Baker urges protest demonstrators to get tested

A crowd of peaceful protesters gathered in Franklin Park on June 9, 2020. Daniel Sheehan photo

There has been a lot of talk about the danger of COVID-19 transmission at the hundreds of large demonstrations, marches, and protests over the last few weeks, but the state has no way of knowing whether or how much the virus has spread at those events. To remedy that, and in hopes of further slowing the spread of the virus, Gov. Baker on Monday urged anyone who has recently attended a large gathering to get tested this week for exposure to the coronavirus.

Dot health center leader advises: Protest, but take precautions with COVID-19 still a danger

Baker announced that free testing would be available at least 52 pop-up testing sites around the state on Wednesday and Thursday of this week and said people should be tested even if they are feeling fine. Testing site locations are available at mass.gov/gettested.

"Obviously there's been a significant increase in the number of people participating in demonstrations across Massachusetts and around the country. Thousands of people have been congregating in large groups over the past several weeks to exercise their First Amendment rights in the wake of the George Floyd murder. These gatherings are coinciding with reopening, meaning more and more people are moving around with each other," Baker said. "Anytime large groups of people come together, there's a risk for transmission. We certainly support people's rights to rights to express their views peacefully. But we need to keep up our fight to slow the spread of COVID-19 here in Massachusetts."