BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker is urging companies to continue allowing employees to work from home or remotely to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
Baker said as the state begins to restart the economy, a process the gets underway next week, limiting the number of employees working together in enclosed spaces will be “critical” in continuing to battle the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We know there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this,” Baker told reporters Friday. “Not everyone can work remotely, and some employers will be required to have their employees physically report to work to fill a shift, operate a machine or take care of consumers.”
Baker ticked off a list of companies that have agreed to continue allowing their employees to work remotely, including Raytheon and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
“There are hundreds of companies and thousands of employees who are now successfully working remotely,” he said.
Roughly half of the state government’s workforce is operating remotely, and Baker said that will continue “for the foreseeable future.”
On Monday, Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will detail how the state will proceed with lifting a stay-at-home advisory and restarting the economy.
Baker has already released the broad outline of a four-part plan, with each phase seeing additional businesses reopen. The process could a last a month or longer, depending on the state’s progress in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases.
Businesses that reopen would need to provide masks and other protective gear, install signage about preventing spread of the virus, and require customers to practice strict social distancing by staying six feet apart.
Employees must also practice good hygiene and allow employers to monitor their temperatures.
Baker said he understands business owners are frustrated with the slow pace, but the state needs to tread carefully.
“We’ve got to find a way to get people back to work,” he said. “But we have to do it in way that respects the virus and make sure we don’t create a second outbreak.”
Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group’s newspapers and websites. Email him at email@example.com