More than 2,400 businesses and people in Maine have been approved for over $221 million in forgivable loans in the first two weeks of the reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said.

Those figures apply to loans between Jan. 11 and Jan. 24, Collins, one of the politicians behind the program, said Friday in a written statement.

“The demand for the PPP from Maine small businesses in just the first two weeks of the program’s reopening underscores its vital importance,” she said. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, these forgivable loans have been a lifeline for tens of thousands of small businesses and have supported hundreds of thousands of jobs across our state.”

All told, the federal government provided $284.5 billion for the program in the most recent COVID-19 relief package.

Small businesses that employ 300 or fewer people and experienced a 25% or greater gross revenue loss because of COVID-19 are eligible to apply for a second forgivable loan under the program.

In other coronavirus-related developments around New England:



A shortage in the COVID-19 vaccine has led UConn Health to cancel first-dose vaccinations for the next week.

On its website Saturday, the Farmington-based health system said that all first-dose vaccinations appointments for Feb. 1 through Feb. 8 are canceled, and that no new appointments for first doses are being scheduled.

A decision will be made next week on whether new appointments can be scheduled beyond Feb. 8, according to the website. UConn Health also said it plans to honor vaccination appointments for anyone scheduled to receive a second dose.

Through Thursday, about 300,000 residents had received first doses of the vaccine and about 64,000 had received second doses, according to Gov. Ned Lamont's office.



Starting Monday, 500 vaccinations per day will be administered at Fenway Park with the goal of reaching as many as 1,250 per day to residents eligible under Massachusetts’ vaccination plan.

The site is expected to stay open through the start of baseball season in early April.

Appointments are open for those people eligible under Phase 1 of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, as well as people 75 and older, who will start getting shots on Monday as the rollout moves into Phase 2.

Health care workers started receiving the vaccine at Fenway this week.

The state’s first mass vaccination site, Gillette Stadium, opened this month.



New Hampshire organizations that provide emergency housing and assistance to homeless people are getting over $8.4 million in federal aid, the state’s congressional delegation said.

“This funding will help to ensure no Granite Stater is left without a home, which is particularly critical now during the cold winter months and as Americans are encouraged to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19,” U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster said in a statement Friday.

The funding was provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care Program, which provides funding for efforts by nonprofits, states and local governments to rehouse homeless people, and as well as people fleeing domestic violence and sexual assault.



Cities and towns are administering a limited number of COVID-19 vaccines to residents ages 75 and older.

The Rhode Island Department of Health announced Thursday that they could get vaccinated. Many appointments filled up quickly.

Each city and town has been allocated a certain number of doses.

In Westerly, most of the people who were called were selected using the municipal voter roll. Their names were sorted randomly using the last four numbers of their phone numbers, Town Manager J. Mark Rooney told the Sun.

Some of the 34 housing authority and senior center individuals were not taken from the voter list in order to include others who might not be registered to vote.

“We tried to get across the demographic as best we could,” Rooney said.



The town of Rutland is requiring that people wear masks when visiting the trash and recycling transfer station. And those who continue to refuse to wear a mask could face a criminal trespass citation.

On Jan. 14, the town Board of Health voted unanimously to issue a trespass order against anyone at the transfer station not wearing a mask where required.

Under state law, a conviction or unlawful trespass can carry a penalty of not more than three months in jail and not more than a $500 fine.

Health Officer John Paul Faignant said that people who arrive at the transfer station without a mask will be offered one. If they refuse, they will be given a trespass notice, and the next time they visit the station without a mask they will be cited for trespassing.

“That becomes a criminal matter at that point when you violate a trespass order,” he said. “You’re violating the law.”

Faignant told the Rutland Herald that so far, no one has been cited.


This story has been corrected to show in the headline that Maine received $221 million in loans, not $221,000.