A look at coronavirus-related developments in New England on Saturday:
The city of Worcester, Massachusetts, has asked people to not go trick-or-treating door-to-door this Halloween.
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports the decision was reached because of the city's designation as being at higher risk for transmission of the coronavirus combined with guidance from the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
City officials recommend socially-distanced pumpkin carving, a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of items to look for while admiring house decorations from afar; having a small, open-air costume parade; and holding a virtual Halloween costume contest.
The hospitality industry in Maine is bracing itself for a bleak winter.
Conferences and large business meetings are no longer a reliable revenue source, because of the pandemic.
“I mean there's virtually no meetings, zero, and right now they are canceling into 2021 now," Steve Herwins, CEO of Hospitality Maine, an industry trade group, told Maine Public. He said the annual Maine Real Estate Association group usually gathers every year at the Holiday Inn by the Bay, and usually draws 1,000 people. “It’s like the biggest single event in the state. And they’re going to do it virtually in January," he said.
Hewins said a follow-up report from the University of Maine due out next week is expected to show about $2.4 billion in revenue losses this year, about 30% down from 2019.
Annalise Lafayette, who manages the Holiday Inn by the Bay, said her venue can provide space to spread out for some periodic, in-person get-togethers, with new ventilation systems and audio-visual streams.
She said the hotel recently used its parking garage for employees of one company to gather.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state since the start of the pandemic has grown by 27, the Maine CDC said Saturday. The total number of confirmed cases is more than 5,400. The number of deaths is 142.
A judge dismissed most arguments in a lawsuit by the American Federation of Teachers that challenged New Hampshire's voting procedures during the coronavirus pandemic, saying there was a lack of evidence.
The union had sued to force New Hampshire to extend its deadline for accepting absentee ballots by mail; to cover absentee ballot postage costs; to allow wider use of absentee ballot dropboxes; and to permit third-party groups to return absentee ballots on voters’ behalf. Similar lawsuits have been filed in other states.
The AFT said the changes are necessary to ensure as many people as possible can safely participate, but state officials said changing the rules so late would only create more problems.
The Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump's re-election campaign, which successfully intervened in the case, agreed with state officials.
Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Will Delker ruled Friday that the union failed to demonstrate that the current rules actually prevented anyone from voting. Delker, however, did order the state to develop a process to accept requests for absentee voter registration forms.
Secretary of State William Gardner said his office already accepts requests for absentee voter registration forms and provides those forms to applicants when requested. He said his office will seek to clarify the court's order.
Voters seeking an absentee voter registration packet, including the absentee voter registration form itself, may email that request to email@example.com, Gardner said.
A consortium of public libraries in Rhode Island is getting $85,000 to expand “parking lot" Wi-Fi.
The grant is from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and the governor's “Take It Outside" initiative to expand access to outdoor resources.
The Wi-Fi will be expanded to 40 library locations.
Many libraries have been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles is reopening three more regional offices as the department that were shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, the department began accepting appointments for the branch offices in Bennington, Newport, and Springfield.
The first available appointment times will be on Monday.
The DMV offices in Montpelier, South Burlington and Rutland successfully reopened on Aug. 31, said Commissioner Wanda Minoli.
“The online scheduling system has been a huge success,” Minoli said in a statement. “Customers love the convenience and efficiency of having a scheduled appointment time and no wait.”
Customers with appointments are asked to arrive 10 minutes before their appointment so DMV staff can review and verify all required paperwork prior to the appointment.
The Bennington, Newport and Springfield branch offices will be offering regular office transactions, but they will not be conducting motorcycle skills or commercial driver’s license skill exams at this time.
Many DMV services are available online.
Vermont reported nine new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, for a statewide total to date of more than 1,700. No one was hospitalized and no new deaths have been reported for over two months.