Gov. Baker today announced a statewide ban on public gatherings of more than 250 people to try to slow the spread of Covid-19.
The ban includes sporting events, concerts and religious gatherings, but excludes supermarkets, restaurants, malls, offices, the T and Logan Airport, where people do not tend to be in close contact for long periods of time.
Also excluded from the ban: Schools. Baker said state public-health experts say that local school officials should closely monitor students and staff for any signs of illness, and take steps based on that, but that schools can remain open for now and that, in fact, districts should not be shutting down all their schools at once.
"Just shutting schools down completely does not appear to be the appropriate thing to do at this time," and, in fact, might cause public-health problems of its own, Baker said.
Baker added that the federal government has given two local testing labs approval to begin doing Covid-19 testing, in addition to the state Department of Public Health. "It's been enormously frustrating" waiting for federal approval, he said, adding that Boston's large research hospitals are still waiting for permission to do their own testing.