coronavirus

What Does the Stay-at-Home Advisory Mean? What You Can and Can’t Do in Massachusetts

Gov. Charlie Baker issued the two-week advisory Monday as part of his effort to slow the spread of coronavirus

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Gov. Charlie Baker issued a two-week "stay-at-home advisory" on Monday as part of his effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in Massachusetts.

But what exactly does it mean?

According to the governor's order, all residents are advised to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary activities during this two-week period.

Residents more than 70 years old in particular or with underlying health conditions who are considered at high risk are being asked to limit social interactions with others as much as possible. The only exceptions are trips for food, medicine and time for exercise and fresh air.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karen Polito discussed the state's latest coronavirus response efforts Tuesday, the same day a stay-at-home advisory officially went into effect.

Baker said he does not believe Massachusetts residents can be confined to their homes and does not support home confinement for public health reasons. He did, however, say he is restricting gatherings to 10 people, a reduction from the 25-person limit established in an earlier order.

"Everyone is urged to stay home and limit all unnecessary activities," Baker said. "We're asking everyone to use their common sense, think about the impact this virus is having on the sick and elderly, and to limit their interactions with other people."

The governor said people can still go for a walk "around the block or at the park," but urged those at the park not to engage in activities that involve close personal contact, including basketball and football. Play dates are also discouraged.

An aerial view of Boston and photos show an empty city during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Public Health's order also said people can still run errands like going to the grocery store or pharmacy, but should obey social distancing standards while doing so. People are also still able to go to the gas station and order and pick up takeout food.

Anytime in-person gatherings can be avoided in favor of video chat or phone calls they should be.

And all non-essential doctor's or dentist's visits should be rescheduled or done remotely.

While state parks are open, on Tuesday, the Baker administration separately ordered the closure of all athletic fields and courts -- like basketball and tennis courts -- through at least April 7. The closure of all state park bathrooms, playgrounds, visitors centers, campgrounds and fitness areas was also extended through April 7.

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