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Closed Parks, More Protests: New England Coronavirus News Roundup

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Here are some of the top coronavirus stories from around New England for Sunday.

Massachusetts

The Trustees of Reservations plan to reopen five of their most popular properties around Massachusetts on Tuesday, but with restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Naumkeag in Stockbridge, and World's End in Hingham will open to area residents in a manner that will limit overcrowding to keep visitors and staff safe, the outdoor preservation organization said in a statement.

In addition, Crane Beach in Ipswich will be open only to existing permit parking holders and Trustees members. Visitors to any of the five sites must go online to reserve a parking permit ahead of time.


Opponents of the stay-at-home orders in Massachusetts, Saturday.

A small protest outside the Swampscott home of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker was organized by the people behind last year's controversial Straight Pride Parade.

About 70 miles up the road, on Cape Cod, a rally near the Bourne Bridge had two goals: re-elect President Donald Trump and reopen the state now.

“Save Cape Cod, and save Massachusetts,” said Kathy Hartford, of Falmouth.

The crowd that gathered Saturday went after Dr. Anthony Fauci, face masks, and the coronavirus itself.

"We all know that this is a fake, fake virus,” said Julie Cummings, of East Wareham.

Protesters also went after Gov. Baker.

“He hates our president,” said Buzzards Bay resident Jeff Williams.

Gov. Baker will announce details of his phased reopening plan on Monday, but some say he's just not acting quickly enough, and they say that's only putting us all in worse shape.

Crowds gathered Saturday on the Cape and outside Governor Charlie Baker's Swampscott home, calling on him to reopen Massachusetts now.

Connecticut

State authorities have again had to close more than a dozen parks and beaches where parking areas had reached capacity under social distancing guidelines.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said it had closed at least 15 parks by mid-afternoon Saturday, from Topsmead State Forest in Litchfield to Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison.

The DEEP has kept parks open during the pandemic but has implemented lower capacity limits to support social distancing.

Measuring at least six feet between tables, restaurant workers in West Hartford are spending the weekend preparing to reopen.

Maine

Campground and restaurant owners are the latest business owners going to court to challenge the governor's plan to reopening Maine's economy.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the owners of Bayley's Camping Resort in Scarborough and Little Ossipee Lake Campground in Waterboro filed a federal lawsuit Friday against Democratic Gov. Janet Mills. The plaintiffs also include the owners of the Little River Bar & Grill and the Seaside Square Cafe.

The group argues that its an unconstitutional restriction on the right to travel freely to require out-of-staters to quarantine for 14 days if they come to Maine.

In response to a similar earlier lawsuit, Attorney General Aaron Frey has said that the governor's executive orders and reopening plans were carefully crafted based on the governor's authority to protect public health.

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New Hampshire

Two of the state's most popular liquor stores are now offering curbside pickup.

New Hampshire liquor stores have remained open under the governor's stay-at-home order, and workers have been given weekly stipends to supplement their paychecks.

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission this week began a pilot program at the stores along I-95 in Hampton and the northbound side of I-93 in Hooksett for curbside and in-store pickup.

Customers can order online and schedule pickups the next day at the earliest.

Most schools have had to cancel graduation this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But one high school in New Hampshire has found a way to get their seniors their diplomas.

Rhode Island

The Roman Catholic bishop of Providence is pushing back against the closure of churches during the coronavirus pandemic, saying public worship is an essential service.

In a series of tweets this week, Bishop Thomas Tobin wondered what the state's founder, Roger Williams, would have said about the power of the state to prevent religious gatherings. "Our churches must re-open, and they will, soon. Our people are demanding it,'' he wrote.

Tobin added that strong safety measures will be in place and that vulnerable parishioners will be instructed to stay home.

Vermont

The University Vermont is hosting a video celebration for the class of 2020 instead of a commencement ceremony, which has been postponed because of the pandemic.

The prerecorded video will be shown Saturday afternoon and will feature messages from UVM president Suresh Garimella and Gov. Phil Scott, the conferral of degrees and a class of 2020 photo montage.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced that he is extending the state of emergency through June 15, but that hotels and other lodging operations can soon begin slowly reopening.
Associated Press/NBC
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