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Showcase Cinemas Exec. On The Future Of Movie Theaters: 'We Will Survive'

The Showcase Cinema de Lux Legacy Place in Dedham hosted a "Star Wars" marathon event in December. (Adam Glanzman/AP Images for Showcase Cinemas)
The Showcase Cinema de Lux Legacy Place in Dedham hosted a "Star Wars" marathon event in December. (Adam Glanzman/AP Images for Showcase Cinemas)

Movie theaters face an uncertain future amid the coronavirus pandemic. Shuttered for more than two months in many states, including Massachusetts, they must coax people out of the on-demand comfort of their homes and into auditoriums where a loud laugher in the next row may seem like a biohazard, rather than a mere annoyance.

With Oath Ceremonies Backlogged, U.S. Citizenship Benefits Are Out Of Reach For Thousands Of Mass. Residents

Brand-new U.S. citizens wave flags during a rendition of “America the Beautiful” at the Hynes Convention Center in 2016. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)
Brand-new U.S. citizens wave flags during a rendition of “America the Beautiful” at the Hynes Convention Center in 2016. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)

Advocates are calling on the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts to address the growing backlog of citizenship ceremonies created as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The naturalization ceremonies, which include the citizenship oath, have been on hold since March.

The citizenship oath is more than a symbolic gesture. It's the final legal step in the long process of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. These ceremonies, often conducted for hundreds of people at a time, have been stalled in light of the coronavirus — and the ever-evolving public health guidelines on social distancing.

Boston Pours $5M More Into Rental Relief

The City of Boston will more than double the amount of money offered to help vulnerable residents pay rent amid uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials announced Wednesday.

Another $5 million will become available when the next round of applications for the Rental Relief Fund opens Friday, adding to the $3 million with which the fund launched in early April. City officials received 1,600 applications during the first period of eligibility and so far have paid $680,000 in assistance to 210 households.

Mass. High Court Refuses To Release Convicted Prisoners Because Of COVID-19

John Adams Courthouse, home of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)
John Adams Courthouse, home of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)

A Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling Tuesday denied a request to release sentenced prisoners seeking release because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state's highest court said although incarceration increases the risk of contracting the sometimes deadly COVID-19, it does not violate the Eighth Amendment's provisions against cruel and unusual punishment.

Mass. Business Confidence Edges Up After Dismal March, April

Business confidence remains in pessimistic territory, but analysts said Tuesday that a major employer survey is beginning to show signs of a brightening view now that Massachusetts has begun to restart economic activity.

Government-forced business shutdowns sent business confidence readings plummeting into negative territory in March and the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic further dimmed the economic outlook in April. But the Associated Industries of Massachusetts Business Confidence Index ticked up slightly in May, rising 3.7 points to 42.1, which the employer group noted is "well below the 50-point mark denoting an optimistic outlook on the economy."

Massachusetts Coronavirus Testing Plan Submitted Over The Weekend

Massachusetts submitted its medium-term and long-term strategy for COVID-19 testing to the federal government on Saturday, the governor said Monday.

The submission, which Gov. Baker has said is necessary to access funds allocated in relief legislation Congress passed in April, calls for stepping up testing capacity to hit 45,000 daily tests by the end of July and 75,000 daily by the end of December, with the goal of bringing the positive rate below 5%.

Baker Says Child Care Centers, Summer Camps Could Reopen Next Week

A stuffed toy looks out through the shades of a window onto the street at Play Academy in Medford, perhaps wondering when his friends will return. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
A stuffed toy looks out through the shades of a window onto the street at Play Academy in Medford, perhaps wondering when his friends will return. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Child care centers, summer camps and youth programs could be allowed to reopen as soon as next week under executive orders Gov. Charlie Baker issued Monday alongside more specific guidelines that businesses in the second wave of reopenings will have to follow.

If public health data continues to trend in the right direction throughout this week, retailers could on Monday welcome customers back inside their stores, restaurants will be allowed to offer outdoor dining, and the limit on gathering size — currently at 10 — will be "determined based on trends" as part of the second of four phases of the state's economic restart.

As he announced the release of specific guidelines for retailers to prepare for reopening, Baker acknowledged Monday that it would be difficult to get sectors of the economy back up and running if workers don't have someone to watch their children, since schools are out of session and daycare centers are closed except for children of essential employees.

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