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Baker Extends Order Closing Non-Essential Businesses

Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday extended the order requiring non-essential businesses to close their physical locations to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The order, which began a week ago, on March 24, was set to expire at noon on April 7.  The new order goes until May 4.

Baker said he is also extending the 10-person limit on gatherings until May 4 as well.

"Here in Massachusetts, we’ve taken some of the earliest and most aggressive steps in the country to slow the spread of this virus and we must continue to be aggressive in our pursuits," Baker said.

Baker's move follows President Trump's extension of federal guidelines on social distancing. Setting them for another month, he warned they could last until June.

The Massachusetts order still does not apply to essential businesses and workers — everything from grocery stores and restaurants offering takeout and delivery, to utility companies, Uber and Lyft drivers, and veterinarians.

Baker said the state would be issuing an updated list of businesses and organizations considered essential.

Among the changes: hotels, motels and Airbnbs should be used for limited purposes only, Baker said. That includes housing front-line workers fighting the coronavirus, essential workers or residents displaced from their homes.

"Hotels and Airbnbs can no longer be booked for leisure purposes," Baker said. "People should really be using common sense and not going on vacation right now."

Baker said Monday he expects the surge of coronavirus patients to arrive as early as April 7.

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