Earlier this month, many businesses across the state were allowed not only to reopen, but also to increase their capacity.

This included places like museums, move theaters and gyms. Indoor facilities at Boston's Franklin Park Zoo and Stoneham's Stone Zoo were also included on that list. Outdoor portions of both parks have been open since the beginning of June.

Zoo New England manages both zoos. Organization president and CEO John Linehan says visitors aren't the only ones feeling isolated during the pandemic.

"It was pretty amazing to see the animals during that long two and a half months of closure [in the spring]," Linehan said. "Some seemed depressed almost. People will actually brighten the animals' day. The animals find our guests as interesting as our guests find the animals ... regular visitors actually will develop relationships with animals. I've seen it time and time again. And it's absolutely amazing to see."

Linehan said that some of the animals there, particularly the gorillas, will remember regular guests either by their faces or by the sounds of their voices. He added that staff are always searching for new ways to keep the animals engaged and stimulated. Last spring, they even set up bubble machines to accomplish this.

We also heard from Merrie Najimy, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, about their push to get teachers and staff vaccinated earlier.

Click on the audio player above to listen to the full episode.


Merrie Najimy - 1:59
John Linehan - 16:16