BOSTON (WPRI/AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker is urging companies to allow as many employees as possible to continue working from home to help limit the spread of the coronavirus, even after the state begins to restart the economy.
Baker said allowing employees to continue to work remotely will also allow for greater social distancing on public transportation and in workplaces.
“I continue to be amazed by the ingenuity and toughness that the people of Massachusetts are displaying in this fight and these employers are taking the right steps to balance work and health,” Baker said Friday. “We are home to some of the smartest and most innovative economies in the world and I know we can and will rise to this challenge together.”
In response to Baker’s request, 54 Massachusetts companies plan to expand or have already expanded their work from home policies for the remainder of the spring. Some have even gone as far as extending into the summer and, in some cases, the remainder of 2020.
Among those companies is Biogen, which experienced a COVID-19 outbreak back in March after dozens of employees attended a conference in downtown Boston.
“Our actions have been – and will continue to be – guided by our goal of ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of our people and local community,” Biogen’s Chief Human Resources Officer Ginger Gregory said in a statement. “As we move forward, we are committed to continuing to direct all non-essential employees to work from home in an effort to support a phased approach to the Commonwealth’s reopening and provide our people with the flexibility and support they need.”
On Friday, the Mass. Department of Public Health reported 1,239 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 83,421, along with 110 more deaths related to the virus for a total of 5,592.
The number of people in Massachusetts currently hospitalized with COVID-19 has dipped to roughly 3% of the state’s total cases. There are nearly 2,800 people hospitalized, down from about 3,700 two weeks ago.
Of those hospitalized, the DPH reports that 749 patients are in the ICU.
Tanglewood announced Friday that it has canceled its entire summer season of live performances because of the pandemic.
The summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra will instead offer online performances starting July 1. Tanglewood hasn’t canceled an entire summer season since 1945.
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