In parts of the country, cases of COVID-19 are skyrocketing.
But as people across the country prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July this week, Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday that he was lifting the 14-day self-quarantine directive for anyone traveling into Massachusetts from any of the other five New England states, New York or New Jersey.
Baker said the quarantining instructions will remain in place for anyone coming into the state from anywhere else, including new hotspots around the country like Florida.
Some states, like Rhode Island and Maine, have put in testing and quarantining restrictions for visitors based on positive testing rates in the states they are traveling from. Rhode Island entered its third phase of reopening on Tuesday allowing gatherings of larger sizes, but also said that anyone coming from a state with a 5% or greater positive test rate will have to quarantine for 14 days unless you have a negative test within the last 72 hours.
"Different states have different rules," Baker said.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito also announced a new $20 million rental assistance program that will use a mix of CARES Act and other federal funds to provide relief of up to $4,000 per household to families struggling to pay their rents or mortgages due to COVID-19. "The goal here is simple, provide housing stability," Polito said.
Polito also made a push for the governors long-stalled housing legislation that would make it easier to obtain local approval for developers to build more housing in communities where real estate has become scarce and unaffordable for many families. Polito said the housing crunch was a problem even before the pandemic, and needs to be addressed.
Asked about extending the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures which expires in mid-August, Baker said, "We continue to talk to folks in the housing community about what some of the key issues are, but I don't think we're in a position to make a decision on that today."
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