their kids, we’ve put everything in one place to ensure they can continue to access childcare.

And to protect our heroes and honor people like Officer Jose Fontanez, who lost his life to COVID-19 while keeping our communities safe, we’re working with stakeholders to secure PPE. I encourage health care facilities and providers, police and fire departments, and state and county agencies to consult the resources we’ve put together to get first responders and frontline workers the protective gear and information they need.

We’ve also compiled details on priority testing sites, tips for self-care, guidance on self-isolation and quarantine, and a list of free and discounted meals so that our health care workers, first responders, and their families can stay informed, safe, and healthy.

In addition to providing frontline workers with essential information, we want to make sure they know how much our communities appreciate and support them. That’s why we created a Hero Wall where people can post pictures and send messages to thank our heroes and our frontline workers can share their own messages. I encourage everyone to post pictures of their sidewalk chalk or window art, or just a kind note, to say thank you to our nurses, doctors, healthcare workers and first responders. Throughout the site, you’ll see opportunities to chip in, by providing a meal or two, providing a safe place for workers to stay in between shifts, volunteering, or donating PPE.

Just like all of us, I’m thankful for our frontline workers who bravely show up and risk their lives every day to combat this pandemic and keep us safe.

We’re grateful for our partners at HubSpot and IDEO who helped make this website possible, and for the invaluable input from healthcare providers and police and fire associations in making sure this website is the most effective for our frontline. We’ll continue to update it as new information becomes available.

To our frontline workers, please use FrontlineMA.org as a resource during this battle. And to everyone else, stay home, stay safe, and thank a hero.

Maura Healey is the  Attorney General of Massachusetts.

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