Boston poised to enter 3rd phase of economic restart

Regional News

BOSTON (AP) — A week after most of the rest of Massachusetts, Boston is scheduled to enter the third phase of its coronavirus economic restart on Monday.

Under the plan, movie theaters, museums and historical sites, as well as gyms, are among the businesses allowed to reopen with appropriate public health measures in place, including social distancing and mask-wearing.

Boston’s plan differs slightly from the state plan. For example, libraries will remain closed for browsing, but card holders can still order books for pickup.

The city is also limiting attendance at outdoor gatherings to 50 people, while the state limit is 100.

Somerville officials announced Friday it would delay phase three until July 20.

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said he’s still concerned about transmission of the disease in indoor spaces in the state’s most densely populated city.

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The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported 172 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 14 new deaths on Sunday.

There have now been more than 105,600 confirmed cases and more than 8,100 coronavirus-related deaths in the state.

There are currently 583 people hospitalized with the disease, up from 572 on Saturday. The number of patients in intensive care rose to 93 on Sunday, up from 87 the previous day.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

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Encore Boston Harbor became the second of Massachusetts’ three casinos to reopen to gamblers on Sunday.

Capacity at the Everett resort is capped and guests will undergo temperature checks and be required to wear face coverings inside.

MGM Springfield is scheduled to reopen Monday.

Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville reopened last week.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

A huge increase in demand, driven in large part by the coronavirus pandemic, is proving to be a challenge for the New Hampshire Food Bank.

If current demand keeps up, food bank officials estimate they will hand out a one-year record of 20 million pounds of food by the end of the year, according to WMUR-TV.

Distribution has increased by about 50% compared with this time last year, officials said.

The nonprofit says most of the new people who have come to them for help in recent months are families affected by the pandemic.

“There are people who have been gainfully employed that all of a sudden don’t have an income coming in that they were used to having,” according to Nancy Mellitt, the food bank’s director of development.

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RHODE ISLAND

Parking lots at every state beach in Rhode Island reached capacity Sunday as the temperature soared to 93 degrees, the state Department of Environmental management reported.

Capacity at the lots has been limited to ensure social distancing on the sand.

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The Rhode Island Blood Center has put out a call for donors because even though the need for blood has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels as hospitals resume elective and non-critical surgeries, donor participation has not.

About 50% of the region’s blood supply comes from mobile blood drives, but from March through June, most of those were canceled because of the pandemic.

And even though blood drives have resumed, they are not being scheduled at pre-pandemic levels, blood center spokesperson Kara LeBlanc said in a statement.

In addition, about one-fifth of the people who make appointments to donate blood do not show up.

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CONNECTICUT

Several Connecticut state parks closed their gates before noon Sunday after quickly reaching their visitor limits.

The state has reduced by half the number of people allowed in the parks during the coronavirus pandemic to allow for social distancing.

By Sunday morning, at least eight parks, including Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme and Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, were already at capacity, NBC Connecticut reported.

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MAINE

Maine health officials on Sunday reported two new coronavirus-related deaths and 19 new confirmed cases.

There have now been more than 3,500 confirmed and probable cases in the state and 114 deaths, the Maine Center for Disease Control said.

The new deaths reported were in Penobscot and Cumberland counties.

Nineteen people are currently in the hospital with the disease and nine of those patients are in intensive care.

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VERMONT

There are 14 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Vermont on Sunday, for a statewide total of nearly 1,300, the state Department of Health reported.

Nine of the new cases are in Chittenden County and three were in Grande Isle County, the department said.

Two patients are currently hospitalized, the same as the previous day. The number of deaths remains at 56, where it has been since mid-June.

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