After 462 days, the state of emergency that Gov. Baker declared on March 10 in response to the coronavirus will end Tuesday.
As the number of coronavirus cases more than doubled to 92 and the first evidence of community transmission was found in the Berkshires, Baker in March 2020 decided to cut short a vacation in Utah and returned to Massachusetts to declare an emergency and to begin imposing restrictions that would shape life in Massachusetts for more than a year.
"There's no question that the efforts to mitigate the spread of this virus will be disruptive," Baker said on March 10, 2020.
Fifteen months later, things are different.
"COVID is mostly over,” Baker said Monday.
Up until that date, the governor and other state officials had said the coronavirus risk in Massachusetts was "low." But between "the Berkshire issue" and the increase to 92 total cases, Baker said he "would have to say the risk is increased" on the day he declared an emergency.
Compared to the 92 cumulative cases at the time the emergency was declared, Massachusetts was averaging just more than 97 new COVID-19 cases each day as of Thursday, though the limits on testing mean that it's likely there were far more cases in March 2020 than was known at the time.
When the state of emergency is gone, it will take with it all of the pandemic policy adjustments put on the books by the governor or lawmakers and tied to the emergency declaration, like remote public meetings, eviction protections, health care flexibilities and to-go cocktails.
"Help us," said Marco Caputo, owner of Mast’ Restaurant in downtown Boston.
Caputo is hoping cocktails-to-go will be here to stay. It's been a source of income during the struggle to survive, and he wants it extended by the state legislature.
"Whatever they can do to improve our revenue, it will be very helpful and be very appreciated," said Caputo.
He'd like to see the caps on food delivery fees levied by companies like DoorDash and UberEats continue, as well.
The Senate on Thursday passed a bill that proposes months-long extensions for a series of measures that would otherwise expire. The House plans to take up its version of the bill, which has not yet been released, on Tuesday, and a spokesperson said this week the House plans to work quickly to get a final bill to the governor.
When he announced in mid-May that the state of emergency would lift on June 15, Baker made clear that the end of government-mandated restrictions does not necessarily mean the end of the public health threat.
"COVID is a little bit like, you know, Michael Myers," he said, referring to the "Halloween" horror film franchise character with a knack for surviving to make it into yet another sequel.