Mellow Mother's Day, RI's Cautious Reopening: Today's Coronavirus Update in New England

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Here's an update of Saturday's COVID-19 news from across New England:


Families across the state were observing a low-key Mother's Day amid the coronavirus pandemic, Sunday.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has allowed florists and a some other non-essential businesses to open — on a remote basis — in time for Mother’s Day, but some business owners said it wasn’t enough time to prepare.

Some businesses, like Monument restaurant in Charlestown, got creative to make Mother’s Day special. They partnered with a local florist, Junebug, to create dozens of pre-ordered breakfast in a box packages: meals with flowers.

Meanwhile, hundreds of meals were sent to nurses at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as a way to say thank you, while new moms in the hospital's delivery unit also received congratulatory flowers.

The coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to several traditions this year, but moms will not be forgotten.

Massachusetts recorded another 138 confirmed COVID-19-related deaths on Saturday, bringing to 4,840 the total number of deaths recorded in the state since the pandemic's start. An additional 1,410 positive cases were announced on Saturday for a new total of nearly 77,000.

Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee held virtual commencement ceremonies Saturday to honor more than 1,400 graduating students.

Virtual graduation events have become common this year as colleges and universities look for socially distant ways to celebrate the accomplishments of graduates.

Honorary doctorates from the two schools were presented to artists John Legend, Sheila E., Cassandra Wilson, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Andre De Shields.


More businesses began to reopen Saturday under Gov. Gina Raimondo's plan to gradually lift some restrictions imposed to slow the outbreak.

Businesses that choose to reopen starting Saturday must limit the number of customers allowed inside based on their square footage. In addition, face masks are now required for anyone in a public place.

Gatherings of more than five people remain prohibited. Bar, salons and gyms remain closed and restaurants remain limited to take out and delivery.

The businesses allowed to reopen starting Saturday had been deemed non-essential under emergency rules that expired on Friday.

Shops in the state will be open for pickup, and elective medical procedures may resume, among other reopenings.


Maine reported 34 new cases and one additional death on Saturday, bringing the state's total to more than 1,300 cases and 64 deaths.

The coronavirus pandemic has canceled dozens of spring traditions, but turkey hunting is going on largely unfettered.

Forty-nine states host a spring turkey hunt every year. The birds, whose domesticated cousins grace Thanksgiving tables from Hawaii to Maine, are among America's greatest conservation success stories.

The hunt is taking on a new look in some parts of the country this year due to social distancing laws. Many states, including Maine, are requiring out-of-state residents to self quarantine for two weeks when they enter the state.

Hair salons and barbershops in Maine are now getting requests from out-of-state residents for services they aren't allowed to get at home.


On Saturday, the Vermont Department of Health reported two new positive cases of the coronavirus, for a total of 921. The total number of deaths stood unchanged at 53.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott's message for schools is to play creatively while the ban on gatherings of 10 people or more remains in place. That message applies to graduations as well.


New Hampshire authorities say despite less traffic on the road because of the coronavirus, there's been a spike in traffic fatalities. 

There have been 34 traffic-related fatalities this year, a 70% increase from a year ago, the Office of Highway Safety said Thursday. There have also been eight adult pedestrian fatalities, resulting in a 166% increase from a year ago. 

There has been an increase in speeding, said Capt. William Haynes, commander of highway safety. 

The next phase of New Hampshire's re-opening begins Monday, when salons, barber shops and retail stores can open up at 50% capacity..


A regional food bank that began distributing food from a Connecticut football stadium has extended the program through at least the end of the month after the outbreak increased demand.

Foodshare, a regional food bank that serves Hartford and Tolland counties, moved their operation to the University of Connecticut football stadium last month after outgrowing their space at Hartford Regional Market.

The food bank has been giving away an average of 25,000 pounds of food a day. Typically around 1,400 cars come through daily, although some days have seen as many as 1,800. The food bank is spending about $100,000 a week and for now. Jason Jakubowski, president and chief executive officer of Foodshare, said donations of money have allowed them to keep up.

As of Saturday, more than 32,980 state residents had tested positive for the virus and 2,932 residents had died. There were 1,301 people hospitalized because of the virus, 35 fewer than the previous day, continuing a two-week decline.

Associated Press/NBC
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