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New England states move to help those who lose their jobs

  • Assistant principals James Flynn and Erin Lyons-Barton, left, help distribute food to students at Maloney High School in Meriden, Conn. Tuesday, March 17, 2020. (Dave Zajac/Record-Journal via AP) DAVE ZAJAC

  • Dolores Ginn and Garry Brault, both of Lewiston, Maine, stand apart from one another as they wait for the bus at the Oak Street parking garage in downtown Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Brault said that he just came from the grocery store where many of the shelves are bare. Ginn said that she is 86-years-old and not worried at all about the coronavirus pandemic. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal via AP) Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

By The Associated Press
Published: 3/18/2020 8:15:47 PM
Modified: 3/18/2020 8:15:54 PM
NEW HAMPSHIRESununu seeks open enrollment for health insurance

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu asked for federal permission to create a special 60- to 90-day open enrollment period through the marketplace. A group of Democratic state senators also asked the state insurance department to help those who might lose their jobs and thus their health insurance.

Sununu also ordered the state-owned Cannon Mountain ski resort to close at the end of Wednesday due to “large amounts of public congregation.”

Manchester asks for cleaning supplies for city employees

New Hampshire’s largest city has put out a call to the community to donate cleaning wipes and disinfectant for its employees.

Manchester officials say the city is running out of supplies for essential employees who continue to have contact with the public, such as garbage collectors, police officers and firefighters. City officials said they are also asking the state for help.

Earlier in the week, Mayor Joyce Craig asked that only essential employees report to work.

VERMONTScott moves to close child care centers

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has directed child care centers in the state to close to help slow the spread of the coronavirus but is asking those serving essential workers to remain open. That includes those serving nurses, doctors and law enforcement.

All schools had been ordered to close no later than Wednesday. Late Tuesday, Scott also ordered schools to provide child care for “essential persons working in response to the crisis.”

MASSACHUSETTSLawmakers approve plan to waive waiting period for unemployment benefits

Massachusetts lawmakers have approved legislation that would waive the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits. The measure was filed by Gov. Charlie Baker to aid those out of work because of steps taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Those steps include closing all bars and restaurants in the state except for takeout and delivery. The move by lawmakers comes as unemployment claims are surging.

MBTA adds lines to respond to crowding

The Boston-area transit system is again revising schedules to ensure that employees at hospitals, government offices and food distribution facilities can easily get to work during the pandemic.

Starting Wednesday, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority added additional Blue Line service in the morning and additional Green Line E Branch capacity in response to crowding on Tuesday. That was the first day of the agency’s revised schedule.

MAINEGovernor orders bars, restaurants closed to dine-in service

Maine Gov. Janet Mills ordered all restaurants and bars closed to dine-in customers effective at 6 p.m. Wednesday in response to the threat from the new coronavirus. Her order also prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people covering everything from faith-based events to fitness clubs.

She also urged public-facing businesses like gyms and malls to close their doors for two weeks. Excluded would be essential services like food-processing companies, banks, auto repair and hardware stores.

The Democratic governor made her announcement as the number of positive tests for coronavirus topped 40 in the state.

Mills also signed emergency legislation to temporarily expand unemployment benefits, establish a consumer loan guarantee program and authorize the governor to direct the manner of the June primary, among other things.

CONNECTICUTState opens health care enrollment to uninsured residents

Connecticut’s health insurance marketplace announced Wednesday that uninsured residents will be able to sign up for coverage under a special enrollment period that’s been created in light of the coronavirus.

Eligible residents can begin signing up Thursday for plans offered by Access Health CT’s two insurance carriers, Anthem and ConnectiCare. The enrollment period ends April 2, and the coverage will begin on April 1.

RHODE ISLAND20,000 unemployment claims flood in over week-and-a-half span

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training said Wednesday that 19,855 Rhode Islanders filed new unemployment claims from March 7 to March 17. Of those, nearly 18,000 cited the new virus as the reason.

Gov. Gina Raimondo is among the governors who have called for federal authorities to help states replenish their unemployment coffers as the virus’s impact widens.

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