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No new COVID-19 deaths in Massachusetts; Big E canceled

BOSTON (AP) — For the first time in months, Massachusetts reported no new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday.

The number of confirmed and probable COVID-19-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic fell from 8,095 to 8,054.

Public health officials said the drop in the number of deaths was due to “ongoing data cleaning which identifies and removes duplicate reports.”

There were 114 newly confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, reported Tuesday — bringing the total number of confirmed and probable cases to nearly 108,900 in Massachusetts.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 fell to 733, down from 762 reported Monday. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care also fell to 120, down from the 138 reported Monday.

Patients requiring intubation fell from 79 on Monday to 63 reported Tuesday.

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VISITORS-QUARANTINE

Travelers from seven nearby states that have worked to curb the spread of the coronavirus will no longer be told to self-quarantine for 14 days when arriving in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday.

The new rules, which take effect Wednesday, apply to visitors from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York and New Jersey. Workers designated by the federal government as essential critical infrastructure workers are also exempt.

“These surrounding states, like Massachusetts, are seeing a significant decline in cases and new hospitalizations,” Baker said.

All other visitors — including those from states currently experiencing increases in reported cases of COVID-19 — are still instructed to self-quarantine for two weeks after arriving in Massachusetts. The self-quarantine also applies to Massachusetts residents who are arriving home after visiting other states, except from the seven exempt states.

Any travelers displaying symptoms of COVID-19 should not travel to Massachusetts, the Republican governor cautioned.

“You need to respect the virus,” Baker said at a Statehouse news conference.

Baker also said both Massachusetts residents and visitors to the state are required to use masks or face coverings in public places where they can’t socially distance.

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BIG E FAIR CANCELED

The 2020 Big E, a multistate fair in Massachusetts that drew more than 1.6 million visitors last year, has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced Monday.

The event was scheduled for Sept. 18 through Oct. 4 in West Springfield.

“For the safety of our fairgoers, staff, vendors, entertainers, exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers and the broader community, we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 Big E," trustees of the Eastern States Exposition, the nonprofit that organizes the event, said in a statement. “Please know that this decision was not made lightly. In fact, it was one of the hardest decisions we, as an organization, have had to make in modern times."

The fair was founded in 1916 and was put on hold during both World Wars.

It features exhibitions that highlight all six New England states, as well as nationally known musical acts, parades, fair rides and other entertainment.

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RENTAL, MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE

A new $20 million fund to help low-income households having trouble making rent and mortgage payments was announced Tuesday by the Baker administration.

The Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance program is aimed at aiding renters and homeowners who have suffered financial hardship during the state of emergency put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The program will expand eligibility to more low-income households by adjusting the income threshold beyond the state’s traditional Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program.

The new program will provide up to $4,000 to pay rent or mortgage payments in arrears going back to payments due April 1.

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SHAKESPEARE DRIVE-IN

Renowned theater group Shakespeare & Company has been given the go-ahead by the town of Lenox to convert its grounds into a temporary drive-in movie theater this summer.

The organization previously canceled all live performances because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The town’s zoning board voted 5-0 to approve a three-month special permit for the drive-in, according to The Berkshire Eagle.

The drive-in season will begin either July 16 or July 23, Shakespeare & Company Artistic Director Allyn Burrows said. The site will host 40 cars — spaced 10 feet apart — four nights a week for screenings.

Although film schedules have not been announced, organizers expect to screen Shakespeare movies including “Romeo and Juliet,” “Henry V,” “As You Like It” and “Macbeth."

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KING RICHARD'S FAIRE

Yet another beloved New England tradition is canceling its activities because of the coronavirus.

Officials at King Richard’s Faire in Carver announced that due to the continuing health concerns brought on by the virus, they took the difficult step not to opening for the 2020 season.

“While ours is a land of make believe, there is no doubt that COVID-19 and its impacts are very real,” reads a notice on the group’s website. “Our main focus is to protect all of our customers and those that help us bring the magic and merriment into our Faire.”

A 40th anniversary season is being planned for next year.

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Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

 

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