Boston holds “Day of Hope,” RI opens drive-through shot site
BOSTON (AP) — A look at pandemic-related news around New England on Saturday:
Boston Mayor Kim Janey joined public health authorities Saturday at one of three mass vaccination initiatives dubbed the “Day of Hope.”
Individuals who got a shot at the events in the Mattapan, East Boston and Roxbury neighborhoods received gift certificates to a local supermarket. In addition to immunizations, the events offered food and entertainment.
Organizers said the intent was not only to encourage vaccination, but to honor those who died from the coronavirus and to celebrate the progress being made in overcoming it.
More than 40 Maine entertainment venues are going to share $22 million under a program aimed to helping hard-hit industries during the pandemic.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has made decisions on about three-quarters of the nearly 15,000 applications received from across the nation.
The grants awarded so far in Maine, which are equal to 45% of each venue’s 2019 gross earned revenue, range from nearly $6,200 for an event barn in Surry to $9.7 million for a major statewide concert promoter, the Portland Press Herald reported. The money is going to theaters, concert venues, museums, talent representatives and movie cinemas.
Nonprofit theater company Portland Stage, which was awarded $461,000, will use the money to map out a full season of shows and programs for the coming year.
“We tightened our belt, and we were able to locate funding which helped us eke through this past year,” said Anita Stewart, executive and artistic director of Portland Stage. “But now we’re looking to use the (grant) to really help us relaunch, and be a safety net if the bottom does fall out.”
The most recent figures from the state show no additional COVID-19 deaths. According to data released Saturday there have been more than 69,000 positive cases of the virus and 862 deaths in Maine. More than two-thirds of the state is now vaccinated.
An island garden that once inspired one of America’s foremost impressionist painters was reconstructed on the New Hampshire mainland for a second summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the late 1880s, poet Celia Thaxter attracted members of Boston’s literary and artistic societies to her family’s hotel on Appledore Island off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Artist Childe Hassam kept a studio there and featured Thaxter’s gardens in a series of paintings.
The island is now home to the Shoals Marine Laboratory, and hundreds of people visit a recreation of the garden each summer. But the tours have been canceled again this year because of the pandemic.
Instead, the garden has been recreated at Prescott Park in Portsmouth. Free guided tours are scheduled for July 16 and 30, and Aug. 6.
A new drive-through vaccination site opened Saturday at the Wickford Junction train station in North Kingstown.
The site is open to Rhode Islanders as well as out-of-state residents. Appointments are recommended but not required. Since the site is a drive-through, individuals must have a car and cannot walk in.
The clinic will operate on Saturdays going forward.
Gov. Dan McKee said drive-through sites are just one of several tactics being used to deliver vaccines to as many people as possible.
“It takes many different approaches to drive our vaccination numbers across every age band,” McKee said.
The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles plans to reopen satellite offices in Dummerston, St. Johnsbury, and St. Albans early next month.
The department operates six permanent offices in Montpelier, Rutland, Newport, Springfield, Bennington, and South Burlington. Those offices are open Monday through Friday and have been open throughout most of the pandemic, by appointment only.
Those offices will continue in-person services by appointment as the system has proven to be more accommodating for customers and has eliminated the busy waiting room and long wait times.
“While the DMV has done a lot of work updating online systems to provide more convenience and accessibility to Vermonters, we know the demand is high and there’s value in providing services at these satellite offices,” Gov. Phil Scott said in a statement. “The demand for services is exceeding the capacity of the six branch offices, and we’ve been working to open satellites effectively and efficiently.”
The Dummerston and St. Albans offices will resume in-person transactions Monday, Aug. 2. St. Johnsbury will open Aug. 5.
On July 15, Vermonters who wish to do business at these locations can make appointments.