Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issued a stay-at-home order and ordered the closure of non-essential businesses in the state, Boston news station WCVB reported Monday.
The measure follows the actions of several states and dozens of cities throughout the U.S. that have ordered or requested the shuttering of non-essential businesses as well as requested residents remain indoors in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Massachusetts businesses are expected to close by noon Tuesday, when the order becomes effective. (RELATED: Coronavirus Shuts Down America — The Worst Is Yet To Come)
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) March 23, 2020
“These steps are, of course, difficult to take. These aggressive social distancing measures put in place today are designed to give public health experts the time they need to ramp up additional steps that must be taken to effectively push back the virus. Other parts of the world have shown that this is possible,” Baker said, according to WCVB.
Monday is also the first day of Baker’s closure of all child care facilities, with exemptions for the facilities serving the families of medical staff and emergency personnel and others who are needed to fight the coronavirus outbreak in hospitals.
JUST IN: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issues order closing non-essential businesses, announces stay-at-home advisory effective through April 7; elderly residents encouraged to limit contact.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 23, 2020
Baker emphasized that he is urging people to stay home and avoid unnecessary activities, but his orders are not a mandated shelter-in-place. He said he did not believe that he “can or should order U.S. citizens to be confined to their homes for days on end,” WCVB reported.
People will still be able to go to grocery stores and pharmacies or go outside for fresh air and exercise.
Massachusetts has been under a state of emergency since March 10. As of Sunday afternoon, Massachusetts health officials reported 646 cases of the coronavirus, with 5 reported deaths since Friday, WHDH reported.