FRAMINGHAM – With half the Commonwealth of Massachusetts listed as high-risk for COVID-19, and the City of Framingham at more than 80 cases per day, one of the state representatives from the City is calling for the Governor to shutdown indoor dining and other nonessential indoor activities, to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“As COVID-19 cases and wastewater data have reached unprecedented levels in recent weeks, we are writing to respectfully call on you to impose broader restrictions to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Specifically, we call on you to shutdown indoor dining, casinos, and other nonessential indoor activities,” wrote Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis (D-Framingham & Ashland), along with four other state representatives in a letter to Governor Charlie Baker yesterday, December 17.
“While we appreciate the announcement you made last week — implementing a modest rollback of the reopening by moving those communities that were in Phase III, Step 2 back to Phase III, Step 1 — unfortunately, we believe a lot more has to be done to slow the spread of the coronavirus,” wrote the handful of legislators.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that people “avoid nonessential indoor spaces” wrote the five to Gov. Baker.
Massachusetts has had almost 310,000 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, and 11,558 individuals have died for COVID, as of yesterday, December 17.
The five state representatives wrote “other states have already moved to shutdown indoor dining and various other nonessential indoor activities. On Saturday, Governor Tom Wolf announced a shutdown of indoor dining, casinos, and high school athletics for at least three weeks in Pennsylvania, and on Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a shutdown of indoor dining in New York City, citing the fact that COVID-19 hospitalizations have not stabilized. New York and Pennsylvania now join a growing list of states that have imposed major shutdowns of indoor dining, including California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.”
Representatives Mike Connolly (Cambridge), Tami Gouveia (Acton), Michelle DuBois (Brockton), Denise Provost (Somerville) & Rep. Lewis also wrote that several cities & towns, including “Arlington, Boston, Brockton, Lynn, Newton, and Somerville have all implemented further COVID-19 restrictions, effectively moving back to modified versions of Phase II, Step 2 of the reopening in those communities.”
The City of Framingham was not one of them, and Mayor Yvonne Spicer’s administration said it was not interested in being the only one in MetroWest to do so.
Since Labor Day, the number of cases per day of COVID-19 in Framingham has increased 10 times.
It was around 8 cases per day per 100,0000 at the end of August. As of this week, that number is 80 cases per day per 100,000, according to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Rep. Lewis and the other four legislators wrote “at the same time, as we advocate for further rollbacks, in the absence of sufficient federal aid, we recognize further restrictions will cause even more economic harm to some of our most vulnerable residents and small businesses, and we know you are cognizant of this fact as well. As it stands, there’s already been a net loss of 360,000 jobs in Massachusetts since February; one million residents are now experiencing hunger; many small businesses have been lost and may likely never reopen, and many others are desperately fighting for survival. That’s why we stand ready to support efforts to fund a state-level relief package that helps keep essential workers safe, encourages more people to stay home, and provides a lifeline to our working families and small businesses.”
“We cannot abide widespread hunger, devastating MBTA cuts, major delays in processing claims for unemployment assistance, delayed investments in education, or a growing wave of evictions this winter. In this time of public health emergency, economic hardship, and profound wealth and income inequality, we have a moral obligation to consider new taxes on wealthy households and large corporations. We also have the potential to make use of remaining CARES Act funds, to further tap Rainy Day funds, and to consider new bonding activity. While we are proud of the investments we supported in the recently-enacted FY21 state budget, an additional state-level relief package will allow us to better fund the programs we need to save lives and small businesses right now, and ultimately, this will spur a stronger, more equitable, and more sustained recovery,” concluded the handful of state representatives to the baker administration.