Some Boston eateries require vaccines, NH gets school funds
Coronavirus developments across New England:
In the absence of state or city mandates, a small but growing number of Boston-area restaurant owners are devising their own plans to make indoor dining safer.
Acting Mayor Kim Janey has said she does not support requiring diners to show proof of vaccination before eating indoors. But some local restaurants are implementing mandates, the Boston Globe reports.
At The Quiet Few in East Boston, guests must show proof of vaccination before stepping inside, and unvaccinated guests can eat on the patio. At City Winery, guests must show either proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for COVID-19. They also can take rapid tests at the door.
“There’s nothing here about politics. We’re simply creating a safe environment for our customers, our staff, and very importantly, working musicians,” owner Michael Dorf said.
Gov. Ned Lamont’s decision to allow local municipalities to make their own decisions on mask mandates and other restrictions has some health officials concerned about the potential for localized outbreaks in areas where vaccination rates are low — including the state’s capital city.
Though Connecticut is among the states with the highest percentage of residents who have been vaccinated — 64% currently — Hartford and New Britain lag far behind, at between 40% and 45%. Mansfield, Sterling and Thompson round out the top five towns with the lowest vaccination rates, according to the Hartford Courant. Many smaller towns are at the bottom of the state’s vaccination list.
“You’re going to have these pockets of communities that are really getting whacked with this,” Dr. James Cardon, Hartford HealthCare’s chief clinical integration officer, told the newspaper. “A small town, 90% vaccinated? You’re not going to see much there. Hartford? Scary. The potential to have a very localized kind of event is really problematic.”
The key to increasing vaccination rates is to offer more community vaccination clinics, such as those run by churches, or to offer the vaccine to people through their own health care providers, said Dr. Thomas Balcezak, chief clinical officer for Yale New Haven Health.
The federal government has sent the final installment of money to New Hampshire to help schools reopen and operate safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of the $116 million distributed last week will go to school districts to cover expenses such as cleaning supplies and extra tutors to help students get back on track after months of remote learning.
The state also plans to invest in after school programs, mental health supports and teacher recruitment and training.
“New Hampshire learners, families, and educators have demonstrated incredible resilience and dedication throughout the past year and half, and we are excited to return to school safely and in-person this fall,” New Hampshire Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut said.
A lack of court security is forcing the Vermont court system to reduce in-person services at the Grand Isle Superior Court in North Hero.
The new plan will still allow in-person drop-off of filings two days a week. The changes will not limit the judiciary’s ability to conduct hearings or address other court-related needs of the public.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Grand Isle Courthouse has been conducting proceedings almost entirely remotely principally because the building lacks the ventilation system necessary to meet court’s COVID-19 protocols.
Court Administrator Patricia Gabel said the courts would continue to be available via phone and that remote hearings will continue.
Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.