Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday that Massachusetts' coronavirus numbers are "heading in the right direction," as the state continues with its phased approach to reopening.
As part of that plan, offices in Boston are set to begin opening Monday. If the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations continues to decline the state will be able to move into the second phase of reopening, which includes restaurants, hotels and in-store retail.
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"We've seen several days in a row now of promising results as we've entered Phase 1," Baker said. He said the average positive test rate and number of hospitalizations are decreasing, meaning people are playing their part by continuing to social distance, wear face coverings in public and practice good hygiene.
"The science, as we know on this, is clear," he added. "Doing these things is how we stop and kill the virus."
Baker spoke Thursday after touring UMass Lowell’s Fabric Discovery Center, where high-volume screening of personal protective equipment is taking place.
He was asked about the announcement that the postponed Boston Marathon will not be held this September, and will instead go virtual.
"Obviously the marathon in Massachusetts and in Boston is an iconic event and it's almost like a rite of spring, along with Opening Day at Fenway," Baker said. "I think we've all concluded -- and I know this is not the answer anybody would want to hear -- for the time being we are better off being careful and cautious when it comes to really big events like that."
He said he thinks the City of Boston and the Boston Athletic Association made the right call by "erring on the side of caution," and said everyone is hoping the marathon will return next spring.
In news unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor was also asked Thursday about the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday. Floyd was seen on video gasping for breath during an arrest in which a white police officer kneeled on his neck for almost eight minutes. His death has sparked widespread protests.
"I guess what I would say is that there are only two real emotions I think most people can draw from that," Baker said. "One is outrage and the other is dismay. It never should have happened and I'm glad the federal government is investigating and I expect and anticipate the state of Minnesota will too, and they should."
Massachusetts public health officials on Thursday reported 93 new coronavirus fatalities to bring the statewide total to 6,640. The state also reported 675 new coronavirus cases, for a total of 94,895.
Some businesses have already been allowed to reopen with safety guidelines in place during Phase 1 of Baker's four-phase reopening plan. They include close-contact businesses such as hair salons and pet groomers, and retail stores that can offer curbside pickup.