Stay-At-Home Advisory, Non-Essential Shutdown Take Effect in Massachusetts

As of Monday, nine people had died of COVID-19 in the Bay State

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An order mandating all Massachusetts businesses not involved in the fight against COVID-19 and an advisory urging residents to stay at home went into effect Tuesday.

The measures, announced by Gov. Charlie Baker Monday, took effect at noon.

Under the order, only essential businesses are permitted to remain open, a measure that extends until April 7.

Essential businesses include supermarkets and the businesses that support them, pharmacies, gas stations, and manufacturers of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals. Although medical marijuana facilities will be allowed to stay open, recreational pot shops are considered nonessential and must close. Restaurants will be allowed to stay open for takeout and delivery only. Here's a list of who can stay open.

Non-essential businesses and organizations that do not provide "COVID-19 essential services" are expected to close down to workers, customers and the public. Those businesses able to continue operations remotely are encouraged to do so.

Many at home are asking when life will return to normal, but not even Mayor Marty Walsh knows that answer.

In a press conference Monday, Baker said the stay-at-home advisory urges residents to "limit all unnecessary activities" but stressed he wasn't seeking to mandate that people stay indoors.

"We're asking everyone to use their common sense, think about the impact this virus is having on the sick and elderly, and to limit their interactions with other people," Baker said.

The governor said people can still go for a walk "around the block or at the park," but urged those at the park not to engage in activities that involve close personal contact, including basketball and football.

The order on non-essential business -- which will impact businesses from salons and movie theaters to recreational marijuana shops -- has some owners concerned about their employees as well as their bottom line.

On Monday, health officials announced that four more people had died from the coronavirus in Massachusetts, bringing the statewide total to nine. There are now a total of 777 coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, up 131 since Sunday.

In Boston, the streets are quiet and sidewalks are bare.

"I think it’s smart. I think things like this have to happen," Nick Whitten said. "I think it’s essential if we do want to stop the curve I think the important thing is to stay smart and play it safe."

Some have said they have limited contact with others working from home before the stay at home advisory was put in place.

Mayor Marty Walsh has urged residents to continue to practice social distancing to try to slow the spread of the virus.

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