Phase Two Start Date To Be Announced This Weekend

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Over the next few weeks, Gov. Baker said he expects Massachusetts will see the impact of the ongoing protests on the spread of COVID-19.

At a press conference on Friday, Gov. Baker said while the marches and rallies do "create the potential for spread," most Massachusetts demonstrators seem to be taking precautions to stay socially distant while exercising their first amendment rights in response to the death of George Floyd.

"We've all been pleased by the number of people who've been wearing face coverings who have participated in those events," said Gov. Baker. "They've been outdoors which is also good, and people for the most past have also been moving, which is also good."

Baker said state health officials are still planning to use the COVID-19 data obtained over the first week of June to decide when Phase Two of the state's reopening plan can begin. The start date for the second phase will be announced on Saturday.

However, Baker said, it may be mid-June before health officials can get a better picture of how much the ongoing protests may have impacted the spread of the virus.

"We won't really know the impact of those [protests] for at least another couple of weeks," said Baker, "because as we all know [COVID-19] takes a couple of weeks to gestate."

According to the state's Reopening Board, public health data trends that indicate significant increases in viral transmission could result in returning to prior phases, or closing sectors of the economy.

On Friday, Gov. Baker said "if something comes out of the next few weeks that implies we need to create a different strategy with respect to the public gatherings, we will pursue that."

When asked about police reform in Massachusetts, Baker said his Administration has been in close contact with community leaders, and he hopes to have more details next week on "some specific proposals" that he believes will dramatically improve transparency in law enforcement.

Since the state brought in the National Guard to help support local law enforcement during this week's protests, Baker said "no one has been arrested in Massachusetts," and that local communities have been overwhelmingly thankful for the added protection while they protest in peace.

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(Photo: Gov. Baker/Flickr)

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