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Baker wants to extend some pandemic emergency orders

Governor Charlie Baker walked with Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito after touring the Moderna facility on May 12 in Norwood.Nancy Lane/Pool

Governor Charlie Baker’s office said Tuesday that he’ll file legislation to extend some pandemic emergency orders set to expire June 15.

The orders, Baker’s office said, do not include the restrictions on businesses or most face covering requirements, which are all set to expire May 29.

Baker is seeking extensions beyond June 15 for orders allowing remote public meetings, special permits for expanded outside restaurant dining, and billing protections for COVID-19 patients, the governor’s office said in a statement.

Extending those measures requires legislative approval, according to the statement.

“Massachusetts is leading the nation in the vaccination effort and that progress is enabling the Commonwealth to return to normal,” Baker said in the statement. “These temporary measures will help businesses and residents in this transition period, and I look forward to working on these and other issues in the week ahead with our partners in the Legislature.”

The statement also included a breakdown of the billing protections Baker hopes to extend.

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The order bars providers “from billing patients who have received COVID-related emergency and inpatient services for charges in excess of costs paid by their insurers.”

Baker is seeking an extension until Jan. 1, 2022, when federal protections for both emergency and nonemergency cases will take effect, according to the statement.

Earlier this year, the statement said, Baker signed legislation establishing surprise billing protections for patients receiving nonemergency services.

Under Baker’s bill, the outdoor dining extension would run through Nov. 29, 2021. Cities and towns can use an expedited process for temporary permits for new or expanded outdoor dining and alcohol service, officials said.

Officials also noted that the state is closing in on its once-daunting goal of vaccinating 4 million residents.

People are considered fully vaccinated once they’ve received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, spaced weeks apart, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

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As of Monday, Massachusetts had 3.4 million fully vaccinated residents, according to the official state tally that is updated daily around 4 p.m.


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