Gov. urges residents to ‘keep it small’ for holiday
Governor Charlie Baker on Monday announced a new campaign called #GetBackMass, which emphasizes the need to continue to follow guidelines so residents can get back to the activities they haven’t been able to do during the pandemic, such as go to concerts and gather with large groups of family members and friends.
He also addressed the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and stressed the importance of not hosting or attending traditional Thanksgiving gatherings this year.
Baker said that as of Sunday, there were 2,721 new cases of COVID-19, and the seven day average positive test rate is “just over three percent.” He said that there are 893 people currently hospitalized with the virus, which is down from last week, and 192 people are in the ICU.
“I don’t think it’s any surprise or secret to anyone…Thanksgiving clearly represents a big potential risk of the spread of COVID-19,” Baker said. He said Canada saw a spike in cases following its Thanksgiving holiday in October, and the US could see the same if people don’t follow the guidelines.
Baker said he is “urging” people to celebrate Thanksgiving with only the members of their own household. If people choose to gather with those outside their households, he said everyone should wear a mask, maintain distance, and “keep it short.” He reminded residents of the state indoor gathering limit of 10 people, and that college students should be tested prior to returning home.
“Think about how your actions affect relatives,” Baker said. “If you plan to spend time with these folks, please take the proper precautions. The bottom line here is to do everything you can to keep it small.”
Baker said that the “biggest single driver of spread in MA is household spread.” He said that since many people who have the virus may not have any symptoms and therefore do not know they are contagious, they are able to spread the virus to many people very easily.
Baker said that the state needs to “continue to fight so we can get back,” so the new campaign features television ads in both English and Spanish “featuring real people’s testimony” from throughout the state who talk about the things they “want to get back to,” he said, such as concerts and other large gatherings.
Previous COVID-19 campaigns included passed out fliers, print media, cell phone alerts, and more to spread the message to people who need to see it most.
“This campaign makes it clear that we can, in fact, get back to the things we want to do” if people wear masks, social distance, wash their hands, and staying home if they feel sick,” he said.
The campaign will run through February, Baker said, and posters will also be distributed to stores across the state.
Secretary Marylou Sudders said that from data collected as part of research for this campaign, “the most receptive messages indicated concern for the health and safety of loved ones and the desire” to put these before their own health and safety.”
The campaign also includes animated videos in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, and both traditional and simplified Chinese.
Sudders also said that people need to make “short term sacrifices” as the holidays approach.
For more information on the campaign and to see the videos and posters, visit mass.gov/getback.