Coronavirus developments across New England:
The New Hampshire Senate is moving ahead with remote public hearings and sessions, while the House is still figuring out how to conduct its business safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 24-member Senate convened for the first time last week online, and has scheduled public hearings for 15 bills. Those hearings also with be conducted early in the week online, with options for members of the public to speak.
The 400-member House is still getting organized, and has schedule several online committee orientation meetings. The House met last week for a drive-in style session in a University of New Hampshire parking lot.
“We can’t rush to make expensive, permanent solutions to what we hope is a temporary problem,” Speaker Sherm Packard, R-Londonderry, said in a message to members Friday.
Food pantries across Maine are seeing a surge of demand as coronavirus cases and unemployment claims rise.
More than 60% of food pantries in the state saw increases in clients in November, the Good Shepherd Food Bank said.
“There is a desperate need out there,” Don Bisson, executive director of the Biddeford Food Pantry told The Portland Press Herald. The Biddeford pantry has seen a 25% increase in demand compared to this time last year.
Food pantry operators say they have plenty of food for the people that need it now. But they say they will need aid to help families as the pandemic continues.
Jury trials will begin again in some Massachusetts courtrooms after they were halted for months due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The start date for jury trials is Monday. Under phase one, a limited number of trials will be held in certain locations, with six-person juries. The first phase will last for at least two months.
There will only be one trial each week in each of the selected courthouses. There are plans for social distancing and other measures in place designed to protect the safety of jurors and others.