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New England virus roundup: Maine ends COVID-19 visitor testing and quarantine needs

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Effective Saturday, all states will be exempt from Maine’s COVID-19 travel requirements.

The state is exempting all states from testing and quarantine requirements but that could change based on the spread of variants, said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The policy change is based on a successful travel season last summer where there was little transmission of COVID-19 from visitors to Maine. The introduction of vaccines also played a role in the decision, he said.

If states see a spike in cases of highly contagious COVID-19 variants, Maine will reinstate quarantine and testing requirements, Shah said.

Regardless of the policy, it’s a good idea to be tested when returning to Maine from an out-of-state visit, he said.

MASSACHUSETTS

Bentley University is sending its 2021 graduates into the world after the first-ever college graduation Saturday at Boston's Fenway Park.

After the class of 2021 ceremony Saturday morning, the university was to hold a second ceremony to recognize the class of 2020.

While Bentley was the first school to use the home of the Boston Red Sox for its graduation, Northeastern and Suffolk universities, Emerson College and a number of high schools will also be using the location later this spring.

Former Bentley President Gloria Larson encouraged Bentley’s graduates to “make the world a better place” and praised students for their resilience during the pandemic.

“We’ve experienced an untold loss of human life; felt economic and financial hardship; experienced social unrest and a needed reckoning around race and social justice; and saw a deepening political and social divide at home and abroad," she said. “But here today, in spite of or perhaps because of these challenges, we stand stronger."

IMMIGRANT RECOGNITION

An annual gathering at the Massachusetts State House recognizing immigrants will take place virtually this year because of the pandemic.

The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition says it’s 25th annual Immigrants’ Day will be held May 4 on Zoom and Facebook Live.

Boston Mayor Kim Janey, state Sen. William Brownsberger, state Rep. Ruth Balser, and Eva Millona, head of the MIRA Coalition, are among the featured speakers.

The event typically bringing hundreds of immigrants and refugees to the State House to meet with elected officials and advocate for their legislative priorities.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

An annual race for runners to the summit of Mount Washington is back on schedule this year.

The 60th Mount Washington Road Race is scheduled for June 19-20 up the steep 7.6-mile road to the 6,288-foot summit.

The women’s race will be held on the first day; the men’s race o the second. Last year’s race was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Runners come from all over the country for the race.

RHODE ISLAND

The Providence Marathon is back after a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

The Providence Journal reports the Sunday race will be limited to 1,000 runners as opposed to 5,000.

Race Director Susan Rancourt says it will have a “pulse” start with runners 6 feet apart and starting in small groups every 10 seconds. The runners will also be required to wear masks for the first mile and then at the finish line.

There will be a marathon, a half marathon and a 5 kilometer race.

Spectators won't be allowed at the start, although there are spots along the courts for the marathon and the half marathon that will have good vantage points.

The race will begin and end at the State House in Providence. The full marathon will start at 7:30 a.m., the half marathon will start at 8 a.m. and the 5K will start at 8:15 a.m.

“People are stoked,” said James Imhoff, of Rhode Runner, a running store in Providence.

“It’s nice to see the enthusiasm back,” he said. “A lot of people are excited about racing again.”

VERMONT

The Vermont Health Department is scheduling vaccine clinics at various colleges after the state opened up eligibility to out-of-state students this week.

There were also many open appointments at other sites this weekend and at college campuses in the coming days that are open to all eligible Vermonters aged 16 and older, said Human Services Secretary Mike Smith on Friday.

Clinics will be held at University of Vermont on Sunday, Middlebury College and Bennington College on Tuesday, St. Michael’s College on Thursday, Northern Vermont University in Lyndon on Friday and Castleton University next Saturday, May 8, he said.

People can make an appointment on the Health Department’s website or by calling 855-722-7878;.

Smith is also advising Vermonters to put their vaccination card in a safe place.

“I recommend taking a photo of it with your smart phone and keeping it handy as you may need it if you decide to travel,” he said Friday during the governor’s twice-weekly virus briefing.

Vermonters who lose their vaccination card can request a record of their vaccination from the state registry or from their health care provider.

 

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