Gov. Charlie Baker extended Massachusetts’ stay-at-home advisory until May 18, two weeks later than the state was scheduled to open.
Non-essential business closures and the ban on gatherings above 10 people are also extended until May 18, Baker said.
“I know pushing these dates back a couple of weeks is not what many people want to hear,” Baker said on Tuesday, adding he too is frustrated. “We all look forward to stepping in front of this podium to tell you that we’re starting to open for business. I know we’ll get there soon, but we have to be smart on how we do it.”
In the meantime, the state is starting a reopening advisory board led by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy.
The advisory board is expected to deliver a plan for reopening by May 18.
The Republican governor said that a phased reopening with input from companies, large and small, is key to a safe, effective return to normalcy.
“It’s also important that we begin formulating a plan for reopening our company on a phased basis,” Baker said on Tuesday.
For several days, Baker had held off on a decision on whether the state would reopen on May 4 despite the deadline drawing near, saying he had to see what the trend data suggested.
Baker said he will continue to monitor COVID-19 hospitalization rates and other data to make sure they can safely reopen. He said medical experts believe the business closures, stay-at-home advisories and other measures have helped reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
As of Monday, Massachusetts has recorded 56,462 coronavirus cases and 3,003 deaths, according to the state Department of Public Health.
An MGH simulator projects that reopening the state on May 25 would lead to more than 26,000 deaths by August 31. That simulator projects that the death toll would be much lower, close to 5,000, if the stay-at-home advisory were extended to Aug. 17 instead.
Baker suggested not to rely too much on models, noting that some of the projections were based on scenarios involving “minimal restrictions.”
“I don’t think anybody’s talking about the kind of opening that was proposed in that simulator,” Baker said when asked about the projections. “That’s not going to be the way this works.”
As the advisory group plans for reopening, Polito said the group will seek input from mom-and-pop shops, including women and minority-owned businesses. The group will include three public health officials, three local officials and several business and state leaders, including Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack.
“Think about how impactful social distancing is here in our commonwealth,” she said. “We are recognized as a leader in people taking personal responsibility for that, and this will be no different in terms of how we operate, how we conduct ourselves in a reopened community.”
Have a tip we should know? Your anonymity is NEVER compromised. Email email@example.com
The Truth Must be Told
Your contribution supports independent journalism
Please take a moment to consider this. Now, more than ever, people are reading Geller Report for news they won't get anywhere else. But advertising revenues have all but disappeared. Google Adsense is the online advertising monopoly and they have banned us. Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have blocked and shadow-banned our accounts. But we won't put up a paywall. Because never has the free world needed independent journalism more.
Everyone who reads our reporting knows the Geller Report covers the news the media won't. We cannot do our ground-breaking report without your support. We must continue to report on the global jihad and the left's war on freedom. Our readers’ contributions make that possible.
Geller Report's independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our work is critical in the fight for freedom and because it is your fight, too.
Please contribute here.
Make a monthly commitment to support The Geller Report – choose the option that suits you best.