Baker Imposes Mask, Stay-At-Home Advisory To Combat New Rise In COVID-19 Cases

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All Massachusetts residents should remain home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and anyone over 5 years old must wear a mask while in public, Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Monday.

Baker also said the state will impose a 9:30 p.m. end time for most activities at indoor recreational venues, including dining inside restaurants. The new restrictions will begin 12:01 a.m. Friday.

"What we should not do, to deal with these trends, is shut down our economy or close our schools," Baker said during his press conference Monday.

Venues such as theaters, casinos and other entertainment-based businesses, must close by 9:30 p.m., according to the order signed by Baker Monday. Liquor and cannabis sales must also end by 9:30 p.m. Businesses can then reopen starting at 5 a.m. the next day. (See the full list of affected industries in this document.)

Restaurants will have to stop table service at 9:30 p.m., but could continue to serve takeout.

Both state and local agents can enforce the new closures, which can carry a fine of $500 per violation per day. The order also allows for injunctions against businesses that flout the new restrictions.

Baker also said private gatherings must be limited to 10 people or fewer for indoor events, and 25 or fewer people at outdoor gatherings.

All gatherings, inside or outside, need to end by 9:30 p.m.

The mask-wearing advisory is more restrictive than a similar pronouncement by Baker in the spring.

"We're making this clear for everyone. No more exceptions, and no exemptions for when you can maintain social distance," Baker said. "It's our hope that this simpler, more straightforward rule becomes easier for the public to follow and easier for local officials to enforce this mandatory order this way."

Baker announced the new advisories as Massachusetts experiences a second spike in coronavirus cases across the state.

"Since Labor Day, which is 55 days ago, the number of new cases per day has grown by almost 300% and over the same period of time the number of people hospitalized on a daily basis is increased by 145%," Baker said Monday. "Those trends are obviously heading in the wrong direction ... and the data points to a clear need to do something about these trends."

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Monday morning that he had spoken with Baker about the new orders and supports them "wholeheartedly." The mayor spoke before the effect of Baker's new orders was publicly known.

"Friday, my chief of health and human services Marty Martinez talked about the need, potentially, of rolling back restaurants in the city of Boston, the need for potentially having to roll back gatherings. We don't want to go there," Walsh said. He added, "Before we take drastic measures and shut everything down, we have to try and control this virus ... what he's announcing today I support wholeheartedly."

Chef Jody Adams, owner of Porto, Trade and Saloniki Greek, said restaurants have had to adapt, scrape and pivot to new ways of doing business during the pandemic.

But now, she said, “There isn’t another pivot. There just isn’t.”

Adams said she understands that the restrictions are aimed at slowing the outbreak, but reduced hours will be a hardship for any restaurant and its staff.

“Every time we squeeze, there’s less revenue, less work for our staff, more risk of people being in dire straits, not being able to pay their rent,” she said.

Adams is a founding member of Mass Restaurants United, a group urging state and federal lawmakers to pass a relief bill to help the ailing industry.

This article was originally published on November 02, 2020.

This segment aired on November 2, 2020.


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Steve Brown Senior Reporter/Anchor
Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's senior State House reporter.



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