LOWELL, MA – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) highlighted passage of the historic AmericanRescue Plan, including the tens of millions of dollars in relief flowing into working families’ pockets, small businesses, and communities across the Commonwealth, during stops in Fitchburg and Gardner.

“The American Rescue Plan has been key to ramping up vaccinations across the Commonwealth, especially at health centers and regional sites, and shortening families’ road to economic recovery,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “As funding from this historic rescue package continues to work its way into our communities, it’s important that we inform working families and small businesses on what relief is available to them and how to access it. We still have a lot of work ahead to defeat this virus and build back better, but the American Rescue Plan has been the critical boost we need in those efforts.”

“The American Rescue Plan was an historic and ambitious investment in our people, in our health, and in our economy. Today, we had the opportunity to see the firsthand impacts that this funding is having on the people and business owners of Fitchburg and Gardner,” said Senator Markey. “We are finally getting families back on their feet, opening business doors, and putting massive number of shots in arms. Our communities are on the move again, and we are going to continue to fight for bold and ambitious investments in our communities in the next recovery package that match the scale and scope of the crises we face.”

During the tour, the lawmakers visited the COVID-19 vaccination and testing facilities at Community Health Connections, toured the downtown Fitchburg revitalization project, thanked workers and volunteers at Gardner’s regional vaccination facility, and stopped by a Gardner small business that has used COVID-19 relief programs to keep their doors open and employees paid.

While at Community Health Connections, Trahan and Markey highlighted the $27 billion in American Rescue Plan funding designated to address disparities in pandemic response. $7.6 billion of that funding is allocated to further support COVID-19 response efforts at community health centers, of which Community Health Connections is receiving $4.8 million.

After leaving the health center, the lawmakers joined with city leaders from Fitchburg and Fitchburg State University President Richard Lapidus to tour ideaLab and the Fitchburg Theater, two key projects in the revitalization of the city’s downtown area. The revitalization efforts will be key to bolstering the city’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Recovery efforts will also be bolstered by the $24.8 million in American Rescue Plan funding sent directly to the City of Fitchburg through the relief package’s state and local funding allocations.

At the regional vaccination site in Gardner, Trahan and Markey joined with city officials and Heywood Hospital leaders to thank workers and volunteers for their tireless efforts to get shots into arms. The American Rescue Plan provided $70 billion to ramp up COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and workforce efforts, including $20 billion to establish a National COVID-19 Vaccination Program that improves the administration and distribution of vaccines. Following reports of increased vaccine hesitancy, the lawmakers also highlighted the $1 billion in the relief package provided to the federal government to undertake a vaccine awareness and engagement campaign.

Concluding their American Rescue Plan tour stops, the lawmakers stopped by Gardner Ale House, which previously accessed relief funding through the Paycheck Protection Program, where they met with the owner, Rick Walton. Trahan and Markey also discussed American Rescue Plan investments in small businesses, including the newly established Restaurant Revitalization Fund that provides assistance directly to restaurants, bars, food trucks, and other food and drink establishments. The $28.6 billion fund began accepting applications on Monday, and in just the first two days of the program, 186,200 eligible businesses applied for relief.