The Baker-Polito administration announced a series of targeted measures to disrupt the increasing trend of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Governor Charlie Baker announced these changes at a time where public health data has indicated that cases are rising, with cases up by 278% and hospitalizations up by 145% since Labor Day. These measures are meant to disrupt rising trends now, so the Commonwealth can keep the economy and schools open for residents and to prevent the need to roll back to Phase I or Phase II of the reopening plan.
All orders and advisories will be effective Friday, Nov. 6 at 12:01 a.m.
Stay At Home Advisory: The Administration issued a revised Stay At Home Advisory to ensure residents avoid unnecessary activities that can lead to increased COVID-19 transmission. The revised Stay At Home Advisory instructs residents to stay home between 10 PM and 5 AM. The Advisory allows for activities such as going to work, running critical errands to get groceries and address health needs, and taking a walk.
The Stay At Home Advisory is available in full to read at www.mass.gov/stayhome.
Early Closure of Businesses and Activities: Governor Baker issued a new executive order that requires the early closure of certain businesses and activities each night at 9:30 PM. The 9:30 PM closure requirement is aligned with the Stay At Home Advisory and together the two new initiatives are designed to further limit activities that could lead to COVID-19 transmission.
Effective Nov. 6, the following businesses and activities must close to the public each day between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m.
• Restaurants (in-person dining must cease at 9:30 PM, although takeout and delivery may continue for food and non-alcoholic beverages, but not alcohol)
• Liquor stores and other retail establishments that sell alcohol must cease alcohol sales at 9:30 PM (but may continue to sell other products)
• Adult-use marijuana sales must cease at 9:30 PM (not including medical marijuana)
• Indoor & outdoor events
• Theaters/movie theaters (including drive-in movie theaters), and performance venues (indoor and outdoor)
• Youth and adult amateur sports activities
• Golf facilities
• Recreational boating and boating businesses
• Outdoor recreational experiences
• Casinos and horse tracks/simulcast facilities
• Driving and flight schools
• Zoos, botanical gardens, wildlife reserves, nature centers
• Close contact personal services (such as hair and nail salons)
• Gyms, Fitness Centers and Health Clubs
• Indoor and outdoor pools
• Museums/cultural & historical facilities/guided tours
The new executive order (including full list of businesses required to close at 9:30 PM) is available to read online at: https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-order-53/download
Face Covering Order:
Governor Baker also signed an updated order related to face-coverings. The revised order requires all persons to wear face-coverings in all public places, even where they are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. The revised order still allows for an exception for residents who cannot wear a face-covering due to a medical or disabling condition, but it allows employers to require employees to provide proof of such a condition. It also allows schools to require that students participating in in-person learning provide proof of such a medical or disabling condition.
Governor Baker also signed an updated order restricting gatherings. The new gatherings order reduces the gathering size limit for gatherings at private residences: indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people. The limit on gatherings held in public spaces and at event venues (e.g. wedding venues) remains the same. The new order also requires that all gatherings (regardless of size or location) must end and disperse by 9:30 p.m.
The new gatherings order also requires that organizers of gatherings report known positive COVID-19 cases to the local health department in that community and requires organizers to cooperate with contact tracing. The gatherings order authorizes continued enforcement by local health and police departments and specifies that fines for violating the gathering order will be $500 for each person above the limit at a particular gathering.