Statement from Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone on Gov. Baker's Stay-at-Home Advisory

"Governor Baker's statewide stay-at-home advisory is the right thing to do. The coronavirus represents a threat to our public health unlike anything any of us have seen before. None of us is immune to it and it spreads like wildfire. If we don't take social distancing seriously and stay at home as much as is possible, this disease will overwhelm our healthcare system, creating a crisis for anybody with any kind of medical condition. The Governor today took a vital step to protect the people of Massachusetts. Now it is up to each of us to do our best to keep COVID-19 in check. This is a test we can only pass by working together. People's lives hinge on each of our actions.

We understand these decisions bring hardship to so many of us. Our economy is grinding to a near-halt and people suddenly find themselves out of a job. That's why a critical element of stay-at-home must be that everyone can stay in their homes. The state must suspend evictions and foreclosures. A rent freeze or rental assistance - both residential and for small businesses - also may become necessities. Our state government must be ready to act swiftly to give people the peace of mind that their housing is assured and that we have jobs to return to on the other side of this emergency. Government must safeguard everybody during this crisis so that each of us can take the necessary steps to protect each other.

Cities and towns across the state will need State and Federal assistance as well to address food and other critical needs for our most vulnerable residents – and those newly thrust into financial insecurity by the crisis. Our local hospitals also need financial support in addition to protective equipment. I applaud the state for helping to connect volunteers and workers to emerging needs and jobs. We will be looking to the State to also provide coordinated assistance with distance learning, mental health and recovery supports, and other needs brought on by the crisis.

The Governor also must unite the rest of New England in this common purpose. The virus is not held back by state lines. Our neighboring states must also act swiftly to establish Stay at Home orders as other impacted regions have done. Social distancing will save the most lives if we’re working off the same page.

We understand the uncertainty and apprehension people are feeling. This is no ordinary time. For many of us, we can’t believe what’s happening, can’t fathom that we’re now dealing with the kind of epidemics that befell our grandparents and great grandparents. Until recent weeks or even days, it was the stuff of history books.

And, yet, here we are, engaged in a battle we can win but only if we pull together and make sacrifices we never contemplated having to make. Like the simple act of staying home. Everyone. Statewide. New England-wide. Now."

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