Ticker: Gas company to provide $10M in grants to nonprofits; United launches COVID test pilot program

The charitable arm of the gas company blamed for a series of natural gas explosions and fires in Massachusetts two years ago said Thursday it will provide $10 million to support nonprofits in the three communities affected by the disaster.

The NiSource Charitable Foundation, supported by NiSource, the parent company of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, said the money would be spread over five years.

The $10 million will be used to provide grants supporting basic needs including food, shelter and heating assistance; economic and job development; emergency assistance and disaster preparedness; STEM education; and environmental stewardship.

Grant applications in amounts up to $250,000 will be accepted until Dec. 4, and recipients will be notified in March.

United launches COVID-19 test pilot program 

United Airlines has become the first U.S. airline to launch a COVID-19 pilot testing program for travelers that could make it easier for them to manage quarantine requirements and entry conditions of popular destinations around the world.

The pilot program will begin on Oct. 15, initially with customers traveling on United from San Francisco International Airport to Hawaii, who will have the option to take a rapid test at the airport or a self-collected, mail-in test ahead of their trip. The airline expects to expand the program to include other destinations in the future.

The rapid Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test – administered by GoHealth Urgent Care and their partner, Dignity Health – provides results in approximately 15 minutes and will be available to United customers on the same day as their flight departing from SFO.

The mail-in test option will be administered by Color and it is recommended that customers initiate testing at least 10 days prior to their trip and provide their sample within 72 hours of their trip.

Customers who test negative on either test will not be subjected to Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine requirement.

“We’ll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and U.S. airports later this year,” said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer at United.

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