Is a lockdown in our future? Probably not, as Governor Charlie Baker says he wants to keep schools and businesses open because they’re not driving the spread of COVID-19.
Baker said individuals expanding their social circles and letting their guard down during everyday activities is contributing to the silent spread of the coronavirus.
“Our biggest goal with respect to everything is to make sure that we follow the data," Baker said at a press conference Friday. "It’s pretty clear that it’s private activity and private citizens that are driving a big piece of this.”
He said people need to be more responsible.
“People need to change their behavior and get serious about who they spend time with and how they act," he said.
Baker said businesses, schools, and colleges have been following the rules and doing their part to curb the spread of the virus.
“We’ve done more than 10,000 inspections of operating businesses in Massachusetts that serve customers of one kind or another," he said, "and the number that had been found in violation of our rules is very small.”
In response to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, the state implemented stricter measures last week, which included a suggested curfew, early closings for restaurants, and smaller indoor gatherings. Rising case numbers combined with the onset of colder weather and the upcoming holidays have raised the question of whether the state will move toward a broader shutdown.
But Baker said people need to be able to continue to work, and children should be able to go to school.
He added however that if local communities want to implement measures that are stricter than the state’s, they are welcome to do so.
“We’ve said many times that when it comes to local conditions, that if local communities believe they need to go beyond what we’ve put in place or put a targeted proposal in place to deal with something they consider to be an immediate problem in their community, to go ahead and do that," he said.
Baker said everyone must be responsible and play a part in stopping the spread of the virus, and he encouraged people to get tested. He also underscored the importance of wearing masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“People need to think real hard about the role they can play as individuals and helping us work our way through this,” he said. “We’re living in a pandemic. I know some people would prefer to think otherwise. But it’s true and it’s real.”
Emily Sweeney can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney and on Instagram @emilysweeney22.