BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Tuesday that he is extending his order for all non-essential businesses in Massachusetts to remain closed to now last through May 4 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Baker’s initial order for businesses to close was set to expire on April 7 prior to the extension.
President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that his administration was extending social distancing guidelines through April 30.
“Here in Massachusetts, we’ve taken some of the earliest and most aggressive steps in the country to slow the spread of this virus but we must continue to be aggressive in our pursuits,” Baker said.
As of Monday, there have been 56 total and 5,752 cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts. Baker said on Monday a coronavirus surge is expected in the state sometime between April 7-17.
Baker said that with the extensions, the state is issuing an updated list of businesses and organizations that will be considered essential.
Hotels and short-term rentals such as Airbnb are no longer allowed to be booked for vacation or leisure purposed.
“People should really be using common sense on this one and should not be going on vacation right now,” said Baker.
The governor reminded residents they are still encouraged to go outside for fresh air, but should be smart about doing so.
“Don’t do it in big groups. Don’t play basketball just because you can. Or sit on the beach all day with friends,” Baker said. “We cannot have big groups at our parks. We’re considering taking some steps to deal with this, but everyone else has to do their part too.”
Baker said the next few weeks will be critical in stopping the spread of coronavirus.
“We know this is difficult but these next few weeks will be critical to mitigating the spread of the disease and ensuring that our healthcare system is prepared for what is yet to come,” Baker said.
“I want to conclude the same way I started: by pointing out how important it is, how purposeful it is we all take seriously these issues associated with distance. It is in many respects our single biggest weapon in battling COVID-19,” he added.
For restaurant owner Michaela Ritcey, “the hardest part is reconfiguring. You’re operating on a different mentality.”
Ritcey, owner of Ritcey East in Watertown, is trying to stay optimistic. She crafted a special takeout menu to keep her business running while the doors as closed.
“For my idea, I’m going to do a different concept every week for as long as we can until we can have the staff back in here full time,” said Ritcey.
Carlos Rodriguez owns restaurant Orinoco.
“Our priority is to keep our employees, employed,” he said.
WBZ-TV first spoke with Rodriguez two weeks ago as he was transitioning into a takeout-only model at their locations in Cambridge, Brookline and Boston.
He said they’re making just enough money to keep paying their employees. “We are trying as much as we can to keep the ship floating even if there is no wind, the wind will come.”