Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker delivered his latest press briefing from the dining room of Ristorante Saraceno in the North End. Standing alongside the restaurant’s owner, Frank Pezzano, Gov. Baker applauded the state’s small business relief program, announcing that the most recent round of funding provided 1595 businesses with $78.6 million in grant money via the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp.
Three rounds of grant funding have been awarded since the relief program was launched on December 21, 2020. In total, the state has awarded $191 million to more than 4,100 small businesses. Small businesses have until midnight on January 15 to apply for grant money, and can do so here.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito praised Pezzano’s business, and spoke about the importance of supporting it and others like it throughout the pandemic.
“It is great to be here at [Ristorante] Saraceno with Frank,” said Lt. Gov. Polito. “This is a 35 year-old business here in the North End. His wife and his daughter and his son are all a part of it, and it’s exactly the kind of business that we want to see get through this pandemic and reopen more fully.
“The North End is such a special place,” she continued. “We all have a memory of some place or something that we’ve done here, and we treasure neighborhoods like this and so many others across our Commonwealth.”
Gov. Baker also provided an update on the state’s current COVID-19 numbers. There were 5,278 new confirmed cases reported on January 14, bringing the total in the state up to 427,752. There are currently 2,200 people hospitalized for COVID-19; 461 patients are in intensive care units, and 286 are intubated. The state is currently lagging behind many others in terms of percentage of the population that has received the first dose of the vaccine — it ranks just 29th among US states and the District of Columbia, according to the Washington Post.
The 25 percent capacity cap on restaurants and other small businesses will remain in place until at least January 24.
• Massachusetts Announces $668 Million in Relief for Small Businesses, Including Restaurants [EBOS]
• Charlie Baker Defends Coronavirus Vaccine Rollout as Massachusetts Lags Behind its Neighbors [BOS]
• More than 1.2 million People Have Been Fully Vaccinated in States Reporting. 30.6 Million Doses Have Been Distributed. [WAPO]
• Restaurant Capacity Caps Will Remain in Place in Massachusetts for at Least Two Additional Weeks [EBOS]