35 more COVID-19 deaths in Mass.; guidelines for public pools, playgrounds, campgrounds released

Coronavirus

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (WPRI) — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito paid a visit Friday to LabCentral, a shared facility in Cambridge where many companies are working to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Baker started his daily briefing by discussing the meeting he had Thursday with the Black Latino Caucus, explaining how he felt about the eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence they observed in honor of George Floyd.

“At times like these, when so many of us are feeling pain and anxiety for a whole bunch of reasons, it was enormously helpful to experience, in some small way with a group of colleagues, just how long eight minutes and 46 seconds was,” he said.

Baker said he plans to announce more specific proposals next week that he believes will “dramatically improve transparency in law enforcement.”

While visiting LabCentral, which supports more than 160 companies, including one working to create a rapid COVID-19 test and another working on a vaccine, Baker inquired about the progress being made.

“This is a numbers game,” he said, quoting one of the employees. “The most important part about this is to have a lot of people engaged in the space and working on pursuing the opportunity and the possibility of a vaccine, because what that does is create a big universe of ideas, influencers and information.”

Both Baker and Polito applauded LabCentral for following strict safety measures and said they’re impressed with how the research and scientific communities have adapted to the crisis.

On Friday, the Mass. Department of Public Health reported 35 more COVID-19 related deaths, along with 494 confirmed cases and 74 probable cases.

Full breakdown of today’s COVID-19 data (Mass.gov) »

Baker also announced new reopening guidelines for public pools, playgrounds and campgrounds.

Outdoor pool facilities will be able to reopen to the public during Phase 2, Baker said, but indoor facilities will only be available to youth sports leagues and summer camps.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there’s no evidence that the virus can spread through the water in pools.

Capacity must be kept below 40% and swimmers have to practice social distancing.

Locker rooms and changing areas will remain closed, however, restrooms and shower facilities can open.

Organized activities such as swim lessons and tournaments will not be permitted.

More guidance for public pools »

Playgrounds, spray decks and outdoor fitness areas may also reopen at the start of Phase 2. People must remain six feet away from others at all times, face coverings are necessary, and capacity should be limited.

Parents, guardians and other adults are asked to supervise children to ensure proper distancing and use of face coverings.

More guidance for playgrounds »

Campgrounds were permitted to open during Phase 1, but only for rental units and self-contained RVs, trailers and motor homes. In Phase 2, camping will expand to open sites for reduced capacity camping with tents and campers that are not self-contained.

There will need to be at least 20 feet of spacing between campsites and use of bathroom facilities in a manner that will not result in compromising social distancing guidelines.

More guidance for campgrounds »

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