CHICOPEE, Mass (WWLP) – From a $2 trillion virus rescue bill to offers that financially support residents who can’t afford to pay their bills, check out Wednesday’s Top 3 stories on 22News.
The White House says it has reached a deal with the Senate for a stimulus package to help the struggling economy, as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Days of marathon negotiations have resulted in a $2 trillion proposal. While the full details of the bill have not been finalized, it’s expected to expand unemployment, cut checks to many Americans, and provide help to small and large businesses and hospitals and healthcare workers. A vote in the Senate is planned for Wednesday with a House vote to follow.
The Department of Public Health reported a significant increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the state. There are now 1,159 confirmed cases. 11 people have died so far. Two were from Berkshire County, and one was from Hampden County. Berkshire County still has the most confirmed cases in western Massachusetts with 37. Hampden County has 24. Hampshire County has 8, and Franklin County has 5.
The Department of Public Utilities will issue an order banning investor-owned utility companies from shutting off gas, electric, and water utility service to any customers who can’t pay their bills. This will last until the State of Emergency is lifted, or the DPU says otherwise. Any company that fails to comply with these orders may be fined up to $1 million per violation.