BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered all non-essential businesses to close due to the coronavirus pandemic. Baker is also advising all residents to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel.

The order goes into effect Tuesday at noon. Baker said non-essential businesses “shall close their “physical workplaces and facilities to all workers, customers, and the public.”

Coronavirus Closures: Essential Businesses Still Open In Massachusetts

“Everyone is advised to stay home and limit all unnecessary activities,” said Baker.

Businesses that provide essential services are exempt. Among the businesses that will remain open are grocery stores and businesses that support them, gas stations, pharmacies and all medical facilities, and manufacturers of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals.

Coronavirus Closures: Essential Services List In Massachusetts

Baker said restaurants can continue to offer takeout and delivery as long as they follow social distancing guidelines. Liquor stores and medical marijuana shops can also remain open.

“We will always allow all grocery stores, pharmacies, and other types of businesses that provide essential goods and services to Massachusetts residents to continue to operate,” said Baker.

There are 646 cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts as of Sunday. Baker said Sunday the recent spike in positive tests is “not necessarily a bad thing” because it is a result of increased testing capabilities at a state level.

“I do not believe I can or should order U.S. citizens to be confined to their homes for days on end. It doesn’t make sense from a public health point of view and it’s not realistic,” said Baker.

The governor said the order will be enforced at a local level.

“It’s a graduated set of penalties. It starts with a fine and moves up from there,” Baker said.

Read Gov. Baker’s Coronavirus Order: Non-Essential Businesses Must Close

Baker said the order does not change how people should be behaving at home. But he specified that while people can get out for walks and fresh air, they shouldn’t be playing things like pickup basketball or football where there is physical contact.

“We urge people to stay at home and avoid any unnecessary activities, because this will help avoid any unneeded person to person interactions that can spread the virus,” said Baker. “Everyone can still buy food at the grocery store, get what they need at the pharmacy, and of course take a walk around the block or at the park.”

Check back for more details on this breaking news story as they become available.

Comments (20)
  1. J P says:

    What are the “essential businesses” exactly?

  2. R B says:

    Baker says we should buy things online, yet it sounds like he won’t allow massachusetts businesses to fulfill online orders?

  3. A J says:

    “Among the businesses that will remain open are grocery stores and businesses that support them, gas stations, pharmacies and all medical facilities, and manufacturers of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals.”

  4. Chelsey says:

    For how long

  5. Silvia says:

    Shut down the restaurants.They could contaminate our food.

  6. Beth says:

    Effective March 24 at noon until April 20th. According to the Boston Globe.

  7. KD2 says:

    Protocol should absolutely include WEARING A MASK of some kind in any enclosed public space. Just cover your face with a bandanna or cut up a sheet or something. Not a n99 mask, just anything to limit the spread of germs from you to other people and surfaces. This should be obvious and this will have an major impact on slowing the spread!!! People, start taking this a lot more seriously, the ugliness is about to start, do your part to not make it any worse.

  8. Don says:

    is bike riding allowed ? can I go for a road bike ride ?

    1. J says:

      Yes you’re allowed to leave your house you’re just encouraged not to gather in large groups. Businesses are required to close but other than that police are not involved, you’re absolutely allowed to go for walks, and bike rides, visit the park, go for a drive, etc.

  9. Beth Bedard says:

    Is this for the whole state or just the Boston area? I have read conflicting reports.

  10. Robin Wysocki says:

    The sign language interpreter is excellent! What is his name?

  11. Terri Hill says:

    A large Eye Clinic in So mass stayed open throughtout this, Iv’e been told. Should’nt they have been asked to close. One of the MD’s examined a patient who later tested pos for COVID-19 Aren’t MD’s suppose to be more responsible than that. Greed, I guess.

  12. fred vainas says:

    Liquor stores open but only medical marijuana stores? I hope that’s a misstatement. There’s no more medical necessity to most liquor use than there is to “recreational” marijuana. Both seem to help right now, but liquor use might bring on some problems due to boredom, fear, and anger .

    1. J says:

      The only reason liquor stores are open is so people don’t go into withdrawals and die. Alcohol detox can kill somebody, so there is no comparison my friend. Recreational marijuana stores are not at all essential when you’re trying to limit the spread of a disease. Even buying marijuana off the black market is pretty iffy right now, I would only trust medical marijuana that’s been tested by the state and sealed in a jar.

  13. Marishka says:

    Money is 1 of the dirtiest things and passed around……..Wash it…… thing to think about is your Mail and packages…..leave outside for a few days if you can in brand new ones with tight fitting lids…….Burkas with safety glasses just might be useful to use right now…..with triple layers over the nose and mouth areas…….lot’s of holes in our heads

  14. John says:

    I have a work at home sign company. Can I letter a vehicle that’s left outside for me if no one’s around?

  15. Pat says:

    The way people can get the virus is when an infected person near them sneezes or coughs and droplets are released into the air. The droplets generally won’t travel more than six feet, so if you maintain that distance you should be okay. Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth and use hand sanitizer and soap and water often during the day in case you touch an infected surface. Washing money and wearing burkas is ridiculous Best defense is: STAY HOME. If you need to go to the supermarket, wearing a mask is probably a good idea in case you get close to someone who is going to sneeze, etc. Common sense goes a long way.

  16. Alex Wright says:

    What happens to non-essential businesses that refuse to close? Can they request a waiver? If so, who makes the determination on the approval/denial of the waiver?

  17. margaret l costa says:

    I have a question for Gov. Baker. I know a lot of stores have isles blocked for non-essential business. So why stores still selling lottery tickets and allow to play Keno? This makes no sense.

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