Baker extends nonessential businesses ban to May 18

Gov. Charlie Baker on the state's COVID-19 curve: "It seems to have plateaued, depending upon which part of Massachusetts you're in." Courtesy Chris Van Buskirk/State House News Service

Gov. Charlie Baker extended the state’s stay-at-home advisory and non essential business closure to May 18.

“We’re extending the timeline for all nonessential businesses to keep their physical workplaces closed to all workers, customers, and the public until May 18, and the stay at home advisory also remains in place during this time,” Baker said at a press conference Tuesday.

Baker also announced he is creating a 17-member advisory board made up of public health officials, business leaders, and others. The advisory board, which Baker said will be working everyday, will work on a phased reopening plan to be completed by May 18.

“We’re all incredibly eager to move on,” Baker said in part. “This is a phased opening. This is not going to be everybody at once.”

Baker said the number of hospitalizations have plateaued, but that reopening too early would be a mistake.

“Letting up too early on things we know are working is not the right way to finish this fight,” Baker said.

He also acknowledged the difficulties people have gone through for over a month since restrictions were put in place.

“People have lost their jobs, their careers, and in some cases, their businesses that they’ve worked on for many years,” Baker said. “Not acting, however, was not an option.” In the absence of a vaccine or effective treatment, he said, “Those decisions were made to save lives.”

This is a developing story.