Developments on the coronavirus pandemic in New England:
Gov. Gina Raimondo announced $100 million to help Rhode Island businesses, and some workers, that the state has told to close for a two-week period because of the coronavirus.
Raimondo said Wednesday that every resident who receives unemployment insurance benefits during the pause will get an additional $200 for each of the two weeks. The Department of Labor and Training will start processing payments as early as Dec. 6, Raimondo said.
Business owners that must close during the pause will have to fill out a form and then, will be sent a check up to $50,000, based on past revenue. Applications will be available as of Friday at tax.ri.gov.
The “ two-week pause ” starts Monday and runs until Dec. 13. Raimondo announced the closures earlier this month to help control Rhode Island’s surging coronavirus numbers. The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Rhode Island was above 915 on Nov. 25, up from around 665 new cases per day on Nov. 11.
Boston restaurants are being allowed to offer outdoor dining on private property “indefinitely” as the deadline approaches for the end of dining outside on city sidewalks and streets, Mayor Marty Walsh said.
The city’s outdoor dining season ends Tuesday for public areas. It had been extended from Oct. 31.
“We have no intention of shutting restaurants down in the city right now,” Walsh said Wednesday, noting that the rate of new coronavirus cases in Boston decreased last week.
He said restaurants will be able to continue serving people outdoors on private property without having to seek further approval. The city will work on plans to resume expanded outdoor dining in the spring as the weather improves, he said.
Gov. Phil Scott says it will be at least a week before it becomes clear if Vermonters stayed home on Thanksgiving in large enough numbers to stem the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Vermont has been trying to stamp out the worst surge in cases since the pandemic began. Contact tracing has shown that most of those cases have been caused by small social gatherings.
Officials have been warning for weeks about the danger posed by Thanksgiving. Such gatherings have been prohibited by the state, but Scott said on Tuesday he knows some people are going to do it, anyway.
Estimates are that people who gather in large groups in Washington County, among the hardest hit counties in the Northeast, face a risk of being infected of between 25% and 50%.
When school resumes on Monday, the state is requiring children who attended gatherings outside their households to quarantine at home for two weeks or stay home for a week and then get a negative COVID-19 test.
The latest average positivity rate in Maine is 2.29%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Maine the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.
The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Maine did not increase over the past two weeks, from 2.38% on Nov. 11 to 2.29% on Thursday.
Maine public health authorities have reported 190 deaths and more than 11,000 cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic.
The public health director in the city of Nashua is quarantining after she said she was exposed to the coronavirus at a testing site.
Bobbie Bagley tells WMUR-TV she tested negative as of Wednesday. She’s asked people to stay home to limit the spread of the virus during the holidays.
“We are really concerned about people gathering together with individuals that have not been part of their bubble at this period of time,” Bagley said. “So, that sets up very risky situations.”
Bagley said with a curfew in place in nearby Massachusetts, restaurants and bars in Nashua have seen a dramatic rise of people.
“That is a huge concern because the numbers of people have gone up and there is a lot of gathering and when you are drinking you lower your inhibitions and when that happens you lower your mask,” Bagley said.
There are over 300 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Nashua.
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