Keller at Large

Does Charlie Baker’s reopening plan go too far, too fast?

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller thinks Gov. Charlie Baker is going to have his hands full enforcing his partial reopening of the state’s economy.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Special elections, Cape Reopening Task Force, and more

— Polls are open today in two Senate districts to fill vacancies from the resignations of former Sens. Vinny deMacedo and Donald Humason. See post below on the elections.

— The Revenue Committee solicits testimony on four bills, two of which are related to COVID-19, including a proposal to provide state stimulus checks to immigrant taxpayers.

— The MBTA Advisory Board, an outside agency representing cities and towns in the T’s service area, hosts a virtual public meeting to discuss a revised fiscal year 2021 operating budget, 10 a.m.

Mass. Clean Energy Center’s board of directors holds a remote meeting, 10 a.m.

— Sen. Julian Cyr, Wendy Northcross, president of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, and Sean O’Brien, director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, hold a conference-call press availability hosted by the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force, 1 p.m.

For the most comprehensive listing of calendar items, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available), as well as MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.

Today’s Stories

Reminder to readers: SHNS Coronavirus Tracker available for free

A reminder to our readers as the coronavirus crisis unfolds: The paywalled State House News Service, which produces MASSterList, is making its full Coronavirus Tracker available to the community for free on a daily basis each morning via ML. SHNS Coronavirus Tracker.

The numbers: 65 new deaths, 5,862 total deaths, 1,042 new cases

MassLive has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Baker’s reopening balancing act

Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday unveiled his Phase One reopening plan for Massachusetts – and to no one’s surprise it takes a cautious approach towards getting the economy restarted while maintaining restrictions to avoid another surge of coronavirus cases. The Globe’s Matt Stout and Tim Logan and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) have the general Phase One reopening details.

Here’s the full report from the administration. CBS Boston and WBUR also have good summaries about what can and can’t reopen — and the numerous safety restrictions attached to the administration’s orders. Also, see our post immediately below on how specific industries fare, as well as general-interest reopening items.

The reaction of the medical community to Phase One? No surprise: Caution. From the Globe: “Scientists say Baker’s reopening plan is sensible, but still concerning.” Other reactions are below. 

Industry-by-industry Phase One reopenings (and non-reopenings)

Rather than wading through the Baker administration’s Phase One reopening report to find the industry or subject matter that most interests you, here are some stories dealing with specific industries and subject matters of interest. Take your pick.

From WBUR: “Mass. Restaurants Will Open Back Up In ‘Phase 2.’ When Is That? No One Knows”

From MassLive: “Massachusetts to allow for expanded ‘curbside’ retail starting May 25 as part of Gov. Charlie Baker’s coronavirus reopening plan”

From WCVB: “Massachusetts beaches to reopen Memorial Day, May 25 with restrictions”

From “Hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to open — by appointment only — on Monday, May 25”

From “Here’s the specific reopening guidance for office work in Massachusetts”

From MassLive: “Massachusetts reopening plan for recreational marijuana calls for curbside delivery to start May 25”

From the BBJ: “Many Boston construction sites can reopen today — including the South Station tower” 

From the Globe: “Here’s what the Mass. reopening plan says about colleges, K-12 schools, and day care”

The inevitable mixed reactions …

We were tempted to headline this post “Winner and Losers” but opted for old reliable because the reactions really are mixed. In any event, here are some stories covering the mixed-reactions gamut regarding the governor’s reopening announcement yesterday – from WBUR and Wicked Local and the Globe and MetroWest Daily News and the Berkshire Eagle.

And here are some more specific reactions. From MassLive: “’There are key areas that require more focus’; Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey responds to state’s reopening plan.” … From CommonWealth magazine: “On church reopening, a muted ‘amen.’” … And from MassLive again: “Massachusetts nurses double down on calls for more safety standards in hospitals.”

‘Man in the Middle’

CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas writes that Gov. Charlie Baker’s moderate instincts and “penchant for cautious incrementalism” served him politically well in the years leading up to the coronavirus crisis – and they appear to be serving him well during the crisis, up to and including yesterday’s Phase One reopening announcement.

But the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld isn’t happy with the governor’s balanced middle-man approach. Not at all.


Moderna’s shares soar after it reports positive early-stage test results for vaccine

We’re talking very early-stage test results here. Still, the BBJ’s Allison DeAngelis has the details on Cambridge-based Moderna Inc’s announcement yesterday that its coronavirus vaccine candidate showed positive effects in boosting antibodies in 25 patients.

The New York Times has more on Moderna’s “glint of hope to a world desperate for ways to stop the pandemic,” a glint of hope that also sent the firm’s stocks soaring yesterday.

BBJ (pay wall)

UMass Amherst announces staff furloughs and buyouts amid ‘severe financial pressures’

It’s not only small colleges facing financial challenges due to coronavirus crisis. MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports UMass Amherst plans to implement staff furloughs and offer buyout packages as the university deals with “severe financial pressures.”

How severe are the pressures? The UMass athletic director and football and men’s basketball coaches have agreed to 10 percent pay cuts, reports Matt Vautour at MassLive. NCAA Division 1 coaches taking pay cuts? This must be serious.


Report: State revenues could take a $6B hit

Speaking of severe financial pressures, amid all the recent surge and partial reopening news, don’t forget the state’s budget needs addressing by Beacon Hill lawmakers – and it’s not looking good. SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports on the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation’s latest projection of a possible state revenue hit of $6 billion.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Decision day: Voters in today’s special elections urged to wear masks and have patience

Town and city clerks on the South Shore and Cape are urging voters heading out to elect a new state senator in Plymouth and Barnstable today to wear their masks, bring their own pens and expect lines at the polls where social distancing measures will be in place, Joe DiFazio reports in the Patriot Ledger.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Roman of MassLive reports voters choosing a state senator in the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District will also see plenty of changes when they head to the polls. 

Health care system eyes its own reopening

After incurring huge financial losses during the coronavirus crisis, many hospitals and community health centers are once again starting to offer non-emergency services that were suspended earlier this year to make way for COVID-19 patients, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan. Along the same lines, from the Globe’s Andy Rosen: “MGH begins to shift some resources as COVID-19 cases decline.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

The MBTA: Full service won’t return until the final phase, whenever that happens

Don’t look for a fully operational T until … well, until later. From Zenijor Enwemeka at WBUR: “The MBTA will continue to run at reduced service levels, even as a range of businesses begin to reopen under new rules outlined by the Baker administration Monday. Bus service will return more slowly than train service, and the entire system won’t return to full service until the final phases of the state’s reopening plan.”


Missing in Action: $500 billion Treasury fund meant for coronavirus relief has lent barely any money so far

Massachusetts congressional delegation, take note. The Washington Post reports that a $500 billion Treasury loan fund intended to help indebted companies, airlines and local governments has been largely sitting idle, as a new Congressional Oversight Commission has discovered. The Post piece tries to explain the bureaucratic mechinations.

Washington Post

NAACP convention will be held online instead

The Globe’s Adrian Walker reports that the postponed NAACP National Convention, which was originally scheduled to be held in Boston in July, has been recast as a virtual event as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Boston Globe

Senator: Nursing home industry on verge of collapse

In other health-care industry news, nursing-home deaths account for a majority of those who have died of COVID-19 in Massachusetts – and now the nursing-home industry is facing yet another crisis: Financial collapse, according to Sen. Cindy Friedman. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine has more.


The Odd Couple: A Biden and Warren ticket?

There used to be a running feud between the two, but now many say Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren might actually make for a good fit when it comes to the two running together as Dem presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively. The Globe’s Jess Bidgood explores the “complex history” of Biden and Warren and how it could give way to a new alliance.

Meanwhile, Ro Khanna, in a Globe opinion piece, writes that Warren is the perfect candidate for Biden to channel FDR. Our view: We see how Warren might bolster Biden’s left flank, but how does Warren help Biden secure key centrist voters in a general election?

Boston Globe

Tweet police: Cambridge council censures officer of offensive missive

Frustrated that the city’s police department won’t reveal what punishment a superior officer received after sending an offensive tweet aimed at two U.S. lawmakers, the Cambridge city council voted to issue its own censure Monday. The order calls the tweet, which took aim at U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy and his primary opponent, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, “unprofessional, disrespectful and vulgar.” 

Cambridge Day

Affordable ways to find new customers now.

Attracting customers doesn’t have to be expensive. Small business expert Steve Strauss talks with host Julie Hyman to share easy, affordable ways you can find new customers, even in these challenging times.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

How Nonprofit Leaders are Weathering the COVID-19 Storm

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on nonprofits’ programs and operations–and on the communities they serve–are immense. This free webinar will feature a moderated panel discussion with Bob Gittens of Cambridge Children’s and Families Service, Priscilla Kane Hellweg of Enchanted Circle Theater, and Celina Miranda of Hyde Square Task Force on the impacts of COVID-19 on their organizations.

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) and State House News Forum

JALSA Schmoozefest with Senator Cindy Friedman and the Greater Boston Food Bank

Schmoozefest has been a huge success. So why not join us on Tuesday for a late afternoon cup of coffee? This week we will be are excited to welcome: Senator Cindy Friedman Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing and Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, speaking on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health issues.


Coronavirus and the 2020 Elections

EJ Dionne, Washington Post columnist and political commentator, and Janet Hook, staff writer at The Los Angeles Times, discuss implications of the novel coronavirus for the 2020 elections.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Brands With A Purpose Series: “Redefining Success with Social Impact” – Virtual Fireside Chat with CEO, David Heath

David Heath the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bombas will discuss the evolution of product offerings and how Bombas’ mission plays into the company’s culture and social impact.

Harvard Business School Association of Boston

ELM Wednesday Webinars | Session 7: The Future of Transportation Post-COVID

Join us Wednesday for The Future of Transportation Post-COVID, with Monica Tibbits-Nutt, who sits on the board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, is Vice Chair of the MBTA’s Fiscal Management Control Board, and serves as Executive Director of 128 Business Council. We’ll discuss COVID-19’s long-term impacts on traffic congestion, density, environmental justice, and transit.

Environmental League of Massachusetts

A Virtual Conversation with Pierce Brosnan & Senator Ed Markey

Join Senator Ed Markey for a virtual conversation with Pierce Brosnan.

Ed Markey for Senate

Webinar: What Harvard Taught Me But My Kids Made Me Learn with Bea Wray

With grace, insight, and humor, Bea shares of her six year “break” on Daufuskie Island raising three children – and how it taught her that parenting is a breakthrough… not a break from a career.

Harvard Business School Association of Boston

The Electoral College

Mary Sarah Bilder, Boston College professor of law, Edward B. Foley, Ohio State University professor of constitutional law, and Jesse Wegman, author of Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College, discuss the history of and contemporary challenges to the Electoral College.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

US Foreign Policy and China

Lucy Hornby, a fellow at the Nieman Center for Journalism and former Beijing deputy bureau chief for the Financial Times, and Yasheng Huang, MIT professor of international management, discuss US foreign policy challenges and opportunities with Anthony Saich, Harvard professor of international affairs and director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

A Virtual Conversation with Michael Douglas & Senator Ed Markey

Join Senator Ed Markey for a virtual conversation with Michael Douglas.

Senator Ed Markey

Today’s Headlines


The MBTA Won’t Return To Full Service Until Final Phase Of State’s Reopening – WBUR

Woman who pleaded guilty in Varsity Blues case sentenced, fined – Boston Globe


Final strike: Worcester’s last candlepin alley closes – Telegram & Gazette

Towns step up to help small businesses that fall through the cracks – Greenfield Recorder

Anita Hill to speak at Mt. Holyoke commencement – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Biden White House would yank Keystone XL pipeline permit – Politico

Thinking about buying a bike? Get ready for a very long wait – New York Times

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