COVID alert to hit millions of phones

Boston Statehouse

Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel, pictured on March 18 in the governor’s press room, has participated in Gov. Charlie Baker’s daily briefings on the status of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

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BOSTON (SHNS) – About 4.5 million phones were scheduled ring and buzz at 5 p.m. Thursday when the Baker administration planned to send out a message as a phone call or text message reminding residents about the threat of COVID-19 and the new safety measures that will take effect Friday.

Baker earlier this week announce a new stay-at-home advisory asking resident to remain at home between 10 p.m. and 5 p.m. and requiring many businesses, including theaters, casinos, and other entertainment venues, to close at 9:30 p.m.

Restaurants can stay open later for take-out only. Baker also signed an executive order requiring masks to be worn at all times when in public, even when social distancing is possible, and limiting indoor social gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 25.

The governor has used emergency phone alerts in the past to remind residents in geographic hotspots not to let their coronavirus guard down.

The widespread alert going out Thursday was set to be sent through the Everbridge Resident Connection Alerts MA system, and reach about 4.5 million cellphones and landlines in English and Spanish. The phone message was recorded by Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel.

“By following these guidelines you will be protecting your friends and family, and helping us stop the spread. Together, we can combat this deadly disease and save lives,” Bharel concludes the message. 

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