Baker: Hundreds of Mass. businesses found to be in violation of COVID-19 guidelines

BOSTON (WHDH) - Nearly 350 businesses across Massachusetts, including restaurants and barbershops, were recently found to be violation of the state’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday.

The state’s Division of Professional Licensure conducted inspections at businesses like funeral homes, nail salons, and barbershops in Lynn, Revere, Lawrence, Everett, and Chelsea last week, uncovering 47 violations, Baker said during a news conference at the State House.

The Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission also conducted compliance checks at 1,200 license establishments in the Commonwealth and issued fines or warnings to 300 businesses that were found to be in violation of state guidelines, according to Baker. The other 900 were found to be compliant.

“We’re pleased that a vast majority of our restaurants and their customers are enjoying their experience of outdoor and indoor dining in a safe and appropriate way to prevent the spread of COVID,” Baker said. “We really appreciate the ABCC’s ongoing work to ensure that establishments are operating based on the guidelines and advisories that have been issued by the Commonwealth and by many local communities.”

In the “high-risk” communities of Lynn, Revere, Lawrence, Everett, and Chelsea, Baker said the Massachusetts State Police are assisting local police with “COVID-related enforcement.”

Baker announced last week that the state would be ramping up its efforts to reverse “dangerously high” COVID-19 transmission rates in those five communities. He also warned that residents in the cities “cannot afford to gather in large groups.”

Framingham, which is now struggling to combat a high COVID-19 infection rate, will also be added to the state’s “Stepped Up Enforcement and Intervention Initiative, Baker said.

The goal of the public messaging campaign is to ensure residents know they live in a high-risk community and reiterate the importance of wearing a mask and other best practices to stop the spread, according to Baker. Built around a message of, “You have the power to save a life,” the comprehensive campaign will encourage the use of masks and social distancing.

Baker mentioned that his administration plans to hold a discussion about possibly publicizing a list of businesses that were docked by the state during the recent crackdown.

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