BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered all non-essential businesses to close due to the coronavirus pandemic. Baker is also advising all residents to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel.
The order goes into effect Tuesday at noon. Baker said non-essential businesses "shall close their "physical workplaces and facilities to all workers, customers, and the public."
Coronavirus Closures: Essential Businesses Still Open In Massachusetts
"Everyone is advised to stay home and limit all unnecessary activities," said Baker.
Businesses that provide essential services are exempt. Among the businesses that will remain open are grocery stores and businesses that support them, gas stations, pharmacies and all medical facilities, and manufacturers of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals.
Coronavirus Closures: Essential Services List In Massachusetts
Baker said restaurants can continue to offer takeout and delivery as long as they follow social distancing guidelines. Liquor stores and medical marijuana shops can also remain open.
"We will always allow all grocery stores, pharmacies, and other types of businesses that provide essential goods and services to Massachusetts residents to continue to operate," said Baker.
There are 646 cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts as of Sunday. Baker said Sunday the recent spike in positive tests is "not necessarily a bad thing" because it is a result of increased testing capabilities at a state level.
"I do not believe I can or should order U.S. citizens to be confined to their homes for days on end. It doesn't make sense from a public health point of view and it's not realistic," said Baker.
The governor said the order will be enforced at a local level.
"It's a graduated set of penalties. It starts with a fine and moves up from there," Baker said.
Read Gov. Baker's Coronavirus Order: Non-Essential Businesses Must Close
Baker said the order does not change how people should be behaving at home. But he specified that while people can get out for walks and fresh air, they shouldn't be playing things like pickup basketball or football where there is physical contact.
"We urge people to stay at home and avoid any unnecessary activities, because this will help avoid any unneeded person to person interactions that can spread the virus," said Baker. "Everyone can still buy food at the grocery store, get what they need at the pharmacy, and of course take a walk around the block or at the park."
Check back for more details on this breaking news story as they become available.
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