Baker issues ‘stay-at-home’ advisory to slow spread of coronavirus

BOSTON (WHDH) - Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday that a “stay-at-home” advisory will go into effect on Tuesday to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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Starting at noon on Tuesday, March 24, all non-essential workers will be required to stay in their homes and limit all “unnecessary” activities until April 7 at noon, Baker said.

“Everyone is advised to stay home and limit all unnecessary activities,” Baker said during a news conference at the State House. “We’re asking everyone to use their common sense, think about the impact this virus is having on the sick and elderly, and to limit their interactions with other people. This cuts down on the chances this virus has to spread.”

Grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, healthcare facilities, virus testing labs, gas stations, liquor stores, public transit, restaurants that offer takeout and delivery, police departments, and other essential operations will remain open while the advisory is in effect.

Baker said the public will be permitted to travel to such businesses and that roads will remain open.

Any business that isn’t deemed essential “can’t be open” any longer, according to Baker. He also asked employers to implement a remote working system so employees can continue to get paid.

To view a full list of essential services that will remain operational, click here.

The closure of non-essential businesses will be enforced “at the local level,” Baker said.

Baker also urged residents over the age of 70 and those who have underlying health issues to remain in their homes as much as possible.

Public parks will stay open to allow residents an opportunity to exercise but Baker strongly discouraged physical activities that involve close person-to-person contact, including pickup basketball and touch football.

The advisory also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people in any confined indoor or outdoor space.

All residents should continue to practice self-isolation and social distancing until further notice.

“By taking action now, we can significantly improve our position in this fight to slow the spread of the virus,” Baker said.

RELATED: Where are the coronavirus cases in Mass.?

Other states including Connecticut, California, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Delaware have issued similar stay-at-home orders.

Baker declared a state of emergency on March 10 and he activated the National Guard last week.

There are 777 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Commonwealth. Nine people have died from the virus.

This is a developing news story; stay with 7NEWS for updates online and on-air.

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