Restaurant reopenings, Allston I-90 project, and more
— The next reopening stage starts today with restaurants resuming indoor table services and offices operating at half-capacity rather than 25 percent, among other steps outlined by the Baker administration.
— TransitMatters hosts a virtual discussion of its new report outlining how Massachusetts can take steps toward expanding commuter rail service to a regional model amid recovery from the pandemic, 10 a.m.
— Department of Transportation Board and MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board meet in both individual and joint sessions, with topics expected to include the Allston I-90 project, the East-West Rail study, the fiscal 2021 operating budget and other issues, State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 11 a.m.
— State Rep. Mike Connolly of Cambridge hosts a conversation with U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and housing advocates on the need for housing stability during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to hold a conference call with legislative leaders in lieu of their traditional in-person meeting, 2 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.
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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 coronavirus numbers: 30 new deaths, 7,858 total deaths, 125 new cases
WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.
Indoor dining resumes today. But will patrons return?
WBUR’s Liam Knox and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) report that Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday officially lifted the ban on indoor restaurant dining in Massachusetts — starting today and with social-distancing restrictions, of course — as the state enters the latest phase of reopening the state’s economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The BBJ reports that state restaurants are ready and eager to reopen. But are patrons ready and eager to dine in restaurants? The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports there’s ‘no big rush’ among people to eat inside amid the pandemic.
Fyi: In addition to reopening restaurants, the governor says office buildings can return to 50 percent capacity, also as of today. But for those businesses that remain closed – such as gyms and casinos – they’ll just have to wait a little longer to reopen, with the Phase 3 reopening process delayed at least one week, according to a report at WCVB.
The numbers are in (mostly): The coronavirus has disproportionately hit Blacks and Hispanics in Massachusetts
Though there’s still huge gaps in the available data, it now seems pretty clear: The coronavirus outbreak has disproportionately hit Blacks and Hispanics the hardest in Massachusetts, as measured by the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, according to new age-adjusted data. NBC Boston’s Young-Jin Kim and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl have the details, while WGBH’s Saraya Wintersmith provides some actual names, faces and life stories of those who perished.
Baker warns of a coronavirus ‘echo’ this fall
As he stands firm on his cautious go-it-slow approach towards reopening the economy, Gov. Charlie Baker says he’s determined, via testing and tracing and other measure, to do everything possible to avert a possible fall “echo” of the coronavirus, i.e. a rebound in the number of cases. “We’re not going to be caught by surprise this fall,” Baker says, as CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports.
Fair warning or ‘alarmist’? Cape debates whether visitors will bring surge
As the governor worries about a fall ‘echo,’ others are worried about a summer echo, with some health experts fearing an increase in coronavirus cases in summer playgrounds such as the Cape. But at least one lawmaker calls such warnings “alarmist,” Cynthia McCormick at the Cape Cod Times reports. State Sen. Julian Cyr said he is confident the state’s contact tracing and testing protocols, along with mask-wearing compliance, should help avoid a significant surge in cases.
Flexing their muscle: Hundreds rally in support of closed Oxford gym
George Barnes at Wicked Local reports that hundreds of people turned out at a recent rally in support of the Oxford gym owner who has defied Gov. Charlie Baker’s emergency closure order and who has seen the water and power shut off at his gym as a result. And he’s also seen the locks changed at his facility, courtesy of the town of Oxford. At the Herald, the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance’s Paul Craney insists Baker is abusing his emergency powers via his lockdown orders.
So was the University of Washington right about the state’s coronavirus death toll?
Noticing how the state’s COVID-19 death toll is now approaching 8,000, a MassterList reader has sent in a link to this now seemingly ancient Globe story from April, when state officials and a Northeastern professor adamantly disagreed with an influential University of Washington group’s projection that 8,219 would eventually die from the virus in the Bay State before the summer. You decide who turned out to be mostly right — and wrong.
Prolonged recession’: State jobless rate rises to 16.3 percent
The state saw a small jump in jobs in May, but it made little difference in the overall employment picture in Massachusetts, as the state’s re-adjusted jobless rate climbed last month to a whopping 16.3 percent, even as the nation’s jobless rate fell. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan has all the numbers.
Meanwhile, Mayor Marty Walsh is warning of a “prolonged recession” that will continue to severely strain the city of Boston’s budget, reports the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky.
Baker seeks $5.25 billion interim state budget amid financial disarray
As the state’s economy reels and state tax collections plunge, Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday field a $5.25 billion interim spending budget that would keep the government running through July, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy. We suspect it’s the first of possibly many interim budgets, considering the current disarray in state finances.
They’re still marching across the state …
Anti-racism protesters were out in force over the weekend, starting with Juneteenth celebrations and protests on Friday, as WBUR reports. … Protesters even rallied outside Mayor Walsh’s house early Saturday morning, reports Universal Hub. … Also on Saturday, thousands marched in Cambridge calling for the defunding of police, Cambridge Day’s Marc Levy reports. … Protesters also made their voices heard on Sunday, via the Herald: “Diverse demonstrations continue social justice fight on Father’s Day.” … The Patriot Ledger has separate reports on protests in Milton and in Rockland. … From the MetroWest Daily News: “Black Lives matter protesters rally near Mendon Drive-in.” … From the Salem News: “Salem marks Juneteenth with march through city.” … From the Berkshire Eagle: “Youth take the lead in Pittsfield march for racial justice.”
Amid defunding debate, Baker calls for $5,000 police-training bonuses
This may be a good idea, but it’s going to need a lot of explaining. From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “Tucked into a sweeping police accountability bill Governor Charlie Baker released last week was a proposal that surprised even some law enforcement leaders: a system of one-time bonuses up to $5,000 for police officers who go beyond the state’s required training.”
Stout notes some are hailing the idea of advanced police training, even though it comes at a time when many are calling for police-department spending cuts. Btw, from the Globe’s Danny McDonald: “Boston councilors propose diverting nonviolent 911 calls away from police.”
Meanwhile, Worcester police haul in post-training bucks as well
As Gov. Charlie Baker proposes an extra training bonus for cops as part of his policing-reforms package, Worcester police have been getting a payroll boost of a different sort for years, with police officers now accounting for 90 of the 100 highest paid employees in the city, reports Melissa Hanson at MassLive.
He didn’t listen: Walsh says he advised Gross not to meet with Barr
It sure looks like the mayor is throwing the commissioner under bus, but we could be wrong. Anyway, a three-reporter team at the Boston Globe and the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter report that Mayor Marty Walsh says he advised Boston Police Commissioner William Gross not to meet with AG William Barr last week, but Gross went ahead with the meeting in any event. In an editorial, the Herald is praising Gross for his meeting with the controversial Barr, while Herald columnist Peter Lucas writes that politicians have turned throwing police under the bus into an art form in general.
Not going quietly: Worcester Magazine scribe quits, says critical columns were spiked
Grievances aired. Worcester Magazine reporter/columnist Bill Shaner says he quit the publication last week after it twice refused to publish columns he wrote that slammed city leadership over its response to Black Lives Matter protesters calling for changes to the police budget. Shaner launched his own Web site to cover the city.
The woke candidates: Ed Markey and Joe Kennedy
The Globe’s Victoria McGrane reports on how the killing last month of George Floyd and the subsequent weeks of nationwide anti-racism protests have completely transformed the U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, forcing rival Dem candidates Ed Markey and Joseph Kennedy, both white males, to adapt to the suddenly changed political times.
Separately, McGrane also reports that Markey has won the endorsement of U.S. Senate colleague and former presidential candidate Cory Booker .
Are Warren’s VP chances diminishing by the protest day?
Amid nationwide protests demanding an end to racial inequities and calls for Joe Biden to select a woman of color as his VP running mate, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s chances of getting the VP nod appear to be diminishing, political insiders say, as the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports. The Herald’s Hillary Chabot writes that Warren, considered a finalist in the VP sweepstakes, whiffed when she passed up a chance over the weekend to endorse a woman of color being on the Dem general-election ticket.
Chelsea’s latest woe: Man-made dust storm
The city of Chelsea has faced a number of challenges of late, including the highest coronavirus infection rate in the state and food shortages etc. Recently, it’s also had to battle dust from the demolition work on the Tobin Bridge – and we’re talking dust that covers everything and anything. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth has the details .
Gerard Doherty, advisor to three Kennedy presidential campaigns, RIP
Gerard Doherty, 92, a former state lawmaker and believed to be the last surviving person to have worked on the presidential campaigns of all three Kennedy brothers, has passed away. The Globe’s Bryan Marquard has more.
Up in smoke: Reward offered in suspicious fire at abandoned mill
A massive fire destroyed part of the former Strathmore paper company mill in Russell over the weekend, taking with it plans to open a cannabis facility inside the long-shuttered facility, Jeanette DeForge at MassLive reports. Investigators say the fire is suspicious and are offering a reward.
The key to fierce loyalty: An amazing customer experience.
Set your small business apart by creating amazing customer experiences. Shep Hyken will break down his six “Convenience Principles” to improve your customer satisfaction and create fierce loyalty.
A Virtual Conversation with Sally Field and Senator Ed Markey
A Virtual Conversation with Sally Field and Senator Ed Markey will be held on a video conferencing platform for everyone to enjoy safely from their homes.
Free Webinar: Digital Schooling During COVID-19 & Beyond
We are pleased to offer a free webinar featuring Julie Young, founder of the highly successful Florida Virtual School (the country’s largest statewide Internet-based public high school) and current Vice President of Education Outreach at ASU and Managing Director of ASU Prep Digital.
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