BOSTON -- Gov. Charlie Baker is asking the federal government to issue a major disaster declaration for Massachusetts to get more federal assistance to help with the the COVID-19 outbreak.
Baker told reporters at a Thursday briefing that the federal aid, if approved by President Donald Trump, will supplement state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by the virus.
The state was previously approved for a small business disaster declaration that paved the way for low-interest federal loans to qualifying business owners and nonprofits.
Businesses may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Trump has approved disaster declarations for other states that have been hit hard by the coronavirus including California, Texas and New York.
If the declaration is approved, it may help with emergency protective measures for local governments and individuals in areas most affected. Funding for crisis counseling would also be available.
Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, three days after Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts and closed schools. He has also ordered non-essential businesses to shut down.
Massachusetts has more than 1,838 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 15 deaths from the virus as of Wednesday night.
Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group’s newspapers and websites. Email him at email@example.com