via Christian Wade, Statehouse Reporter, Eagle Tribune
Gov. Charlie Baker is extending a stay-at-home advisory and a shutdown of businesses by another two weeks as the state continues to battle a surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths. On Tuesday, Baker said non-essential businesses from a swath of industries won't be allowed to open again until at least May 18 and recommended residents continue to stay home and practice social distancing. He also extended a ban on gatherings of 10 or more people. The orders were set to be lifted on May 4, but Baker said data shows that the state isn't over the hump yet. Massachusetts remains a national hot spot for COVID-19 infections, with 56,462 cases as of Monday and 3,003 deaths. Baker has already closed schools for the remainder of the academic year and warns that the state needs to see a drop in cases and deaths for at least 14 days before the restrictions are eased. The state has an extensive list of what it considers essential businesses, which includes grocery stores, utility companies, ride-sharing services, takeout restaurants and news media. He has formed a committee of state and local officials and business and industry leaders to come up with "rules of the road" to phase-in a restart of the state's economy after May 18.