Governor said administration does not believe in ‘home confinement’ and this is not that kind of measure
After much discussion over the weekend and last Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker issued the order for state officials to begin enforcing a stay-at-home order for all non-essential businesses – that coming with several exceptions as to who is essential.
The order goes into effect on Tuesday, March 24, at noon. It will remain until April 7, at least. The order is not “home confinement,” the governor stressed, but is a measure to keep people from going out and interacting in public – which was a problem late last week and this weekend in some places. Many parks – such as Titus Sparrow Park – still had nannies and parents interacting while kids played as they might do on any normal day. Joggers and runners were also an issue at regular exercise spots like the Esplanade, as well as young adults and teens playing basketball on the City’s many open courts. The order will not stop that by force, however, but does ask people to exercise good sense in engaging in those activities.
“The Baker-Polito Administration does not believe Massachusetts residents can be confined to their homes and does not support home confinement for public health reasons,” a release indicated.
The Order does limit gatherings to 10 people during the state of emergency, a reduction from the 25-person limit established in an earlier order. This includes community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, and any similar event or activity that brings together more than 10 persons 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.
At 10 a.m., Gov. Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of Tuesday, March 24, at noon until Tuesday, April 7 at noon. These businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely.
The Baker-Polito Administration issued a list of designated businesses and other organizations that provide essential services and workforces related to COVID-19 that shall continue to operate brick and mortar facilities during this two-week time period. This list is based on federal guidance and amended to reflect the needs of Massachusetts’ unique economy. While these businesses are designated as essential, they are urged to follow social distancing protocols for workers in accordance with guidance from the Department of Public Health.
Categories of COVID-19 Essential Services:
•Health Care & Public Health
•Law Enforcement, Public Safety & First Responders
•Food & Agriculture
•Water & Wastewater
•Communications and Information Technology
•Defense Industry Base
•Chemical Manufacturing & Hazardous Materials
•Other Designated Community Based Essential Function & Government Operations
Those businesses not on the above list still have some leeway, such as restaurants, which can still offer food to go if proper social distancing rules are followed.
Businesses and organizations not on the list of essential services are encouraged to continue operations through remote means that do not require workers, customers, or the public to enter or appear at the brick-and-mortar premises closed by the order.
Restaurants, bars, and other establishments that sell food and beverage products to the public are encouraged to continue to offer food for take-out and by delivery if they follow the social distancing protocols set forth in Department of Public Health guidance. On-premises consumption of food or drink is prohibited.
Due to evolving spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, Governor Baker has directed the Department of Public Health to issue a stay at home advisory outlining self-isolation and social distancing protocols. Residents are advised to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary activities during this two-week time period.
Residents over 70 years of age or with underlying health conditions, who are considered at high risk when exposed to COVID-19, should limit social interactions with other people as much as possible.