Baker: Mass Needs "Good News" Before Businesses Can Reopen

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — One day after dozens of protestors stood outside his residence demanding he reopen the state, Gov. Baker commented on the continued shutdown amid the surge of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Yesterday was one month since we issued our original emergency order to close non-essential businesses," Gov. Baker said at a press conference on Friday. "I know for a lot of people, it's felt like it's been a lot longer than that. I'm sure that's true for many of the folks who have been in the middle of it from the beginning."

Since Monday, Baker said more than 100,000 people in Massachusetts traditionally considered "self-employed, gig workers, contractors, or consultants" have applied for financial assistance through the state's new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.

"I know that everybody would love to see that it's over," Baker said. "But here we are still in the surge, and we need to recognize that this insidious and often invisible virus is still making people here in Massachusetts very sick."

According to the daily reports from the state Department of Health, the number of COVID-19 related deaths in Massachusetts has been climbing over the past two weeks. Thursday marked the 9th day in a row with more than 100 deaths attributed to the virus.

Gov. Baker said there is a task force currently working on efforts to reopen businesses across the Commonwealth, but he said one thing has to happen before the state can consider lifting any closures and bans: "Good news."

"There are a lot of organizations... the barber shops and the salons, which have sort of hedged us on 'what if we did this?'" Baker said. "Obviously as we go through the process of working a reopening effort through a task force, we'll be looking at all that stuff that comes in from a whole variety of companies. But remember, there is a prerequisite for this that's called good news for some period of time before we can really start to entertain that in a serious way."

(Photo: Getty Images)

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