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Vermont speeds up reopening, NH Fisher Cats update mask rule

May 15, 2021 GMT

Coronavirus developments across New England:

CONNECTICUT

Yale University is requiring its faculty and staff to get coronavirus vaccinations before the fall term, extending a requirement already imposed for students.

The private university announced the new requirement Friday. It said faculty members, staffers and academic trainees must be fully inoculated by Aug. 1, though there are provisions for exemptions for reasons based on medical conditions or religious or “strongly held” personal beliefs.

Many Yale staffers are in unions. The university said it was discussing the implementation of the policy with them.

“As a leading global research university, we have a responsibility to demonstrate to others the importance of taking actions based on evidence,” and there’s plenty of it showing the vaccines are safe and effective at preventing the virus’s spread, Yale President Peter Salovey and Provost Scott Strobel wrote in a letter to the Yale community.

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MAINE

A state senator in Maine wants to create a grant program to help theaters in the state stay in operation after struggling through the coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. Mattie Daughtry of Brunswick has introduced a bill that would provide the grants to performing and cinematic arts venues.

The program would be part of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and it would provide money to the venues “to bridge the gap between now and when they can operate in a normal fashion.” The grants would help businesses “in the arts that have suffered due to closure from the COVID-19 crisis and help keep businesses afloat,” Daughtry said in a statement.

Daughtry said the proposal would help make sure venues for theater, film and music can stay viable in Maine. The proposal has been subject to a public hearing and would face more consideration in legislative committee.

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MASSACHUSETTS Six Flags New England has reopened, with safety precautions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state on Monday allowed amusement parks, outdoor water parks and theme parks to reopen at half capacity. Six Flags, in Agawam, opened Friday night.

“Rides are now open! See you at the park!” Six Flags said Saturday on Facebook.

Reservations are required, and visitors must wear masks, have their temperatures checked and attest to having been healthy for the prior two weeks.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

Fans of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats no longer have to wear masks at the Manchester stadium if they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Fisher Cats President Mike Ramshaw says fans who are not fully vaccinated will be asked to wear masks, and some sections at Delta Dental Stadium will be reserved for socially-distanced seating.

Seating is currently at half-capacity, but officials plan to expand to full capacity next month.

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VERMONT

The state of Vermont has moved to phase three of its reopening plan two weeks earlier than had been planned.

The state moved to phase three Friday rather than June 1 because it has already exceeded the goal of having of having more than 60% of the population with at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19.

The new guidance removes the testing requirement for travel and decreases event and gathering restrictions.

The new gathering sizes will allow for one unvaccinated person per 50-square feet, up to 300 people, plus any number of vaccinated people for indoor events; and 900 people, plus any number of vaccinated people, outdoors.

On Friday the state also lifted its mask mandate in line with guidance issued by federal officials.

Masks are still required in schools, on public transportation, in healthcare settings, long term care facilities and prisons. The mandate remains in place for those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, including children who are not yet eligible for a vaccine.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.