Around New England

Re-Open the Economy More Quickly, Massachusetts House Republican Leader Says

June 16, 2020

Governor Charlie Baker should quicken the pace of reopening the economy and public life given recent coronavirus numbers, said Bradley Jones, Massachusetts House minority leader.

“The numbers continue strong. Time to accelerate the pace of reopening,” Jones (R-Reading) wrote in a Facebook post Saturday, June 13.

He picked up support from the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a conservative watchdog on Beacon Hill that has been critical of the coronavirus shutdowns.

“Leader Jones is right to speak up and demand that the Governor’s ‘reopening’ needs to be accelerated,” said Paul Craney, spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, in a written statement Monday, June 15. “… The only way Massachusetts can get the state economy back to prosperity is if the Governor puts his trust back in the people of Massachusetts and allows them to reopen.”

The governor’s shutdowns in March were aggressive, and his reopening has been cautious. Baker, a Republican, has said the state should go slow to try to make sure coronavirus numbers don’t spike.

But some observers worry that many small businesses won’t survive if the reins aren’t loosened quickly.

In Massachusetts, for the week ending Saturday, June 6, the estimated figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims was 1,542,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S Department of Labor.

“The Governor needs to let small business owners and their workers do what they know how to do best, which is create jobs, provide services and goods, and contribute to the Massachusetts economy. Until the Governor loosens his grip and stops micromanaging every aspect of small businesses, Massachusetts will not succeed,” Craney said in the written statement Monday.

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