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BOSTON – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has extended his order for all non-essential businesses to stay closed through May 18 or operate remotely.

The Governor has also extended his order for no gatherings of more than 10 people through May 18, as well.

Massachusetts non-essential businesses have been closed since mid-March.

The Gov. Baker is holding a press conference now at noon.

“We have plateaued but we have stayed at a high level of hospitalizations,” said the Governor on why he extended the date from May 4 to May 18.

There have been more than 3,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in Massachusetts.

As of today, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is reporting 56,462 positive cases of the virus in the state.

One positive sign is that for the past two days, the number of new cases is less than the daily counts for last week, a sign that Massachusetts could be flattening the curve.

Massachusetts however is third behind New York and New Jersey for the number of COVID-19 cases in America.

Middlesex County has the most positive cases at 12,953. In comparison there have been only 10 cases on Nantucket Island.

And Framingham has the most cases in MetroWest, with almost 700.

The Governor announced a re-opening 17-member advisory board will be established headed by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy will co-chair the board with Lt. Gov. Polito.

“They are going to be working every day,” said the Governor. “As we no longer have days (inplying no weekends).

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Their report will be due by May 18.

The Governor said there will be a phased opening.

Gov. Baker said it will not be “everyone out of the gate.”

In regards to the advisory board, there are three municipal leaders, including Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera. The City of Boston’s chief of staff will serve on the board. said Lt. Gov. Polito.

The first meeting will take place this afternoon, April 28, said Lt. Gov. Polito.

The Lt. Governor said the board will listen to stakeholders including retailers, construction industry, restaurants, etc.

Important to listen to the biggest companies in Massachusetts to the small businesses on Main Streets, said Lt. Gov. Polito.

“This effort will help us to measure the data, make those smart decision, and to make it safer to return to work, and to enjoy the pleasure of living in this” commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said the Lt. Gov. Polito.

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The Governor had three announcements today, April 28. They are:

Essential Services Order: Governor Charlie Baker’s emergency order requiring that all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public will be extended until May 18.

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. This order also extends the existing ban on gatherings of more than 10 people until May 18.

Stay at Home Advisory: Governor Charlie Baker announced that the Department of Public Health’s stay-at-home advisory will remain in effect. Residents are strongly urged to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary person to person contact during this time period. Residents who are considered at high risk when exposed to COVID-19 should limit social interactions with other people as much as possible.

Executive Branch Employee Guidance: The Baker-Polito Administration today also extended the guidance issued to Executive Branch employees on protocol during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure state government can continue to provide key services while protecting the health and safety of the public and the Executive Branch workforce. Under the guidance, all employees performing non-core functions who are able to work remotely should continue to do so until May 18.

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Reopening Advisory Board Members

The Reopening Advisory Board, which will be Co-Chaired by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy.

The Board brings public health officials together with leaders from the business community and municipal government from across the Commonwealth.

This group is charged with advising the administration on strategies to reopen the economy in phases based on health and safety metrics. It will meet with key stakeholders and solicit input from a variety of constituencies over the next three weeks to develop a report by May 18 that will include DPH approved workplace safety standards, industry frameworks and customer protocols and guidelines, including enforcement mechanisms and coordination with municipal leaders.

This report is due on the 18, but the administration has made clear that public health data and guidance from health care experts will dictate the timeline of the re-opening process.

The 17-member Advisory Board is composed of three public health officials, including Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel, three municipal officials, and eleven leaders from the business community, including MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.

Members of the Advisory Board bring a range of perspectives to the table, such as an understanding of workplaces and workforces and insights into key areas like financial markets, education, manufacturing and transportation.

·       Aron Ain, CEO, Kronos Inc & Ultimate Software

·       Carlo Zaffanella, Vice President and General Manager, Maritime & Strategic Systems, General Dynamics Mission Systems

·       Corey Thomas, CEO, Rapid 7

·       Daniel Rivera, Mayor, City of Lawrence

·       Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, Massachusetts General Hospital

·       Girish Navani, CEO and Co-Founder, eClinicalWorks

·       Joe Bahena, Senior Vice President, Joseph Abboud Manufacturing

·       Kathryn Burton, Chief of Staff, City of Boston

·       Laurie Leshin, Ph.D., President, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

·       Linda Markham, President, Cape Air

·       Mark Keroack, President & CEO, Baystate Health

·       Monica Bharel, Ph.D., Commissioner, Department of Public Health

·       Nicole LaChapelle, Mayor, City of Easthampton

·       Pamela Everhart, Head of Regional Public Affairs and Community Relations, Fidelity Investments 

·       Stephanie Pollack, Transportation Secretary and CEO

·       Steve DiFillippo, CEO, Davios Restaurants

·       Wendy Hudson, Owner, Nantucket Book Partners

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.