BOSTON — Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s statewide stay-at-home advisory has officially gone into effect.
All non-essential businesses have been ordered to close and residents are urged to stay at home during this time period, which will expire April 7.
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Residents will still be allowed to go to grocery stores and pharmacies and take walks around the block. However, Gov. Baker urged people to avoid any direct contact.
“No pickup basketball games, touch football or other person-to-person contact,” he noted.
Baker reiterated this is not a stay-at-home order, saying he does not believe Massachusetts residents can be confined to their homes and does not support home confinement for public health reasons.
His order limits gatherings to 10 people during the state of emergency, a reduction from an earlier order that allowed 25 people. This includes community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, and any similar event or activity that brings together more than 10 people in any confined indoor or outdoor space.
The order does not prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people in an outdoor space, like a park or athletic field.
Restaurants may continue to offer food for takeout and delivery. Medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to remain open, but not for recreational customers.
Click here for the full list of categories of “COVID-19 Essential Services"
Click here for a copy of the Emergency Order
Click here for a copy of the Guidance of Assemblages
Baker said they’re following federal guidance on “essential critical infrastructure workforce.”
Categories of COVID-19 Essential Services that can remain physically open:
- Health Care & Public Health
- Law Enforcement, Public Safety & First Responders
- Food & Agriculture
- Critical Manufacturing
- Water & Wastewater
- Public Works
- Communications and Information Technology
- Financial Services
- Defense Industry Base
- Chemical Manufacturing & Hazardous Materials
- Other Designated Community Based Essential Function & Government Operations
- News Media
While the city says non-essential businesses must close their physical locations until April 7, business owners and workers can continue to do business online, working remotely and conducting online sales.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says he’s hoping all business owners take the state’s stay-at-home advisory seriously.
“Right now it’s a common sense thing,” said Walsh at a press conference on Monday. "If you sit at home for five minutes and turn the TV on, every single news outlet is talking about the coronavirus and all you have to do, look to Italy and see the number of deaths happening in Italy and we want to prevent that from happening here in the United States, in Massachusetts and Boston, so we’re asking businesses to do the right thing here.”
Walsh is working on putting together a team of experts to find the best ways to deal with these major changes moving forward. The new team will include retired 4-star General Stan McChrystal, who helped oversee counter-terrorism operations during the Afghanistan war.
Both California and New York have enacted similar orders as cases of COVID-19 continue to spike.
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo said that starting Sunday, all workers in nonessential businesses must stay home and all gatherings of any size will be banned in the state of more than 19 million people. The move came after California all but confined its 40 million residents in the biggest lockdown in the nation.