Virus news: Businesses see holiday shopping challenges
A look at coronavirus developments around New England:
The marketing director of a New Haven theater who has watched the toll the coronavirus has taken on his industry is fighting back — by enrolling in a vaccine trial.
Anthony Lupinacci was among more than 43,000 volunteers across the world who have received the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, its German partner. The 61-year-old self-described science nerd is the longtime marketing director of New Haven’s Shubert Theater.
He told the New Haven Register he downloaded the 21-page questionnaire from Yale New Haven Hospital and the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation and had his first appointment in late August.
He said he’s not sure whether he received the vaccine or a placebo but that he hasn’t experienced any symptoms. He files a weekly report through an app and will be monitored by Yale for the next two years.
The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Connecticut has risen over the past two weeks from about 1,503 new cases per day on Nov. 13 to 1,587 new cases per day on Nov. 27.
A brief memorial has been set up in Portland’s Longfellow Square to honor lives lost to COVID-19.
The tribute went up Friday, WMTW-TV reported. Organizers encouraged people who have lost friends or loved ones to the virus to bring flowers or other small remembrances.
The temporary memorial will be removed at the end of the weekend.
On Saturday, public health authorities in the state reported a single additional death from the virus, bringing Maine’s total to 191 since the start of the pandemic.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new confirmed cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 170 on Nov. 13 to 186 on Nov. 27.
Small retailers across Massachusetts are adjusting hours, taking wares outside and buying hand sanitizer in bulk as the holiday shopping season gets underway.
Many businesses hoped for a boost on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, known as Small Business Saturday or Shop Local Saturday. But they’re having to make adjustments, just as many big retailers did ahead of Black Friday.
Instead of one-day deals intended to lure large groups of shoppers, many retailers are spreading out their promotions throughout the holiday season, Retailers Association of Massachusetts President Jon Hurst told The Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Businesses are also offering more curbside and online sales.
Retailers often rely on a spike in end-of-year sales to boost their bottom line. That will be especially important following business closures prompted by the pandemic earlier this year.
“It’s not just support on Small Business Saturday, but the overall holiday shopping season,” Hurst said. “It’s best to think a little differently than in the past, it’s best to shop early, to shop at different times.”
State health officials on Saturday reported more than 2,900 newly confirmed cases and 40 additional confirmed deaths.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new confirmed cases in Massachusetts has risen over the past two weeks from 2,260 on Nov. 13 to 2,614 on Nov. 27.
Officials in Nashua say they’ve noticed an increase in people driving in from Massachusetts to avoid that state’s restrictions on serving time at bars and restaurants.
The uptick in visitors has prompted city officials in Nashua to consider imposing a curfew of their own, though so far no action has been taken.
“It’s nice to have that injection of cash but at the same time we know why they’re coming here and we know the possibility of catastrophe it brings,” Nashua Alderman Brandon Laws, a bartender, told WXFT-TV.
New Hampshire health officials on Saturday announced 702 newly confirmed cases and six additional deaths to bring the state’s total to 523.
The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from 273.86 new cases per day on Nov. 13 to 359.43 new cases per day on Nov. 27.
Pawtucket will close City Hall to the public beginning Monday, part of a statewide effort to stop a surge in cases.
Mayor Donald Grebien said that the two-week closure will protect city workers and residents alike, and that much municipal business can be handled online or over the phone.
He said the decision to close City Hall came after Gov. Gina Raimondo called for a two-week pause in reopening plans as case numbers increase around the country.
The “two-week pause” starts Monday and runs until Dec. 13. It will require businesses including theaters and indoor sports facilities to close, and reduces capacity at restaurants and houses of worship. The state has set aside $100 million to help affected businesses and employees.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new confirmed cases in Rhode Island has risen over the past two weeks from 735 on Nov. 13 to 850 on Nov. 27, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
The Vermont Health Department is urging people who attended services at the New Hope Bible Church in Irasburg on Nov. 22 to get tested for the coronavirus.
At least one person who attended services that day was infectious, officials said.
It can take as many as 14 days from exposure for symptoms to show, so the Health Department wants people who attended to take precautions now to help limit the spread.
“Even if you are feeling well and don’t have symptoms, consider getting tested,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said in a written statement. “If you do have symptoms or concerns about your health, call your primary care provider.”
Contact tracers have been unable to get all the information they need to inform other people who may have been exposed. Health officials also stress the need for the public to provide full information to contact tracers.
Testing is available every day at the North Country Hospital in Newport.
On Saturday, the Vermont Health Department reported 29 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the state’s total since the virus began to just over 4,030.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new confirmed cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 59 on Nov. 13 to 78 on Nov. 27.