Massachusetts governor extends stay-at-home order until May 18

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker extended his state’s stay-at-home order until May 18 to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Non-essential businesses will remain closed and residents will be advised to stay home an additional two weeks from the advisory’s original expiration date of May 4. Gatherings of 10 or more will be banned until the order expires, Baker said. Schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

On Monday, Massachusetts added 1,500 new coronavirus cases for a total of 56,462 cases and 3,003 deaths. Baker said that while hospitalization rates have started to plateau, they have not started to fall. As of Monday, 3,900 remain hospitalized with the virus.

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“People have lost their jobs, their careers and in some cases their businesses that they’ve worked on for many years. Not acting, however, was not an option,” the governor said at a news conference at the statehouse. “ We have no vaccine and only a few weapons to fight the virus. We have avoided the humanitarian crisis seen elsewhere in the world, we have avoided the spike but this is still serious.”

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It comes as other states -- including Texas -- have announced plans to end stay-at-home orders by Friday.

As of Monday, the state had tested 1.5 percent of its population, below the 2 percent benchmark recommended in the White House testing guidelines for reopening.