Memorial Day weekend is arriving with low gas prices, nice weather and a stern warning from state leaders to stay home and stay off the roads and the MBTA.
"Our message to people is, 'Don't rush out,' Don't travel if you don’t have to," Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said in a statement Thursday night. " ... We don't want travel — not on the roads, and not on the MBTA."
The Baker administration shifted Massachusetts this week to a safer-at-home advisory that says all residents should leave home only for health care, worship and permitted work, shopping and outdoor activities.
Under the advisory, people over the age of 65 and people who have underlying health conditions should continue to stay home except for essential errands. Face coverings are still urged when people cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public and people should not gather in groups of more than 10, according to the current guidance aimed at slowing the damaging spread of COVID-19.
With fewer cars on the roads, state officials recently reported an increase in speeding and deadly crashes.
Ahead of the holiday, Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver urged motorists to be mindful of people trying to enjoy the outdoors.
"If you do need to travel, drive responsibly by not exceeding the speed limit, limit distractions, and be mindful of other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians," he said.
Gas is averaging $1.92 per gallon, AAA Northeast reported on Monday, compared to $2.80 per gallon at this time last year.
"Gas prices around Memorial Day have not been this cheap in nearly 20 years," Mary Maguire of AAA Northeast said on Monday. "However, as the country continues to practice social distancing, this year’s unofficial kick-off to summer is not going to drive the typical millions of Americans to travel. Despite inexpensive gas prices, AAA anticipates this year’s holiday will likely set a record low for travel volume."