Citing the continued high numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations, Gov. Charlie Baker has extended the statewide stay-at-home advisory and closure of non-essential businesses to May 18.
“The people of Massachusetts have definitely sacrificed and played their part,” Baker said. “We have flattened the curve [but] overall hospitalizations have not dropped. Letting up too early on the things we know are working is not the right way to finish this fight.”
With 104 new COVID-19 deaths Monday, the total number of residents killed by the virus is now 3,003. Confirmed cases statewide stand at 56,400.
The earlier order to close non-essential businesses and advise residents to stay at home was set to expire next Monday. The state will continue to prohibit gatherings of 10 or more people until May 18.
A new advisory board led by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy will work on a plan for reopening the state’s economy. That plan will be released by May 18.
“This is going to be a phased reopening. It’s not going to be everyone all at once,” said Baker. “If you don’t see downward trend, you are running a terrible risk by walking away from a very effective strategy to slow the spread.”
The 17-member advisory board includes three public health officials, mayors from Lawrence and Easthampton along with Boston’s chief of staff, and eleven leaders from the business community, hospitals and higher education.
There are no unions or employee groups on the advisory board.
Polito said the advisory board would begin meeting today and wanted to to hear from all voices in its plan to support a reopening that is “safe for the workforce and safe for people coming into establishments.”