Baker Orders COVID Curfew, Mandatory Masks, Smaller Parties
Governor Charlie Baker today told Massachusetts residents to stay home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., ordered many businesses to close by 9:30 p.m., and ordered face coverings for all people over the age of five.
Baker said the new rules and advisories, which go into effect on Friday, are designed to block the spread of COVID-19. Speaking from the State House, he said new public health data reveals that cases in Massachusetts have gone up by 278 percent and hospitalizations by 145 percent since Labor Day.
Baker said the measures are meant to disrupt rising trends now, so the state can keep the economy and schools open.
First, Baker described a revised "Stay at Home Advisory" that instructs residents to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. It does allow for activities such as going to work, running critical errands, and taking a walk.
Second, Baker issued an executive order requiring the early closure of many businesses and activities. Under the order, the following businesses and activities must close to the public each day between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.:
– Restaurants (in-person dining must cease at 9:30 p.m., 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 p.m., but may continue to sell other products.
– Adult-use marijuana sales must cease at 9:30 p.m., but medical marijuana sales are still allowed after that hour.
– Indoor and outdoor events
– Theaters and movie theaters, drive-in theaters, and indoor and outdoor performance venues.
– Youth and adult amateur sports activities, including 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 and historical facilities and guided tours
Third, Baker announced an order that requires all persons to wear face coverings in all public places, even when they are able to maintain six feet of distance. The revised order still provides an exception for residents who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical or disabling condition, but allows employers to require 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.
Finally, Baker signed an updated order restricting gatherings. Indoor gatherings at private homes will be limited to 10 people, and outdoor gatherings limited to 25 people. The limit on gatherings in public spaces and at event venues remains the same. The new order requires that all gatherings, regardless of size or location, must end and disperse by 9:30 PM.
Organizers of gatherings must report known positive COVID-19 cases to their local health department and must cooperate with contact tracing. The 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.
All orders and advisories will be effective Friday, November 6 at 12:01 a.m.