BOSTON — A group of lawmakers and community leaders are calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to order a shelter-in-place in Massachusetts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
25 Investigates examined what a shelter-in-place might look like if it happens, and why some believe the aggressive step is needed now.
College students on Spring Break on the beaches of Florida, people standing together in line at the RMV, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Boston.
Despite repeated calls for social distancing, not everyone is doing it.
“The reality is there are still families at playgrounds. There are still teenagers playing basketball games,” said Rep. Jack Lewis, D-Framingham.
25 Investigates has obtained a copy of this letter signed by more than 30 elected leaders on the state and local level calling on Gov. Baker to order a shelter-in-place in Massachusetts.
Lewis said it’s the right thing to do.
“If you don’t need to leave the house except for getting groceries and picking up food then you don’t need to leave your home,” Lewis said.
A shelter-in-place order would require people to remain home with several exceptions.
Trips to the doctor, grocery store, restaurants for takeout food, essential workplaces would all be permitted.
And people would still be able to go outside for walks and exercise as long as they weren’t congregating in large groups.
Enforcement would be handled by police on the state and local level.
“Our goal here is to not get people arrested but to be able to say to people who are at congregating at bars, congregating at beaches, to tell them they need to social distance the way that is appropriate and medically advised,” said Rep. Maria Robinson, D-Framingham.
Earlier this week, a shelter-in-place order was issued in San Francisco.
And New York City has advised its 8 million residents to be prepared to shelter-in-place in the very near future.
“People who are immune compromised, people who are seniors, these people are put at risk by people who don’t meet those criteria living their lives as nothing is happening,” Lewis said.
“Our hope is that the governor would make a decision and set out criteria that towns and municipalities could follow,” Lewis said.
In an email received late Thursday afternoon, Gov. Baker’s office told us the governor has addressed this issue a few times this week.
And the administration is not planning any forced shelter-in-place orders.
Rep. Mike Connolly, a Cambridge Democrat, is leading the push for a shelter-in-place.
He told Boston 25 he and his colleagues who signed the letter to the governor are going to continue to push for it.