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Uncaptioned image for story:Heffernan Memo Breaks Down Coronavirus Aid

Heffernan Memo Breaks Down Coronavirus Aid

Massachusetts cities and towns have until June 5 to submit applications for their share of $502 million in federal funds that the Baker administration is making available on a rolling basis to address eligible costs related to the COVID-19 response effort.

Outdoor High School Graduations Possible in July

New state guidance allows for high schools to hold in-person, outdoor graduation ceremonies starting July 19, with certain safety precautions in place and as long as public health data around COVID-19 allows the state to continue along its reopening plan.

April Unemployment Eclipses 15 Percent

[Story Developing] The statewide unemployment rate surged to 15.1 percent in April as the COVID-19 pandemic and the public shutdowns it prompted have inflicted what Gov. Charlie Baker described Thursday as an "economic calamity."

Pandemic Changes Narrative on Memorial Day Travel

Memorial Day weekend is arriving with low gas prices, nice weather and a stern warning from state leaders to stay home and stay off the roads and the MBTA.

Reporting Bill Stays in Legislature; Baker Gets UI Bill

With two COVID-19 bills on the Legislature's plate Thursday, only one dealing with the unemployment insurance system traversed the final mile to the governor's desk before both chambers broke for Memorial Day weekend.

Senate Session Summary - Thursday, May 21, 2020

Before gaveling out for Memorial Day weekend, the Senate gave final approval Thursday to a package of unemployment insurance measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

House Session Summary - Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Legislature sent to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk Thursday a bill dealing with unemployment insurance that would, in part, expand the maximum allowable benefit period for claims from 26 weeks to 30 weeks for any week where unemployment insurance claims exceed 100,000.

New Claims Send Unemployed Ranks to New Highs

Workers accounting for nearly one-third of the Massachusetts labor force have filed initial unemployment claims since March 15, according to state data released late Thursday.

Final MBTA Budget Boosts Spending 7 Percent

The MBTA Board gave final approval Thursday to a $2.29 billion budget for fiscal year 2021, putting in place a plan to use federal funds to help substantially increase spending while officials gauge the the COVID-19 pandemic's lasting impacts.

Attorneys Report Shift in Culture at Wynn Resorts

The team of lawyers hired to keep an eye on Wynn Resorts for the next five years told regulators Thursday that they have seen "evidence of a meaningful shift in culture at the highest levels" of the casino company.

Murray: Buy Local to Help Small Biz Survive

One long-term after-effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic disruption could be a heightened interest in shopping locally, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce head Tim Murray suggested Thursday. But first, those locally owned small shops and other businesses need to survive a period of prolonged closures. Many, Murray said, face a "long slog" to recovery.

Baker Questions Urgency on Mail-in Voting

Gov. Charlie Baker does not share the same sense of urgency as the state's top elections officials and a range of advocacy groups about when officials must make a decision on how to conduct mail-in voting this fall.

Driver’s License Bill Reframed as Public Health Priority

Newly framing the measure as a public health priority, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan are teaming with union officials to pressure state lawmakers to pass a bill making up to 78,000 undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts eligible to obtain a standard driver's license over the next three years.

Baker: Density Playing Role in Virus, and Reopening

[Story Developing] Massachusetts must proceed with a gradual phased reopening as a statewide policy because of its relatively widespread population density and the interconnected nature of most of its economy, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday.

Chamber Survey Gauges Interest in Visiting Cape Cod

About two-thirds of travelers surveyed said they would return to Cape Cod this summer, when local officials hope much of the popular tourist destination's hospitality sector is up and running in some form after pandemic-driven shutdowns.

Demand for Unemployment Benefits Tops 43 Mil

More than 43 million Americans have sought standard or expanded eligibility unemployment benefits since widespread business shutdowns started in mid-March, according to the latest weekly batch of application figures.

Higher Ed Leaders Prepping for Uncertain Future

Instituting a change at a college or university has been compared to "trying to move a cemetery," Emerson College President Lee Pelton said during a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce panel Wednesday.

Vote-by-Mail Forces Growing Anxious About Timeline

Legislation outlining vote-by-mail procedures for the September and November elections in Massachusetts "absolutely cannot wait another month," electoral reform advocates said Wednesday as they renewed their push for action on Beacon Hill.

Payment and ID-Check Rules Detailed for Pot Sales

Marijuana retailers will be able to take orders online and over the phone when they begin to reopen Monday, and will fulfill those orders in their parking lots or just outside the main entrance, the Cannabis Control Commission said Wednesday.

House Session Summary - Wednesday, May 20, 2020

With the pandemic highlighting the importance of functioning technology, the Massachusetts House bulked up and passed an information technology investment bill (H 4708) Wednesday after adding more than $100 million in additional spending authorizations.

Advances - Week of May 24

While now on the backside of the COVID-19 surge, Massachusetts is adjusting to the shift away from date-focused deadlines and toward a new guiding principle: do it when the data says the time is right.

Heading into the Memorial Day weekend, Gov. Charlie Baker urged people to remember that "there are a lot of people who died for your right to live in a free democracy." [Photo: John Tlumacki/Boston Globe/Pool]

Virus Testing Ramping Up in Hard-Hit Lawrence

Massachusetts officials are focused on making COVID-19 testing more widely available as they seek to gain more information about the prevalence of the respiratory disease, Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday during a trip to Lawrence.

Gov. Charlie Baker made his way to a State House auditorium Monday to unveil his four-phase plan for reopening shuttered sectors of the Bay State economy. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Weekly Roundup - Phased and Confused

They are the forbidden fruit of summer: beaches, cookouts, and eventually, maybe, patio lunches. Partake at your own risk.

Uncaptioned image for story:Mass. Jobless Rate Surges Past 15 Percent

Mass. Jobless Rate Surges Past 15 Percent

The Massachusetts unemployment rate surged above 15 percent in April, smashing four and a half decades of records as the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting public shutdowns caused massive job losses.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced Thursday the creation of the Commonwealth Resilience and Recovery Special Committee, tasked with finding ways to mitigate economic hardship, minimize unemployment and job loss, and stabilize small business ownership. [Photo: Chris Van Buskirk/SHNS]

DeLeo Flags Focus Areas: Child Care, Restaurants, Liability

With his agenda abruptly upended in March by the arrival of the coronavirus, House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Thursday outlined in a speech to business leaders steps the House would take to refocus lawmakers on aiding the state's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uncaptioned image for story:Mass. on Track to Lag Connecticut Casino Reopenings

Mass. on Track to Lag Connecticut Casino Reopenings

As they continue to devise a plan for a safe and socially-distant reopening of the state's gambling halls, regulators at the Gaming Commission also expect to have everything they need to consider Plainridge Park Casino's license renewal before it expires in the middle of June.

Rep. Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich). [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS/File]

GOP Rep: Trump Not an Asset to Party in Mass.

Sandwich's Rep. Randy Hunt wasn't surprised that his party on Tuesday lost a state Senate seat in Plymouth and Barnstable counties that had been in Republican control since 2015. In fact, he predicted it.

Uncaptioned image for story:Branches Working on COVID-19 Reporting, Unemployment Bills

Branches Working on COVID-19 Reporting, Unemployment Bills

On a day when the Senate would normally be wrapping up its annual budget debate, both branches on Thursday were hanging around in lightly attended sessions dealing with more COVID-19 legislation.

Uncaptioned image for story:Mask Mandate May Lead to Conflicts on MBTA

Mask Mandate May Lead to Conflicts on MBTA

Capping ridership on buses and trains is not on the table as the MBTA prepares for a monthslong, gradual resumption of public activity, nor is denying service to system users who do not cover their faces despite an executive order urging mask usage, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said Wednesday.

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito toured Symmons Industries, a plumbing parts manufacturer in Braintree, on Wednesday to see firsthand how a local business is implementing new workplace safety standards. [Photo: Matt Stone/Boston Herald/Pool]

Baker Stresses Phase One Restart Decisions Up to Employers

Two days after telling some types of businesses how they could reopen after a prolonged public health closure, Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday emphasized that there's no need for any company or religious institution uncomfortable with the idea of reopening to come back to work right away.

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Latest COVID-19 Figures in Mass.

Data as of 4 p.m. Sunday.
Tests conducted532,373
Confirmed cases92,675

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