Cambridge City

Policy Order
POR 2020 #118
May 18, 2020 5:30 PM

That Chapter 2.108 be amended by inserting a new section 2.108.140


Department:City Clerk's OfficeSponsors:Councillor Quinton Zondervan, Councillor Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler
Category:Policy Order


  1. Printout



The municipal code includes Chapter 2.108 - EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, which calls for, among other things, a staffed emergency management department; and




Chapter 2.108, was originally written in preparation for wartime and lacks specifics around pandemics, like the current COVID-19 pandemic we are experiencing; and




The COVID-19 pandemic has caught us completely unprepared, leading to disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable; and




As of mid-May 2020, Cambridge is experiencing a 21% death rate among nursing home residents who test positive, an infection rate among African American people that is 3 times that of White people in the city, and significant infection rates among the city’s unhoused community; and




The pandemic has also led to economic devastation, including record unemployment, and the consequences of a resurgence, second wave, or future pandemic of similar or worse proportion would be unbearable without better preparation; and




Climate change and habitat destruction will lead to increased risk of future pandemic disease emergence, which without sufficient preparedness and response could well lead to even worse outcomes than the current pandemic; and




It has long been the City Council’s goal to provide affordable housing to all residents, yet unhoused residents were left without safe space to shelter during the pandemic; now therefore be it




That Chapter 2.108 be amended by inserting a new section 2.108.140 to read as follows:


2.108.140 - Shelter During a Pandemic


In the event of an infectious disease pandemic or other similar emergency, and in response to a stay at home order, advisory or guidance, upon the declaration of a public health emergency, the City Manager shall direct the Head of the Emergency Management Agency or other city official in charge to establish safe shelter for all who need it, including but not limited to: individuals experiencing homelessness, elderly and other vulnerable populations, workers and city staff, and other residents who cannot safely isolate in their homes. - Procurement of Hotels and Dormitories


In the event that section 2.108.140 is invoked, the City Manager shall procure, acquire, commandeer or construct such hotel, dormitory or emergency shelter space as necessary to provide shelter for all who require it, including any resident who is unhoused, or who is unable to safely isolate in their current home or place of shelter. Universal Housing


To reduce the need for emergency shelter during a pandemic or other emergency, and avoid the associated risks to health and safety, the City Manager shall ensure that at all times there is sufficient housing available in the city for all Cambridge residents. To implement this provision the City Manager shall put forth regulations that identify who are eligible to receive subsidized housing, and any other regulations necessary to ensure that those who are eligible are provided with safe and adequate housing at all times. - Universal Testing


In the event that section 2.108.140 is invoked, the City Manager shall procure, acquire, commandeer or otherwise cause sufficient testing for disease prevalence to take place, provided such testing is available, so as to ensure the health and safety of all residents. - Data Reporting


In the event that section 2.108.140 is invoked, the City Manager shall ensure that timely and comprehensive data is reported on disease prevalence, mortality, hospitalization and demographics, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, age and other factors that may indicate disparate impacts, and shall direct all agencies to minimize such disparate impacts through equitable allocation of resources.



Meeting History

May 18, 2020 5:30 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting
draft Draft

Referred to public safety committee.

YEAS:Dennis J. Carlone, Patricia Nolan, Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Alanna Mallon, Marc C. McGovern, Sumbul Siddiqui, E. Denise Simmons, Quinton Zondervan
NAYS:Timothy J. Toomey