Charlie Baker

Baker Doesn't Attend COVID Summit for Northeast Governors

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was joined this weekend by the governors of Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware for what he'd called an emergency summit

The governors of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Delaware on a video call about coronavirus policy.
Andrew Cuomo/Twitter

The governors of most of New England's states appeared to have been absent from what New York's governor billed as an emergency summit on COVID-19 among his counterparts in the northeast this weekend.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont was on the call, which comes amid a nationwide surge of the virus, but not Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker or the governors of Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont or Maine, according to a tweet from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo on Friday had said he had called six governors from the states surrounding New York to participate in the summit this weekend.

"I believe this situation is going to continue to deteriorate over the coming weeks," Cuomo said, expressing concerns about "living room spread" over the holidays and the growth in cases among European countries.

Baker had a scheduling conflict with Sunday's virtual call, but his press secretary Sarah Finlaw released a statement late Sunday night saying the governor and members of the Baker-Polito Administration regularly collaborate with other northeast states regarding regional strategies to fight COVID-19.

Cuomo in a tweet on Sunday thanked Lamont, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Delaware Gov. John Carney for joining him in the online meeting.

There was no mention of other governors in the tweet.

"We had a productive meeting today to discuss policies as we enter the next stage of the COVID crisis," Cuomo said, without elaborating on what new policies would come of the meeting.

Finlaw said Baker's administration "is monitoring public health data and has recently put in place additional targeted measures to stop the spread of the virus including a stay at home advisory, early closures and a strengthened mask order."

Baker "has no plans to make immediate changes to our current public health protocols," Finlaw said.

Gov. Charlie Baker announced the reopening of a field hospital as coronavirus cases increase in Massachusetts.

When Cuomo announced that he was seeking the meeting, he said COVID-19 policy alignment among the states is ideal, but they at least want to be aware of what other states' policies are. He specifically mentioned differing policies among states on restaurants, bars, house gatherings, airports and travel quarantines.

Effective Saturday, Massachusetts began requiring that people arriving in the state from New York, as well as Washington State and the nation's capitol, stay in quarantine for two weeks.

All but four states across the nation are considered to be a higher risk for travel under Massachusetts' travel order.

On Sunday, Massachusetts reported 2,076 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 33 more deaths, bringing the totals since the pandemic started to 182,544 cases and 10,098 deaths.

With cases on the rise, Cuomo said it's "even more important than ever" for neighboring states to cooperate.

A study conducted by researchers found that people are more likely to do risky COVID-19 behaviors in October than in the spring.
NBC/State House News Service
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