Mitchell, Baker: Out-of-State Visitors Must Self-Quarantine
Governor Charlie Baker on Friday advised anyone traveling to Massachusetts from out-of-state during the COVID-19 pandemic to self-quarantine for two weeks, and New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell quickly added his voice to support the governor's directive.
Mitchell noted on Facebook that the state's SouthCoast region is a vacation home haven, and suggested that seasonal residents arriving with a plan to ride out the pandemic might inadvertently spread the disease if they don't take proper precautions.
Mitchell wrote that "thousands of summer homes dot the coastal areas of Greater New Bedford" and that under ordinary circumstances, their owners and renters may enjoy all the region has to offer.
"But in the midst of a global public health crisis, all of us must be mindful of the risks posed by infected individuals traveling here," Mitchell wrote. "For those summer residents from outside of Southeastern Massachusetts, we urge you upon arrival to remain on your property for fourteen days, and avail yourselves of delivery services for food and other essentials whenever possible."
During his daily COVID-19 update in Boston on Friday, Baker issued an advisory telling people to stay away from Massachusetts altogether if they have COVID-19 symptoms. All persons traveling to the state were advised to self-quarantine for 14 days before going out in public.
Baker said he knew the order could not be enforced and acknowledged that compliance would be voluntary. Yet he said his administration would "take whatever steps we need" to protect the health and safety of Massachusetts residents during the pandemic.
“We’re asking folks considering coming to Massachusetts, for whatever reason, please do not travel to our community," Baker said. "Especially if you have symptoms.”
The guidance from Baker follows a recommendation from the White House Coronavirus Task Force that anyone who has left or passed through New York City should self-quarantine for two weeks, regardless of their destination.
The governor's directive also follows complaints from vacation communities on Cape Cod and the Islands that out-of-state residents have been showing up at their summer homes to ride out the pandemic. Metro New York is now the national epicenter of the disease, and nearby Fairfield County in Connecticut is that state's hot spot.
Baker shot down President Donald Trump's suggestion that the economy of the United States should reopen for business by Easter Sunday on April 12.
"Yeah, no. We're not going to be up and running by Easter. No," Baker told reporters.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts surged to 3,240 on Friday with 823 new cases overnight. That's the biggest one-day jump so far, representing a 34 percent increase from Thursday. State officials on Friday also announced 10 new deaths.