1. Articles from masslive.com

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    1. Coronavirus brings ‘full stop economy’ to Massachusetts; 4% of workforce files for unemployment in 1st week of shutdown

      Coronavirus brings ‘full stop economy’ to Massachusetts; 4% of workforce files for unemployment in 1st week of shutdown

      Earlier this year, employees at Massachusetts job centers were working with schools on training programs and helping companies fill what had been an insatiable need for more workers. Now they’re helping the newly laid off file for unemployment insurance benefits.

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    2. Coronavirus: Amtrak suspends Vermonter passenger train through Springfield; other north-south trains run on Saturday schedule

      Coronavirus: Amtrak suspends Vermonter passenger train through Springfield; other north-south trains run on Saturday schedule

      Amtrak has suspended service of the Vermonter long-distance train north of New Haven, Connecticut, the railroad announced this week. The train normally goes from Washington, D.C., up the eastern seaboard to New Haven and then on through Hartford and Springfield, ending in St. Albans, Vermont. The Vermonter will not run on Sundays until further notice.

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    3. As coronavirus outbreak spurs grocery shopping, C&S Wholesale Grocers partners with companies that supply restaurants

      As coronavirus outbreak spurs grocery shopping, C&S Wholesale Grocers partners with companies that supply restaurants

      C&S Wholesale Grocers, which has Massachusetts warehouses in Westfield and Hatfield, announced partnerships Thursday with US Foods Holding Corp. and with Performance Food Group Company. Supermarkets have been busy in recent weeks restocking as shoppers buy more than usual. People are eating at home due to the state-mandated shutdown of restaurants except for takeout and delivery, and consumers are concerned trips to the market won’t be convenient.

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    4. Coronavirus: Chicopee offering grants to small businesses struggling to stay in operation

      Coronavirus: Chicopee offering grants to small businesses struggling to stay in operation

      The city will be offering loans to local businesses to help them to continue to operate and keep their employees working during the coronavirus pandemic, even if it is remotely. Officials have received approval to reallocate $150,000 in the anti-poverty Community Development Block Grant money it receives from the federal government to help small businesses. The loans are designed to provide immediate short-term relief to small businesses, Mayor John L. Vieau said.

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    5. Coronavirus shutdown doesn’t close Springfield Smith & Wesson plant; gunmaker donates eye protection to Baystate Health

      Coronavirus shutdown doesn’t close Springfield Smith & Wesson plant; gunmaker donates eye protection to Baystate Health

      Saying it is “critical infrastructure for the United States and the Commonwealth,” gunmaker Smith & Wesson is keeping its manufacturing plants, including the Springfield factory, operational during Gov. Charlie Baker’s order closing “nonessential” businesses across the state.

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    6. Coronavirus testing: Baystate Health has OK, but lacks supplies to begin

      Coronavirus testing: Baystate Health has OK, but lacks supplies to begin

      Despite winning federal approval to begin processing coronavirus tests at its Holyoke lab, Baystate Health still lacks the supplies needed to get the effort off the ground. Baystate spokeswoman Shelly Hazlett said Tuesday afternoon that the health system is awaiting swabs and laboratory chemicals including a reagent, which is asubstance or mixture used in chemical analysis to see if a reaction occurs.

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    7. Coronavirus forces Peter Pan, PVTA to cut back bus schedules; decision follows trains, planes and MBTA

      Coronavirus forces Peter Pan, PVTA to cut back bus schedules; decision follows trains, planes and MBTA

      Peter Pan Bus Lines has temporarily reduced schedules across the Northeast in response to restrictions on travel and gatherings meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Suspended service includes commuter bus service between Worcester, Framingham, and Boston as well as much of the service in and out of Springfield. A full list of suspended bus routes is available at peterpanbus.com/travel-info/travel-alerts.

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    8. Big Y donates $125K to food banks; grocery donations continue 6 days a week

      Big Y donates $125K to food banks; grocery donations continue 6 days a week

      Big Y World Class Markets has donated $125,000 to five food banks in Massachusetts and Connecticut to assist in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, along with the Greater Boston and Worcester County food banks, and Foodshare and the Connecticut Food Bank in Connecticut each received an immediate donation of $25,000.

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      Mentions: Big Y Foods
    9. BJ’s Wholesale Club bumps wages up $2 an hour amid COVID-19 pandemic

      BJ’s Wholesale Club bumps wages up $2 an hour amid COVID-19 pandemic

      BJ’s Wholesale Club is the latest company to boost wages for its employees and offer other compensation during the coronavirus pandemic. Starting Monday, workers will be paid an extra $2 an hour through at least April 12, according to a news release. Managers and key personnel in the stores and distribution centers will receive a one-time bonus that ranges from $500 to $1,000.

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    10. Massachusetts enlists of help of life sciences industry to get supplies for emergency personnel; Here’s what they need - masslive.com

      Massachusetts enlists of help of life sciences industry to get supplies for emergency personnel; Here’s what they need - masslive.com

      Gov. Charlie Baker announced a new Life Sciences Emergency Supply Hub created by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council and several medical associations. The supply hub is the latest effort to track down lab equipment, protective gear, diagnostics and other supplies that the state can send to those who are testing and treating coronavirus patients.

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    11. #GiveMePPE: Coronavirus has Lee manufacturer looking to make medical masks, gowns, sterile wrap amid shortage

      #GiveMePPE: Coronavirus has Lee manufacturer looking to make medical masks, gowns, sterile wrap amid shortage

      A factory that makes medical device components, diagnostic strips and wound dressings is working around the clock to get the necessary equipment and raw materials to start making desperately needed medical masks and other personal protective equipment for health care providers. “We have the equipment in house to make surgical masks, N95 masks,” said B. Stephen Boyd, CEO of the family-owned Boyd Technologies. That includes clean rooms, Boyd said.

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    12. Coronavirus has Amazon hiring in Holyoke, across US; job centers see help wanted notices from manufacturers, trucking firms

      Coronavirus has Amazon hiring in Holyoke, across US; job centers see help wanted notices from manufacturers, trucking firms

      Online retailer Amazon said it is hiring 1,400 people in Massachusetts as part of its plan to add 100,000 jobs across the country to deal with a spike in demand driven by the coronavirus. That includes the new Holyoke distribution center, said Katelyn Chesley, public relations specialist for Amazon operations. Amazon is raising its starting wage to $17 per hour. This is an additional $2 per hour worked through April from its current rate of $15 per hour.

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    13. Coronavirus: Springfield offers grants to restaurants and their employees affected by partial shutdown

      Coronavirus: Springfield offers grants to restaurants and their employees affected by partial shutdown

      Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said the city will offer $222,679 in grants, with a $15,000 maximum per qualified businesses. “As my administration continues to review any and all options to assist our residents and business community during these challenging times, I (want to) see what we could do immediately to ‘Prime the Pump’ to start to spur a ‘shot in the arm’ relief and recovery assistance program for our restaurants and their employees. In the meantime, I ask our public to please continue to support our restaurants’ takeout services as much as you can,” he said.

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    14. Coronavirus response: state offering unemployment benefits to workers quarantined, sidelined by COVID-19

      Coronavirus response: state offering unemployment benefits to workers quarantined, sidelined by COVID-19

      The state will offer emergency unemployment benefits to workers quarantined, sidelined or acting as caretakers for sick loved ones amid the cornonavirus pandemic, which has effectively brought many aspects of daily life to a grinding halt. State officials announced proposals to waive the one-week waiting period for benefits to allow new claims to be paid more quickly.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    15. Retired Pioneer Valley Planning Commission Director Timothy Brennan, ‘face and voice for the region,’ dies

      Retired Pioneer Valley Planning Commission Director Timothy Brennan, ‘face and voice for the region,’ dies

      Timothy W. Brennan, who was executive director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission from 1980 until his retirement last year, has died. He was 73 and died Thursday after what was described as a brief illness, according to a news release from commission spokesman Patrick B. Beaudry.

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    16. Springfield libraries get $90,000 grant to promote, assist residents completing 2020 census - masslive.com

      Springfield libraries get $90,000 grant to promote, assist residents completing 2020 census - masslive.com

      The city library system, aided by a new $90,000 state grant, is preparing to act as a “census service center” here to promote and help residents with filling out the 2020 federal census.  “The whole point is to get as many people to sign on and to get their census done,” said Molly Fogarty, director of the city library system, meeting with the City Council this week. “We know how important it is to count everybody.”

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      Mentions: Springfield
    17. 'We want people to dine and meet outside’: Springfield makes ordinance allowing outdoor seating at restaurants permanent - masslive.com

      'We want people to dine and meet outside’: Springfield makes ordinance allowing outdoor seating at restaurants permanent - masslive.com

      City officials are encouraging more businesses to apply for permits to offer outdoor dining for their customers, saying they believe it provides more than fresh air.  At a meeting Monday, the City Council voted unanimously to make the outdoor seating ordinance permanent. The ordinance, originally set to expire after a year, allows restaurants and other businesses to apply for permits to have tables outside on city sidewalks and other public ways.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    18. Cities, agencies apply for funds to ‘mitigate’ impact of MGM Springfield casino - masslive.com

      Cities, agencies apply for funds to ‘mitigate’ impact of MGM Springfield casino - masslive.com

      The city and various agencies are applying for 2020 casino mitigation funds for expenses ranging from a proposed downtown parking study to continued rent assistance for the sheriff’s substance abuse center.  Other applicants include the Springfield Police Department, which is seeking funds for special equipment such as riot shields and active shooter kits, and the Fire Department, which wants a two-firefighter tactical unit available for non-emergency calls to MGM Springfield.

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      Mentions: Springfield
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