Gov. Charlie Baker has declared a statewide emergency and announced measures to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Commonwealth Magazine

State invokes emergency actions to address COVID-19 epidemic

There will be a 3-week suspension of school operations for educational purposes at all public and private elementary and secondary (K-12) schools in the Commonwealth beginning Tuesday, March 17

Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration announced a 3-week suspension of school operations for educational purposes at all public and private elementary and secondary (K-12) schools in the Commonwealth beginning Tuesday, March 17, and a series of new guidance and legislation in response to COVID-19.

If an individual needs to leave home, it is essential to strictly follow social distancing guidelines by avoiding crowds, canceling social gatherings, and maintaining a safe separation of at least 6 feet from others.

  • Elementary and Secondary Schools: Suspend educational operations from March 17 until April 6.
    Gatherings & Restaurants: Governor Baker issued an emergency order limiting gatherings to 25 individuals and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants, beginning on March 17 and effective until April 6.
    Executive Branch Employees: All non-emergency state employees working in Executive Branch agencies should not report to their workplace on Monday, March 16th and Tuesday, March 17th. Employees who are designated by their managers as emergency for the purposes of coronavirus planning should report to work as well.
    Health Care: The Department of Public Health issued guidance today that includes changes to health insurance, assisted living residences, and hospital and pharmacy operations.
    Registry of Motor Vehicles: The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will extend the renewal timeline of certain credentials to reduce the need for customers to physically visit an RMV service center for in-person transactions.
    Unemployment Assistance: The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) and the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), in coordination with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), are taking a series of actions to assist workers and employers.
    Municipal Governance Legislation: Governor Baker announced a package of legislation to help address challenges to municipal governance resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, including potential delays in holding Town Meetings and adopting Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) municipal budgets.

The public is also reminded of steps to take to limit the spread of COVID-19:
Cover your mouth – when you cough or sneeze use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
• Wash your hands – with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based sanitizing gel.
Stay home if you are sick – and avoid close contact with others.

For full details of today’s announcement, see: http://bit.ly/2w97pqV

The latest information and guidance regarding COVID-19 is always available at mass.gov/COVID19.