Please support the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s COVID-19 coverage

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy — and many of the advertisers who support our work — to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at gazettenet.com because we feel our most critical mission is to deliver vital information to our communities. If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate.

Thank you for your support of the Gazette.

Michael Moses, Publisher


State unemployment rate rockets past 15%

  • A couple wear a protective masks due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak as they walk on the shore of Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Mass., Friday, May 22, 2020. Beaches in Gloucester reopened with restrictions on Friday after being closed two months ago due to the pandemic. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Beachgoers relax on the shore at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Mass., Friday, May 22, 2020. Beaches in Gloucester reopened with restrictions on Friday after being closed two months ago due to the pandemic. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • A boy gets help putting on a backpack at the parking lot to Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Mass., Friday, May 22, 2020. Cars in the lot were parked spaced apart due to social distancing rules. Beaches in Gloucester reopened with restrictions on Friday after being closed two months ago due to the pandemic. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Jody Curran walks on a one way pathway towards Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Mass., Friday, May 22, 2020. Beaches in Gloucester reopened with restrictions on Friday after being closed two months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Jody Curran wears a protective mask due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak as she walks on a one way pathway towards Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Mass., Friday, May 22, 2020. Beaches in Gloucester reopened with restrictions on Friday after being closed two months ago due to the pandemic. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Parking attendants, wearing a protective masks due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, check on beachgoers at the gate to Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Mass., Friday, May 22, 2020. Beaches in Gloucester reopened with restrictions on Friday after being closed two months ago due to the pandemic. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Two women, wearing a protective masks due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, look for an open spot distanced from other groups as they arrive at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Mass., Friday, May 22, 2020. Beaches in Gloucester reopened with restrictions on Friday after being closed two months ago due to the pandemic. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

Published: 5/22/2020 6:21:29 PM
Modified: 5/22/2020 6:21:16 PM

BOSTON — The Massachusetts unemployment rate soared to 15.1% in April — up from about 2.8% in March — as the state’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus shuttered wide swaths of the economy, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Friday.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary estimates indicate Massachusetts lost 623,000 jobs in April, with the vast majority — 597,100 — coming from the private sector.

One of the hardest hit areas was leisure and hospitality, which saw a 61% drop after losing 216,200 jobs. Construction also took a huge hit, falling more than 37% in shedding 60,000 jobs.

Other areas that experienced heavy job losses include trade, transportation and utilities; education and health services; and other services and government.

No sector gained jobs.

The Massachusetts unemployment rate in April was four-tenths of a percentage point higher than the national rate of 14.7%.

Massachusetts was among the state hardest hit by the virus.

Million dollar ring

One of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl rings put up for auction to raise funds for coronavirus relief has sold for more than $1 million.

Bidding for the Super Bowl 51 ring, commemorating the Patriots comeback from a 28-3 deficit for a 34-28 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons, ended Thursday with a winning bid of $1,025,000.

The winning bidder’s name was not disclosed.

All of the money raised by the All-In Challenge goes directly to Feeding America, Meals On Wheels, World Central Kitchen and No Kid Hungry.

Boston Marathon

A final decision will be made in the next week or two about whether to hold the Boston Marathon in September, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said Friday.

“The decision needs to be made soon,” Walsh told WGBH News. “You can’t cancel the marathon four days ahead of time.”

Walsh noted that other cities that postponed marathons haven’t yet canceled them.

Earlier in the week, Walsh said the decision to reschedule the marathon from April to Sept. 14 was made with the hope that the disease “would no longer be a significant public health risk.”

Since then, thousands of Massachusetts residents have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, and precautions like social distancing, the use of masks in public spaces, and bans on large public gatherings remain in effect.

Gloucester beaches reopen

Beaches in one of the state’s most famous coastal communities are reopening Friday, but with restrictions in place to thwart the spread of the coronavirus.

Beachgoers are required to wear masks if they are not able to maintain proper social distancing, but don’t have to wear them in the water. Groups of more than 10 people are prohibited and beach blankets must be spaced 12 feet apart. No ball games are allowed.

Good Harbor Beach is open at reduced capacity and restricted to residents only. Only a limited number of nonresidents will be allowed at Wingaersheek Beach.

Veterans’ homes

Two veterans’ homes in Massachusetts that were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic are holding virtual Memorial Day remembrances this year.

The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, where more than 70 veterans lost their lives to COVID-19, is holding a virtual observance that was streamed on Facebook Friday evening.

A similar observance at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home was held Thursday and will remain available to view on Facebook.

Outdoor graduation ceremonies

Graduation ceremonies planned for after July 19 may take place outside, according to state Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley.

The outdoor ceremonies must adhere to strict protocols including wearing masks, according to the memo released by Riley.

Any outdoor ceremony must accommodate social and tents or other enclosed spaces are banned. Schools must also send letters to graduates and their families advising anyone who feels sick not to attend. Hugs and handshakes are also banned.

Attendance would be limited to graduates and their immediate family members. Families must sign up in advance.

Ceremonies planned before July 18 should be held virtually or under extremely limited conditions like car parades, Riley said.




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy