Keller at Large
Keller at Large
Keller at Large
Return to work roundtable, mayoral forum
3 p.m. | The Massachusetts High Technology Council holds a virtual roundtable on the COVID-19 Delta variant including insights on infection rates, vaccine efficacy over time, and guidance for organizations who are monitoring changes that impact return to work plans. Speakers are Peter Healy of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Peter Slavin of Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dan Barouch of Barouch Laboratory. Stephen Pagliuca of Bain Capital moderates.
5 p.m. | Boston’s 20 Main Street organizations hold a mayoral candidate forum to explore how each candidate plans to support, sutain and advance healthy commercial districts through the Main Streets program. Nubian Square, 1127 Harrison Ave., Boston.
Return of the mandates: More communities tee up mask rules
Who needs an order from the governor? A growing number of Bay State communities are taking matters into their own hands and passing local ordinances requiring mask wearing in public settings amid surging coronavirus cases driven by the Delta variant.
Belmont on Monday became the second community in the state to reinstate its mask mandate, after Provincetown did so last month and a host of communities could soon follow suit., Felice J. Freyer, John R. Ellement and Julia Carlin of the Globe report.
Northampton’s own mask mandate returns on Wednesday, Brian Steele of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. That city’s health department also says it is investigating a cluster of cases tied to a local indoor business.
Meanwhile, the city of Salem is poised to bring back its mask rules, with the Board of Health meeting today to consider several new measures. Dustin Luca of the Salem News reports the changes come as Witch City’s businesses say the local economy was just getting its tourism-heavy groove back.
Still more communities are taking half-measures, with a slew requiring mask when entering municipal buildings, creating a confusing patchwork of suburban rules, Lillian Eden of the MetroWest Daily News reports.
Mask up: UMass Amherst will require face coverings indoors
Masks will be also required in all indoor spaces at the University of Massachusetts’ Amherst campus this fall. UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy announced the decision Monday in response to concerns over the Delta variant of COVID-19, the State House News’ Katie Lannan reports. The Amherst campus also moved Monday to require staff and faculty to get the COVID-19 shot before returning to campus, following closely behind Boston University last month.
Breakthrough breakdown: State details deaths in the vaccinated
The backdrop for the masking debate, of course, is the Delta variant-driven surge and the Mass Department of Health has shed new light on the scale of the spike in cases, with a focus on so-called breakthrough cases. DPH says there have been 100 deaths in the Bay State cases involving vaccinated individuals, though 73 percent of them had at least one underlying condition and their average age was 82.5, Rick Sobey of the Herald reports.
Nasty already: Gig worker ballot question draws campaign finance complaint
The gloves are off already. The 2022 state election may be a ways in the distance yet, but the two sides in a proposed ballot question about the status of gig-economy workers is already getting testy. Pranshu Verma of the Globe and Chris Lisinski of State House News Service report the Coalition to Protect Workers’ Rights has filed a complaint with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance accusing the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work of lying in paperwork filed with regulators about planned expenditures in support of the question.
Still struggling: Food insecurity in Massachusetts well above pre-pandemic levels
It’s going to be a long road back. The pandemic ignited a striking surge in food insecurity, and Massachusetts is still feeling the impacts, with about 1 in 6 residents now considered food insecure. Many of those residents are not enrolled in federal programs because they didn’t believe they were eligible for benefits, WGBH’s Zoe Matthews reports. Before the pandemic, around 1 in 12 Mass. residents were considered food insecure.
Interim no more: Fuller named permanent chancellor of UMass Dartmouth
Apparently, he nailed the tryout. After eight months as interim chancellor of UMass Dartmouth, Mark Fuller was named to the job permanently on Monday by UMass President Marty Meehan. Kerri Tallman of the Standard-Times reports Fuller, who was previously dean of Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, was named after an expansive search that began back in April and included 67 formal applicants.
Big money, big plans: Worcester outlines how it will spend $111 million in federal aid
Affordable housing, parks, local businesses and public health initiatives are all in line to share in the bounty as Worcester distributes at least $111 million–and as much as $150 million–in federal Covid relief funds coming its way, but Steven Foskett Jr. of the Telegram reports some community groups are already clamoring for a more transformative and focused use of the American Rescue Plan Act windfall.
No more zeroes: Warren plan would tax publicly reported profits
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and progressive allies in Congress will unveil a plan to slap a 7 percent tax on windfall earnings that public companies tout to their investors–regardless of how much they work down their tax bill via the IRS. Emily Cochrane of the New York Times reports Warren wants the tax to help pay for Democrats’ $3.5 billion budget framework and that it takes direct aim at companies that show profits to shareholders but tell the IRS their tax bill should be a big fat zero.
Bring it on: President of Boston Teachers Union supports vaccine mandate for educators
The head of the Boston Teachers Union, Jessica Tang, said on Monday that she would support a vaccine requirement for educators this fall. She said those with religious or medical exemptions should have to submit to regular COVID-19 testing, the Boston Globe’s Felicia Gans reports. The union and its umbrella organization had previously opted to make vaccines optional for educators.
Checking out: As trials resume, Berkshires court wants out of contract with local hotel
They’re looking to get an early checkout. Berkshire Superior Court is looking to end its $850,000 contract with the local Holiday Inn & Suites after holding just two juvenile trials there, Amanda Burke of the Berkshire Eagle reports. A court spokesperson says having the option of scheduling trials helped push some cases to a negotiated resolution and that the state’s superior court system is also looking to negotiate an early end to similar contracts in other cities.
Bad for business? Construction on Green Line has some restaurant owners worried
Business owners along the MBTA’s Green Line E Branch are worrying an ongoing construction project could drive customers away. An effort to upgrade worn tracks between South Harrington and Brigham circle will shut down the branch for the next month, Boston.com’s Dialynn Dwyer reports. Still recovering from the economic devastation of the pandemic, some restaurant owners will be forced to curb outdoor seating and worry their businesses may suffer as a result.
The ‘F’ word: Mayoral hopefuls lay out ways to make Boston more fun
Block parties. Later closing times. And lots more liquor licenses. Janelle Nanos of the Globe asked the candidates hoping to be Boston’s next mayor what they would do to liven up the Hub and shake off both its staid image and the lingering effects of the pandemic and found a focus on building out the city’s nightlife infrastructure and creating more places where residents can mingle.
Planning ahead: Attleboro enrolling lifeguards for next summer
File this under: pretty smart. In the midst of a dangerous summer on the water, with state and local beaches and pools alike suffering from a shortage of trained lifeguards, the city of Attleboro has already enrolled nine prospective hires in a lifeguard course to prepare them for the summer of 2022, which we hear is going to be epic. Emma Leeuwenburgh of the Sun Chronicle has the details.
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