Some local groups disagree with Gov. Baker decision to expand reopening

BOSTON — With Governor Charlie Baker saying it’s safe to move another step forward in reopening the state, a coalition of doctors, labor unions, lawmakers and advocates want him to pump the brakes.

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Roughly 1,500 coronavirus cases have been reported in the state over the last four days. More than 1,100 cases were reported last weekend alone.

In an open letter, The Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity is calling on Baker to reinstate restrictions on casinos and indoor dining, announce and enforce mandatory workplace safety standards, increase access to rapid COVID testing, and support housing and emergency paid leave legislation.

“Governor Baker has neglected to be inclusive in his policies and practice,” said Natalicia Tracy of the Brazilian Workers Center. “Immigrants of color and black and brown people are the ones on the frontlines. They are the ones being affected the most and dying the most.”

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Advocates for communities of color and undocumented immigrants say the governor needs to help vulnerable communities.

“We had barber shops reopen in this state when people with disabilities were having gloves rationed by their care providers,” said Colin Killick of the Disability Policy Consortium.

The group is also proposing a tax hike on the wealthy and corporations to pay for extended unemployment insurance, daycare vouchers and school improvements.

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“There’s a great need for us to provide checks and balances on Governor Baker, and there’s also a need for us in the legislature and us collectively to also pass policies legislatively that will support people,” Cambridge Rep. Mike Connolly said.

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