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Gov. Baker pledges state will buy PPE for coronavirus for ‘as long as we have to'

BOSTON, MASS. - JULY 8, 2020: Gov. Charlie Baker [Photo By Sam Doran/State House News Service]
BOSTON, MASS. - JULY 8, 2020: Gov. Charlie Baker [Photo By Sam Doran/State House News Service]Sam Doran/Sam Doran/State House News Servi

Governor Charlie Baker said Monday that state officials anticipate buying protective gear to fight the COVID-19 pandemic “all the way through the fall.”

Speaking during his regular briefing following a visit to the New England Center for Children, Baker said the state “never stopped buying” personal protective gear such as masks, gloves and gowns.

“We’re very much in the buying process, and plan to stay there as long as we have to,” Baker said.

Regarding education, the governor said a “one size fits all” approach to reopening schools in the fall isn’t wise, instead calling for individual states and school districts to “work it out on the ground” based on their specific public health data.

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In addition, Baker announced $16 million in funding available for residential schools for children with special needs, such as the New England Center, to help offset costs associated with the pandemic, including staffing, cleaning and disinfecting, and gear.

Baker: $16M going to special education schools
Governor Baker announced a $16 million relief package for residential schools for children with special needs to help offset costs associated with the pandemic. (Photo: Sam Doran/State House News Service, Video: Handout)

Residential schools for children with special needs have remained open during the pandemic, unlike other schools in the state, which have been closed since March.

Baker also noted that Monday marked the start of Phase 3 in Boston for reopening the economy, one week after the rest of the state kicked off Phase 3, which allows venues like museums, gyms, and theaters to reopen with restrictions.

As he does at virtually every briefing, Baker urged Massachusetts residents to continue wearing face coverings in public, practice social distancing and call their health providers if they feel sick.

“Covid is not going to take the summer off and our success in slowing the spread and containing the virus will continue to depend on the efforts of all the residents here in Massachusetts.”

Separately, the governor announced the formation of a new online portal, mass.gov/compliance, where people can submit complaints about employers and businesses who aren’t following the health and safety rules around reopening.

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“We hope this tool can help promote accountability as we continue to reopen” the state, Baker said.

Jaclyn Reiss of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.