A new bill Gov. Charlie Baker is filing on Tuesday would allow restaurants to sell wine and beer with takeout orders, grant the state's K-12 education commissioner the authority to modify or waive MCAS testing requirements, and allow electronic signatures on search warrants and criminal complaints.
Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito discussed the bill, which they said was intended to cut red tape for municipalities during the coronavirus pandemic, during a noontime update. An emergency order from Baker closing "non-essential" businesses also kicked in at noon on Tuesday.
The governor also criticized partisan fighting in Washington, D.C. over a stimulus package and announced a new alerts service where people can text COVIDMA to 888-777 to receive updates on the state's coronavirus response.
Baker urged Massachusetts residents to stay at home except for trips out for essential needs — like grocery runs, pharmacy visits and walks for fresh air — and to use phone calls and video chats instead of visiting friends and family in-person.
He said 10 additional labs, in addition to the state public health lab, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, are now testing for the virus, and that the Department of Public Health has made 89 deliveries of equipment from the strategic national stockpile as of this morning.