Gov. Charlie Baker shared his thoughts Tuesday about what the post-pandemic world -- or what he refers to as "the next normal" -- could look like for Massachusetts.
"Honestly, if we can get a significant portion of our population vaccinated and if the feds can amp up the supply in a big way, the possibilities and opportunities for us to get back to what looks like the next normal is very real," he said.
Baker said it's possible that the way the people work in Massachusetts may never be the same once the pandemic is over.
"This is more about how people work and where they work and how they live and where they live and what does the post-pandemic world look like and what will the impact of that be on the way we've historically thought about how and where people work and how and where they live," he said. "I think we are all going to need to figure out how to lean into some of those changes that have taken place over the past year, because some of them I don't think are going away."
The governor made his remarks Tuesday during a virtual event where he announced $3.2 million in economic development funding for projects in 10 Massachusetts communities.
The funds were awarded to projects in Belchertown, Brockton, Burlington, Fairhaven, Gloucester, Lawrence, Leicester, Palmer, Pittsfield and Southwick as part of MassDevelopment's Site Readiness Program, which aims to fund pre-development work to help get unused or underused industrial sites back into productive use.
Baker did not give any updates on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout during the event, his only listed public appearance of the day.
The governor, who usually participates in virtual events from his ceremonial State House office, was instead at home Tuesday after traveling to Florida because of a death in the family and then quarantining while awaiting his COVID-19 test results. His office said Tuesday morning that he had tested negative and was no longer in quarantine.
Starting Thursday, teachers in Massachusetts will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but many are worried about having to compete with everyone for appointments and have called on Baker to come up with a more streamlined plan.
Educators may book appointments at all 170 sites currently open to eligible residents in Massachusetts by visiting www.mass.gov/covidvaccinemap.
Baker said there is not enough supply yet, but the state will set aside certain days for teachers at some of the state’s vaccination sites. But with 12,000 appointments snatched up in seconds last Thursday, many are worried about what next week will bring when teachers are allowed to sign up.
There are approximately 400,000 K-12 educators, child care workers and K-12 school staff in Massachusetts. Due to a limited federal supply and people in earlier stages who still haven't been vaccinated, it is estimated that it will take a month for all eligible individuals to secure a first appointment. This could change if federal supply increases dramatically, including the recently authorized Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Without a plan from the state, teachers are worried they will get appointments during the school day and not be able to get coverage. They are also concerned they will have side effects and have to call out sick.
Since substitute teachers are hard to find during the pandemic, school administrators are hopeful they will be able to host clinics toward the end of the week or on weekends so they have time to recover.
State House News Service contributed to this report.