April 13, 2020


Slams Administration’s continuously delayed response to COVID-19

Newton, MA – Weeks after initially calling on President Donald Trump to impose a national shelter-in-place order, Congressman Joe Kennedy III today renewed his calls for dramatic action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and bring an end to the failed patchwork system currently in place. Citing the Administration’s failure to promptly and effectively respond to this pandemic, Kennedy outlined the steps that must be taken on a national level for a minimum of six weeks.

“There is no doubt that shelter-in-place orders require immense sacrifice, but with tragic stories and indisputable statistics, we know there is no more effective strategy to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19. An astounding lack of leadership at the highest levels of our government has left us with a patchwork system of rules and regulations that weakens our response and puts us all in danger. If this President wants to make up for his failures so far, he must immediately impose a nationwide shelter-in-place for six weeks. Only then will we be able to save our people, our patients and our economy.”

In his letter, which was sent to the National Governors Association as well, Kennedy called for the following steps to be taken as part of a national shelter-in-place:

  1. Ordering people to limit contact with people outside their household and completely restricting social gatherings during this pandemic. There should be no exemptions to these restrictions except for when accessing or providing essential services.
  2. Ordering people to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days, or until a health care provider indicates otherwise, when they believe they might have COVID-19.
  3. Changing the definition of essential services and businesses to be limited to only health care facilities, pharmacies, grocery stores, restaurants that provide take-out, household infrastructure services such as internet and utility maintenance, essential services for public benefit like food pantries, shelters or social services, and any state programs set up for this crisis.
  4. Supporting the operation of essential businesses while ensuring they follow new guidelines of limiting the number of people entering the premises and ensuring those who do enter remain no less than 6 feet apart. Health care facilities should be the only ones exempt from this. Restaurants and grocery stores should increase their curbside and no-contact delivery capacity to allow people to remain in their cars or in their homes.
  5. Suspending all non-essential transportation and creating alternative modes for essential workers who rely on public transportation. This should be extended only to those who are unable to get essential services delivered.
  6. Identify areas where there are currently no COVID-19 cases and ensure they remain that way. In order to achieve this, there may need to be travel restrictions implemented to ensure everyone’s health and safety. People should only be entering and leaving areas for essential purposes and should be tested and disinfected to ensure they are not bringing COVID-19 into uninfected areas as it is critical to keep these areas safe. This would enable these areas to maintain relatively normal operation and minimize health, social, and economic impacts. Restrictions can be loosened throughout this pandemic, but need to be done so strategically to ensure no new cases arise.
  7. Support the coordination of hospitals and health care providers as they work on triaging patients by putting those with mild/moderate symptoms in alternative settings and keeping hospital beds open for those most acute. These alternative settings include, but are not limited to, gyms, hotels, and dormitories. Additionally, these settings should be available to anyone who tests positive and cannot self-isolate.
  8. Ensure that some hospitals remain COVID-19 free so patients seeking other health care services can access them without risk of infection.
  9. Support alternative housing for all health care workers who are interacting with COVID-19 patients. These workers have a higher likelihood of getting COVID-19 and we need to ensure they do not spread it to their families and communities. This is particularly important for those who work in high density settings such as retirement communities and prisons. It is essential to limit workers’ exposure to COVID-19 or risk it spreading through the entire community.


For Immediate Release:
April 13, 2020

Dan Black (202) 225-5931