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‘Simply not responsible.’ Baker had sharp words for Mass. residents throwing parties

Governor Charlie Baker.
Governor Charlie Baker.Sam Doran/Pool

Governor Baker said on Friday he was slowing the Massachusetts reopening process as coronavirus cases start to tick up across the state, admonishing those who have held large parties or gatherings at private homes or venues, and imploring people to be more careful.

Baker cited reports of summer parties, “all of which have been documented in great detail by our contact tracing teams,” that are contributing “significantly” to new coronavirus cases and clusters, and suggested it was because of the lack of adherence to the guidelines that Massachusetts cannot move forward in the reopening process.

Baker said large gatherings, whether inside or outside, are irresponsible in the midst of a pandemic.

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“These parties are too big, too crowded, and people are simply not being responsible,” he said.

“We clearly have some issues with bars and restaurants,” Baker said, while adding that contact tracing showed time and again that large groups of people disregarding social distancing guidelines were sources of new cases.

“Take a 4th of July party or even a birthday party. Forty or 50 people, in somebody’s backyard. Moms and dads. The kids. All the rest. Nobody wearing a face mask. Nobody socially distancing. One or two people there who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. Hugs, handshakes, high fives, dancing, who knows, right? A whole bunch of people walk away from there, little ticking clocks, that are gonna go off at some point. And they go back home and they pass it along to a few people in their family, and then we’re off,” Baker said.

Baker suggested that while workplace spread does occur, workers and employers are generally following strict social distancing guidelines when they gather.

“They’re doing the things that we’ve talked about, because employers generally speaking don’t want to be the source of the problem for their workers,” he said.

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Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.