Baker Expands Priority COVID-19 Resources to Grocery Store Workers

On Friday, April 10, Gov. Charlie Baker issued further public health guidance, expanded resources for critical workers and increased Massachusetts National Guard activation to support its ongoing response to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

A new Department of Public Health advisory, consistent with CDC guidance, recommends that all residents wear a mask or face covering in public when social distancing is not possible. In addition, the Executive Branch issued similar guidance to state employees recommending when masks or face coverings should be utilized while working.

The administration has also expanded access to the free priority COVID-19 testing sites for first responders located at Gillette Stadium to include grocery store workers.

Additionally, Governor Charlie Baker authorized the activation of an additional 3,000 more military personnel of the Massachusetts National Guard.

•Face Coverings and Cloth Masks Advisory:  The Administration today issued guidance to residents and Executive Branch employees recommending the use of a face covering or cloth mask when in situations where maintaining proper social distancing measures are not possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as in a grocery store.

A face covering may include anything that covers your nose and mouth, including a mask, scarf or bandana. Health care masks, such as N95 masks, should not be used and should be preserved for health care workers and first responders. Cloth masks should not be worn by young children under the age of two, persons with difficulty breathing, or those who are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

•Grocery Store Worker Priority Testing: The Administration and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security expanded access to the free, priority COVID-19 testing sites for first responders to now include grocery store and supermarket workers. Beginning Saturday, April 11, the men and women who provide critical access to food and other necessities could schedule an appointment to receive COVID-19 testing at the sites located at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. All appointments must be made in advance by the worker’s supervisor or manager, and personnel do not need to be symptomatic to be eligible.

 •Massachusetts National Guard Activation: Gov. Baker authorized the activation of an additional 3,000 military personnel of the Massachusetts National Guard to support the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response. This order raises the total authorization to up to 5,000 members statewide, who may be tasked with supporting requests from state agencies for equipment, logistics, warehousing and related duties. Local cities, towns and state agencies should submit requests for support through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

The activation reflects Governor Baker’s statutory authority to activate the Massachusetts National Guard under state active duty to provide necessary assistance to state and municipal civilian authorities.

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