Massachusetts day camps, day cares to reopen as virus wanes

A look at coronavirus-related developments around New England on Saturday.

MASSACHUSETTS

Diners will be able to eat outside in Massachusetts, and retail stores, day camps and day care centers will be allowed to resume operations Monday during the next phase of loosening restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Charlie Baker announced.

"Thanks to your hard work and your sacrifices, we’re bringing the fight to the virus, we’re moving forward and Massachusetts is continuing to reopen,” Baker said Saturday at the Statehouse.

There will be strict requirements for masks and social distancing for businesses that reopen Monday.

Indoor dining will be remain off limits, Baker said. Day camps and child care facilities can open, but not overnight camps, Baker said. And hotels and motels will be allowed to accept all guests, not just essential workers, he said.

Baker said he's comfortable with moving forward with reopening the economy because the state has recorded a fall in the number of new cases and hospitalizations.

The Department of Public Health moved the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations into “positive trend” status for the first time on Friday. The state already reported that testing capacity and the rate of tests that come back positive were on a positive trajectory.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported Saturday that there were 575 new coronavirus cases and 55 deaths.

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RHODE ISLAND

A 100-year-old Rhode Island woman whose life was claimed by COVID-19 has been laid to rest next to her husband, who died from the disease several weeks earlier, also at age 100.

Because of the pandemic, only 10 loved ones were on hand to say goodbye when Jill Caldarone was buried Tuesday next to her husband, Bill, who was at one point the state's oldest Marine, the Providence Journal reported.

Jill Caldarone chronicled their lives in a book, “Bill and Jill from Federal Hill.” She was a master gardener and real estate agent. Her husband served in World War II and Korea.

Their youngest son, Ron, 72, told the Providence Journal that the statistics from the pandemic don’t tell the full story.

“My father and mother weren’t just numbers," he said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and lead to death.

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MAINE

Ridership for the Maine State Ferry Service has dropped more than 50% since the state confirmed its first case of the virus in March.

Ferry service officials also expect ridership to be down for much of the summer, typically the busiest time of the year. On Memorial Day weekend, passenger traffic was down 57% and vehicle traffic was down 33%.

“It is what it is. We’re in the middle of a pandemic,” Maine State Ferry Service Manager Mark Higgins told the Bangor Daily News.

The decline in revenue will be offset by $2 million in federal funding that the service recently received through the CARES Act, officials said.

The Maine Center for Disease Control reported Saturday that 42 more people tested positive for the coronavirus, but there were no additional deaths.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Hampshire is expanding curbside pickup at state liquor stores during the pandemic.

The curbside and in-store pickup program started last month at the Hampton store on Interstate 95 North and the Interstate 93 North store in Hooksett last month. It was expanded to the southbound stores in those towns this week, and will be offered in Pembroke, Manchester and Londonderry starting Thursday.

On Saturday, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services reported that there were five more deaths and another 74 new positive tests for the coronavirus.

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VERMONT

The town of Brattleboro is taking steps to make it easier for downtown businesses to provide outdoor service amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Select Board this week authorized the town manager to assign “parklets” to businesses for areas for dining and drinking, the Brattleboro Reformer reported. Parklets are spaces traditionally used for parking that are turned into outdoor seating.

The board approved buying barriers and setting up as many as 12 such areas. Also, the town clerk is now allowed to issue outside alcohol consumption permits, which the board traditionally handled.

“We’re making strong, definitive action during a pandemic to support local businesses and also might make downtown cooler than it already is,” said board member Ian Goodnow.

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This story has been corrected to show that New Hampshire health officials reported five, not four, deaths on Saturday.