BOSTON — Governor Charlie Baker on Wednesday announced that schools would stay closed longer than originally expected amid concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus.

In his announcement, Baker said schools in Massachusetts would not open any sooner than Monday, May 4. He had previously announced that schools would open on April 7.

The new date extends one week beyond the scheduled spring vacation week for most school districts, and in a release from the governor’s office, it was said, “This extension will allow school administrators and educators added planning time to ensure students can complete course requirements, as well as provide teachers with time to expand remote learning opportunities.”

The May 4 date is in effect for all public and private schools, as well as all non-emergency childcare programs.

Also, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued a new order to support pharmacies and grocery stores as well as their employees. They will now be required to provide at least one hour a day of shopping exclusively for adults over 60 years old, offer hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to clean shopping carts and frequent points of contact, and create a marked “Social Distancing Line” beginning six feet away from all checkout counters, as well as other new measures.

Baker also announced provisions to keep vulnerable families in their homes, preserve the health and safety of low-income renters and homeowners, and prevent homelessness due to reduced or lost income, including the creation of a $5 million COVID-19 Rental Assistance for Families in Transition fund, and urging Massachusetts financial institutions and lenders to provide relief for borrowers, including a 60-day stay on imminent home foreclosures and suspension of non-essential evictions due to an inability to pay rent.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app